Letter to Congress: Reject anti-Environment Riders on H.R. 5895

July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018

Dear Conferees,

As you begin consideration of H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019, a ‘minibus’ package that includes the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Acts, we write on behalf of our millions of members, to urge you to produce a bill that increases investment in clean energy, decreases our dependence on fossil fuels, responsibly handles nuclear waste disposal and safeguards America’s waters, oceans, wildlife, and climate.

It is incredibly disappointing that the appropriations process continues to be plagued by the pattern of inserting harmful, controversial, and unpopular policy riders designed to undermine environmental statutes and protections. Adding these poison pill riders undermines the legislative policy making process and the already challenging budget and appropriations process. Appropriations bills should be about funding important government services, not harming our nation's public health, air, water, lands, and wildlife.

Specific provisions of concern include the following sections of the FY 19 House and Senate Energy & Water Appropriations bills, which we ask be excluded from the conference agreement.

  • Sec. 108 of the House bill, would immediately repeal the Clean Water Rule, a commonsense safeguard that protects the drinking water sources of one in three people in the U.S.
  • Sec. 107 of the House bill, would exempt certain discharges of dredged or fill material from Army Corps’ permitting under the Clean Water Act.
  • Sec. 205 or the House bill, would prohibit spending any funds to implement the legal settlement to restore the San Joaquin river.
  • Sec. 206 of the House bill, would effectively prohibit using any funds to acquire water for instream flows in California.
  • Sec. 505 of the House bill, would halt implementation of the National Ocean Policy
  • Sec. 507 of the House bill, would limit options for properly managing rivers by preventing removal of federally owned dams to occur without express Congressional authorization.
  • Sec. 506 of the House bill, which is a “Salmon Extinction Rider” that would jeopardize the continued existence of thirteen imperiled wild salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River Basin.
  • Sec. 508 of the House bill, would prevent funds being used to close the contentious Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility.
  • Sec. 304 of the Senate Bill, would allow the Department of Energy to create a new pilot program for consolidated interim storage of nuclear waste at private facilities.

Respectfully, we also urge you to provide funding for the federal clean energy accounts consistent with levels approved by the Senate. Federal clean energy spending has consistently proven its worth by directing research, development and demonstration funds that drive job creation, economic growth and reduce health and environmental costs. Continuing our investment in important programs, like the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which support the advanced development and deployment of wind and solar energy, advanced manufacturing, sustainable transportation technologies, and building efficiency technologies is critical to meeting our climate and energy objectives.

Thank you for your consideration of these concerns.

Sincerely,

Alaska Wilderness League

American Rivers

Clean Water Action

Defenders of Wildlife

Earthjustice

Endangered Species Coalition

Environment America

Greenpeace

League of Conservation Voters

Natural Resources Defense Council

Ocean Conservancy

Partnership for Policy Integrity

Sierra Club

The Wilderness Society

 

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