Today, the House appropriations committee considered the energy and water appropriations bill that would allow the Trump administration to ignore several federal laws as it moves to undercut protections for clean water. The bill also contains other anti-environmental provisions and would drastically cut federal funding for clean energy. 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, yet this bill will take us backward. The 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. For Congress to exempt such a move from the law is simply beyond the pale. Yet Section 108 of the FY 2018 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill do just that - 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 the Interior and Environment appropriations bill as well.)
The energy and water appropriations bill also includes other riders weakening protections for our rivers, lakes, and oceans. In addition, it slashes $1 billion from energy efficiency programs and squanders $120 million on an old, failed plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
While Energy and Water Subcommittee Chair Mike Simpson has sided with polluters in crafting this unacceptable bill, today Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH) stood as a champion of clean water and offered an amendment to strike the dirty riders from the appropriations bill. All but two Democrats on the committee voted for Rep. Kaptur's amendment.
Clean water and clean energy are vital to our ecology, our health, and our future. Yet instead of securing that future, today’s appropriations bill puts polluters in the driver’s seat while shutting out the rest of us. Congress should reject this dirty package and any other attempts to subvert environmental protections through the budget process.”