Our Environment and Public Health Under Attack: Wisconsin Environment’s Rundown of the Worst of the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Bill 2012

Media Contacts
Megan Severson

Wisconsin Environment

The House Interior Appropriations bill does all of the following:

Clean Air

• Puts more toxic mercury, arsenic, and lead into our air and puts our children’s health at risk by blocking standards to cut toxic air pollution from power plants and cement kilns (Amendments by Rep. Lummis (R-WY) and Rep. Carter (R-TX)).

• Allows more soot pollution in our air by blocking critical public health protections establishing how much soot pollution in the air is unhealthy for Americans to breathe (Amendment by Rep. Flake (R-AZ)).

• Blocks EPA from moving forward with carbon pollution standards for new vehicles after 2016, jeopardizing a process projected to create up to 700,000 new jobs and save 2.4 million barrels of oil every day by 2030. States would also be blocked from moving ahead with their own clean car standards (Amendment by Rep. Austria (R-OH)).

• Puts as many as 34,000 lives at risk by delaying for at least six months the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which protects communities from dangerous pollution from power plants upwind of them (Amendment by Rep. Lummis (R-WY)).

• Threatens the health of millions of Americans by jeopardizing many of EPA’s critical air and water pollution safeguards, through the “Dirty Air and Water Rider.” This provision would interfere with EPA’s ability to clean up dangerous and toxic pollution in our air and water, putting our health and environment at risk. (Sec 444).

• Threatens the health of America’s children, elderly citizens and other vulnerable populations by blocking EPA’s ability to limit dangerous carbon pollution from power plants and other large stationary sources. (Sec. 431).

• Blocks EPA from limiting dangerous air pollution from livestock production and manure management. (Sec. 428)

• Bans EPA from doing its job to enforce the Clean Air Act in Texas by blocking EPA’s ability to challenge a state’s air quality programs (Sec 441).

• Exempts oil companies from complying with Clean Air Act standards for offshore drilling operations and support vessels. (Sec 443).

Clean Water

• Puts the drinking water of 117 million Americans at risk by blocking EPA from restoring critical protections under the Clean Water Act to more than half of America’s streams and some 20 million acres of wetlands. (Sec 435).

• Prevents EPA from protecting communities’ clean water supplies by blocking better management for polluted stormwater runoff. (Sec 439).

• Allows unregulated discharge of pesticides directly into waterways, by amending the Clean Water Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (Title V).

• Threatens the health and environment of communities across Appalachia by blocking a number of protections against the destruction and pollution from mountaintop removal coal mining. (Sec 432 and 433).

• Puts thousands of people living near coal ash pools at risk of toxic disasters like the Tennessee Valley coal ash spill, by stopping EPA from treating coal ash as the hazardous waste that it is. (Sec. 434).

• Creates a loophole in the Clean Water Act for logging roads, blocking EPA from protecting waterways from harmful sediment deposits by blocking pollution permits for stormwater runoff from logging roads. (Sec 438).

• Puts Americans’ drinking water and waterways at risk of sewage and urban runoff pollution by cutting $967 million in funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).

• Blocks EPA from moving forward with new rules to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of power plant cooling water intake structures. (Sec 436).

America’s Treasured Places

• Blocks protections for more than 1 million acres of land around the Grand Canyon, leaving them open to toxic uranium mining. (Sec 445).

• Puts public lands at risk of destruction by blocking restrictions on certain types of grazing (Sec. 120).

• Blocks critical protections for some of America’s wild lands by withholding funding for Secretary Ken Salazar’s “wild lands” policy (Amendment by Rep. Lummis (R-WY)).

• Puts the Delaware Water Gap and parts of the Appalachian Trail at risk of development by approving a large transmission line project near the Susquehanna River (Amendment by Rep. Dent (R-PA)).

Other Environmental Attacks

• Slashes EPA’s budget by 18 percent from FY 2011 – Limiting the agency’s resources to keep our air, waterways, and communities clean and healthy.

• Slashes the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 79 percent from FY 2011– Nearly eliminating efforts to ensure that our national parks and other treasured places across the country are protected for families to enjoy for generations to come.

• Threatens wildlife by defunding critical pieces of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and eliminating ESA protections for gray wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and parts of Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. (Sec. 119).

• Puts endangered species at risk of harmful pesticides (Amendment by Rep. Calvert (R-CA)).

• Slashes the Council on Environmental Quality’s budget by 23% from the modest 2012 budget estimate of $3.4 million dollars.

Contact: Shelley Vinyard, 202-461-2465


Wisconsin Environment is a state-based, citizen-funded advocacy group working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.WisconsinEnvironment.org