Defenders of Wildlife Blog
19 September 2017
Walling Off Wildlife
Posted by: Bryan Bird
The Trump administration pushes forward with plan to wall off wildlife.
While the president continues his bombastic border wall talk and the administration and Congress argue over funding for this monstrosity, construction equipment is already moving in, land is being cleared and people and wildlife are being displaced in the borderlands of California and Texas.
By Hook or by Crook
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already waived a host of environmental and other laws in order to expand the border wall along a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, California. Defenders, along with a coalition of national conservation groups, sued to stop this unlawful overreach of the authority provided by Congress in the Real ID Act of 2005.
Similarly, in Texas the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have started clearing land, taking soil samples and conducting tests in areas where they plan to build new border wall – often without even notifying the landowners or the public of their actions. This was the case when the managers of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, discovered industrial mowers stripping vegetation from their land and imperiling more than 200 species of butterflies.
Now, CBP is trying to conceal efforts to build a 60-mile extension through the area that includes two national wildlife refuges and important habitat for the endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.
In a letter recently sent to a select group of stakeholders earlier this month, CBP requested comments on the proposed construction of 60 miles of border wall that would cut through parts of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the National Butterfly Center and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. The letter appears to be a dubious ploy to claim that the agency is fulfilling its obligation to “seek public comment,” while not actually making the public aware of their plans. Perhaps even they realize what a terrible idea it is to construct a barrier through these sensitive habitats and critical wildlife corridors that support countless species of wildlife, including more than 500 species of birds, 300 butterfly species and 1,200 plant species.
A Tale of Two Refuges
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Few places in the Western Hemisphere exhibit such a diversity of flora and fauna as the lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, home to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. While small in size, the Santa Ana Refuge contains an abundance of neotropical songbirds, raptors, mammals and reptiles, including the nine-banded armadillo, Texas tortoise, Mexican free-tailed bat. It is also home to more than 400 bird species, more than 300 species of butterflies –half of all butterfly species found in North America – and more than 450 varieties of plants.
The refuge also provides habitat for at least eight species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including the highly-imperiled ocelot and jaguarundi. With fewer than 50 left in the United States, the refuge is essential to ocelot recovery.
Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Comprising several units along the Rio Grande, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge helps protect a crucial link between coastal and river wildlife corridors. The various refuge units are located at the nexus of four climate zones – tropical, temperate, coastal and desert – and at the confluence of the Mississippi and Central flyways, making the region one of the most diverse conservation areas in North America. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is home to more than 700 vertebrate species, 300 species of butterfly and at least 18 threatened or endangered species, including the highly-endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley refuge complex conserves Mid-Delta Thorn Forest, a rare forest type that provides habitat for an array of small mammals and birds and serves as a key hunting ground for the ocelot. As the thorn forest has continued to diminish over the years, ocelots have been forced to cross open fields and been exposed to more dangers from vehicular traffic and predators. Further degradation of this crucial habitat from wall construction could prove devastating to the dwindling U.S. population of ocelots.
A Decisive Blow to Wildlife
The construction of an impenetrable wall through these refuges would fragment riparian habitats, block migration corridors for rare migratory birds and imperiled species, degrade and destroy habitat, and disrupt nesting, breeding and foraging by countless birds and other wildlife. Levee walls, which are proposed for at least 28 miles along this route, can trap wildlife and drown animals during severe flooding events.
Both refuges serve as important migration corridors for animals like the ocelot and jaguarundi, who travel back and forth from Mexico to the U.S. These rare cats would be cut off from crucial habitat affecting their dispersal and their potential to establish new resident populations in the U.S. The noise from increased vehicle traffic and lighting along the border wall could also greatly impair these animals’ ability to hunt and alter the behavior of their prey.
No Longer the “Land of the Free” for Wildlife
A border wall offends our core American values – freedom, equality, justice and the preservation of our natural heritage. For wildlife in the borderlands, a wall would set back decades of conservation success in the region.
We are the guardians of these imperiled animals and at Defenders we are fighting to make sure they have a voice and can continue to recover and prosper in our country. The illicit and secretive actions by the current administration would have disastrous consequences for wildlife.
Tell the administration you won’t stand for any attack on our refuges or our wildlife. Stand up for imperiled wildlife in jeopardy because of the border wall.
Stand up for wildlife now!
Tell CPB and the administration that you oppose any border wall construction that would destroy vital wildlife habitat on our national wildlife refuges and public lands.
Defenders is committed to protecting human communities, wildlife and habitat threatened by a border wall. We have joined a diverse coalition of conservation, human rights, civil rights, religious and other groups to mount substantial opposition. Please join us in this important fight.
Bryan Bird, Southwest Program Director
Bryan oversees Defenders work in the Southwest, where he has spent 23 years working on wildlife conservation. His efforts are focused on maintaining and enhancing vital wildlife habitat, and on protecting imperiled species, such as Mexican gray wolves, jaguars, desert tortoises and California condors, in the face of a changing climate, drought, and increasing development.
