The House passed a comprehensive spending bill for the upcoming year that provides funding for many key programs in the public interest. Importantly, what’s not in the bill is just as important as what is in it. While it’s not a perfect bill, it’s significantly better than it could have been. The Senate should now approve it. Christy Leavitt, Environment America’s senior director for the campaign to defend our environment, responded with this statement:
“While the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 is not a perfect bill, Environment America is generally pleased with the funding levels, including a $760 million increase for the Environmental Protection Agency. Unlike the budget proposed earlier this year, this spending bill better reflects America's values of clean water, clean air and protected public lands.
“We were concerned about the many proposed policy riders that would have placed special interests over the health of both Americans and our environment. We’re pleased that Congress, in a bipartisan way, chose to set most of those riders aside and vote on a reasonably clean bill.
“The bill includes more funding for Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act grants and Superfund cleanups. It also allocates money for three new grant programs to address lead in drinking water, including funding for a Voluntary School Lead Testing grant program. The funding bill also includes a $270 million increase for the National Park Service and $25 million increase for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Equally important as these funding levels, we are extraordinarily pleased that most poison pill riders were kept out of the final legislation. We would like to specifically thank House and Senate leadership for their tireless efforts in keeping the worst anti-environmental policy riders out of the final bill.
“We’re calling on the Senate to follow the House and pass this bill. This isn’t a perfect bill, and some of its biggest flaws are that it keeps in anti-environmental policy riders, including riders that declare biomass carbon neutral and limit clean air protections from industrial agricultural facilities.
“And in the long term, we still need stronger environmental protections. When putting together next year’s spending bill, Congress should increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental programs and remove anti-environmental policy riders.”