Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) released the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. Rep. Calvert serves as the Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
“The agencies funded in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill do important work protecting public lands, the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Rep. Calvert. “Our Subcommittee prioritized proven programs that have a meaningful impact to achieve these goals while also ensuring our economy can continue to grow. I’m particularly pleased that we were able to provide significant funding for our increasingly popular National Parks, the Clean Diesel program, and ensure that the development of the USGS earthquake early warning system will continue.”
Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill Highlights:
(Provided by the House Appropriations Committee)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – The bill includes $1 billion for the USGS, $46 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Funding is targeted to programs dealing with natural hazards, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring network, and mapping activities. The bill includes $10.2 million for an earthquake early warning system to help save lives during natural disasters, and provides the $8.3 million increase necessary for support of “Landsat 9” – a satellite program that provides land use measurements that are important to local communities for agriculture, forestry, energy and water resource decisions.
Wildland Firefighting and Prevention – In total, the bill funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at $3.4 billion – fully funding the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service. This is $334 million below the fiscal year 2017 level. Most of this reduction is the result of the transfer of the Forest Service’s hazardous fuels reduction program to its National Forest System, as requested by the Administration. The legislation also includes $575 million for hazardous fuels management, which is $5 million above the fiscal year 2017 level.
Federal Payments to Local Communities – The bill provides $465 million for the “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT) program. PILT provides funds for local governments in 49 states to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties. Without congressional action, many rural communities would face huge budget shortfalls impacting public safety, education, and other local government responsibilities.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The bill funds the EPA at $7.5 billion, a reduction of $528 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.9 billion above the Administration’s request.
The legislation supports the President’s proposal to reshape the agency’s workforce by providing resources requested to offer buyouts and voluntary separation agreements to employees.
This bill also reflects the Administration’s goal to rein in outdated, unnecessary and potentially harmful regulations at the EPA. For example, it includes language authorizing the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule.
Native American Programs – The Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Education are funded at $2.9 billion – an increase of $10 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes necessary increases for schools, law enforcement, road maintenance, economic development, realty, and water settlements.
Indian Health Care Improvement Fund - The Indian Health Care Improvement Fund is funded at $130 million to address the shortfalls in the allocations of base funding across the Indian Health Service system. The funding is particularly important to rural California tribes.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) –The bill contains $1.2 billion for the BLM, a decrease of $46 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, including a $20 million decrease for federal land acquisition.
The bill provides $68.9 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2017 level, for on-the-ground sage grouse conservation to protect the species and to preserve federal lands for public and private uses, such as energy development, ranching, recreation, and military training.
National Park Service (NPS) – The legislation contains $2.9 billion for the NPS, a decrease of $64 million below the fiscal year 2017 level. Much of the reduction is in land acquisition activities. Within the total, the bill retains $55 million targeted to park operations and maintenance to help reduce the deferred maintenance backlog.
U.S. Forest Service – The bill includes $5.2 billion for the Forest Service. Approximately half of this funding – $2.5 billion – is targeted to wildland fire prevention and suppression. The bill also includes a provision prohibiting the Forest Service or BLM from issuing new closures of public lands to hunting and recreational shooting, except in the case of public safety.
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit:http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP06/20170712/106242/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2018-Interior-FY2018InteriorAppropriationsBill-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf