Last week, the House of Representatives considered a bill (HR 2584) that would cut research funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and United States Forest Service in fiscal year (FY) 2012. The bill would reduce support for climate change programs at the Department of the Interior and EPA by 22 percent.

The legislation, as passed by the House Appropriations Committee, contains a number of policy provisions that would hamper EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and the United States Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) ability to list new species as endangered or threatened.

Over 200 amendments are expected to the bill, but only a small number of these have already been debated on the House floor. One surprise was the adoption of an amendment offered by Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA), who is the top ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. The amendment removed language from the bill that would have prevented USFWS from carrying out key functions of the Endangered Species Act, such as listing new species and designating critical habitat for protected species. The amendment was passed with the support of 37 Republicans and all but two House Democrats.

The House did not finish debate on the bill before adjourning for its August recess.


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