House Republicans Propose Cutting EPA Budget, Preventing Rules

Republicans in the U.S. Congress proposed a budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would set funding at the lowest level since 1997 and prevent the agency from issuing clean-water standards.

The House Appropriations Committee released a draft of the legislation, to be considered tomorrow, establishing agency funding at $7 billion for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, more than 17 percent below the current level.

The measure cuts funding and “prevents the EPA and other federal bureaucracies from stepping out of their lane and stifling our economic recovery,” Representative Harold Rogers, the committee chairman, said today in a statement.

Republicans in the House have passed a series of measures aimed at preventing EPA regulations on power plants, cement factories and paper mills from going into effect. Tomorrow the Senate is scheduled to vote on a measure from Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe that would overturn an EPA regulation cutting mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

In addition to reducing the budget, the Republican measure would prevent the EPA from issuing a statement showing how it would enforce the Clean Water Act. Farmers, homebuilders and other manufacturers warn that the guidance may extend the EPA’s reach by expanding the definition of waters that it regulates.

President Barack Obama’s administration proposed an EPA budget of $8.3 billion, which is $105 million below the current funding level. EPA appropriations reached a record $11 billion in 2010.

The House Appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the legislation, which also includes funding for the Department of Interior.

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