Today, the Senate Energy & Water Development subcommittee will markup its FY2018 appropriations bill. Last week, the House appropriations committee voted on an Energy & Water Development bill that would drastically cut federal funding for clean energy, and would threaten our drinking water. John Rumpler, Environment America’s senior attorney and clean water program director, issued the following statement:
“Americans deserve clean drinking water and a path to a clean energy future. The Senate should pass a bill that fully funds these programs and upholds clean water protections. We were very disappointed to see that the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill does the exact opposite – slashing EPA’s budget and clean energy programs and attacking clean water protections and cutting the public out decisions that affect their water.
“EPA is already moving forward with a proposal to repeal the Clean Water Rule, which restored federal protections to half of our nation’s streams and thousands of wetlands. These waters help provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans.
“The Trump administration’s proposal to allow more pollution into America’s drinking water sources is senseless. Section 108 of the House appropriations bill would exempt such a move from the law, allowing the administration to ignore the Administrative Procedures Act and every other federal statute in its effort to repeal the Clean Water Rule. If approved, this provision would allow EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to brazenly ignore requirements to respond to public comments, create an administrative record supported by science and facts, or face scrutiny in the courts. (Separately, this same egregious loophole now appears in Sec. 431 of House the Interior and Environment appropriations bill as well.)
“The Senate Energy & Water Development subcommittee cannot make the same mistake. It must uphold our clean water protections.
“The House’s energy and water appropriations bill also slashed $1 billion from energy efficiency programs and squandered $120 million on an old, failed plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The Senate must reaffirm its commitment to clean energy and innovation, and continue investing in the programs which promote renewable energy, efficiency and energy security.
“Clean water and clean energy are vital to our ecology, our health, and our future. We urge the Senate to protect our health and environment and fully fund environmental and clean energy programs and reject attempts to subvert environmental protections through the budget process.”