A House Appropriations Subcommittee has approved a bill to fund the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forest Service, and Smithsonian Institution in fiscal year 2015.

“The Interior and Environment bill provides the agencies within its jurisdiction with the resources necessary to carry out their mission in times that are fiscally challenging,” said Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert. “This bill also protects Americans from the onslaught of job-killing regulations coming from the EPA, and makes difficult decisions to carefully balance national priorities. I am pleased that our Subcommittee continues to place an emphasis on producing energy on federal lands, providing robust funding for our wildland fire accounts, and addressing a variety of health, education, and safety needs within Indian Country.”

Funding for the EPA would be slashed by 9 percent. This is $717 million less than the current amount. The agency’s workforce would decline to 15,000, the lowest level since 1989. In addition, a 50 percent reduction is proposed for the Administrator’s office and other executive offices. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) said the EPA is being “severely punished” to send a message to other agencies that appropriators will not tolerate withholding or delaying spending information.

The Forest Service would receive new funding, largely for wildfire prevention and suppression.

Many bureaus within the Department of the Interior would see little change in their budgets. The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service would be essentially flat funded. The U.S. Geological Survey would receive a $4 million increase for a total of $1 billion in fiscal year 2015.

The Smithsonian Institution, which is mostly supported by the federal government, would receive an $8 million increase.

The bill includes a number of policy riders that would impede the executive branch’s ability to implement rules, including the regulation of greenhouse gases from new and existing power plants.

The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to debate the bill this week.

 


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