Categories: border wall, Habitat Conservation, habitat conservation, jaguarundi, Lower Rio Grande, Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, migration corridor, ocelot, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Take Action, Trump administration, Wildlife
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Care2 Causes | Nevada’s Wild Horses Are in Danger, and So Are Thousands of Others
By: Alicia Graef
September 18, 2017
Thousands of wild horses are living peacefully on public lands in Nevada right now, completely unaware that the government is coming for them soon. They will be rounded up this fall, and their advocates are raising serious concerns that they will be sent to slaughter, along with thousands of others.
Tragically, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has failed, and continues to fail, to uphold its duties under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which was intended to protect wild horses from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.” It was enacted in 1971, after Congress officially recognized the value of wild horses as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
Despite that, the agency has continued to remove and warehouse thousands upon thousands of wild horses at the expense of taxpayers – a vast majority of who strongly oppose the agency’s incredibly cruel, wasteful and ongoing mismanagement of these American icons.
Unfortunately, those who are supposed to uphold the letter and spirit of the law are increasingly beholden to special interests, including livestock and extractive industries, that want to see wild horses exterminated from their rightful place on public lands.
Now, under the Trump Administration, the situation for wild horses could get even worse.
Charlotte Roe, a former science attache and environmental policy officer with the State Department noted in a recent op-ed, that in Nevada alone, the BLM intends to round up nearly 1,000 wild horses “to achieve its absurdly low population target of 60 adults and foals, leaving one horse per 10,000 acres. In the huge Antelope Valley and Triple A Complex, the BLM plans to remove over 7,000 mustangs.”
Sadly, Nevada’s wild horses aren’t the only ones being targeted for upcoming roundups, and their lives are all now in danger.
The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment as part of the 2018 budget, which would allow the BLM to kill 92,000 healthy wild horses who are currently in holding, in addition to those who are deemed excess on the range. Some lawmakers did step up to stop this, but they were shut down before their own amendments could go to the floor for a full vote.
Although the situation is looking increasingly dire for wild horses, there’s still hope that Congress will act to protect them from further roundups and slaughter. Wild horse advocates have continued to oppose any measures that would allow slaughter, and have continued to advocate for these American icons to be humanely managed on the range.
For more updates and ways to help, check out organizations including the American Wild Horse Campaign, Cloud Foundation, Equine Advocates, Wild Horse Education and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.
Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps
Interior Secretary Zinke just recommended that Trump downsize four national monuments and remove protections for six more. Tell Congress to block this public lands heist!
#U.S. Legal News
September 18, 2017 / 4:22 PM / Updated 3 hours ago
U.S. Interior chief urges changes to national monuments -report
Jan Harvey, Valerie Volcovici, Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Department of the Interior called for changes to the management of 10 national monuments that would lift restrictions on activities such as logging and mining and shrink at least four of the sites, the Washington Post reported.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump reduce the boundaries of the monuments known as Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.
Zinke also called for relaxing current restrictions within some of the monuments’ boundaries for activities such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing, according to a copy of the memo that the Post obtained.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante monument has areas that “contain an estimated several billion tons of coal and large oil deposits,” Zinke’s report said, suggesting that it could be opened to energy production if Trump makes a reduction in the footprint of the monument.
The Trump administration has promoted “energy dominance,” or plans to produce more coal, oil, and gas for domestic use and selling to allies. With Grand Staircase-Escalante being remote, and oil and coal being plentiful elsewhere, it is uncertain if energy interests would actually drill and mine there, if the monument’s boundaries were changed.
Trump has said previous administrations abused their right to create monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by imposing limits on drilling, mining, logging, ranching and other activities in huge areas, mainly in western states.
The monuments targeted in the memo were created by former presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. A designation as a national monument prohibits mining and sets stringent protections for ecosystems on the site.
Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift referred questions about the memo to the White House.
“The Trump Administration does not comment on leaked documents, especially internal drafts which are still under review by the President and relevant agencies,” White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said in a statement to Reuters.
In June, Zinke told reporters he had recommended shrinking the Bears Ears monument, the country’s newest monument, and last month he sent his recommendations to the Republican president after reviewing more than two dozen national monuments. [L1N1J917V] Trump ordered the review in April as part of his broader effort to increase development on federal lands.
Energy, mining, ranching and timber industries have cheered the review, while conservation groups and the outdoor recreation industry threatened lawsuits over what they see as an effort to undo protections of critical natural and cultural resources.
The Sierra Club, an environmental group, said Zinke had “sold out” public lands. “Leaving the protection of Native American sacred sites, outdoor recreation destinations, and natural wonders to the goodwill of polluting industries is a recipe for disaster,” Sierra’s head Michael Brune said.
Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate energy committee, tweeted that former President Teddy Roosevelt, a conservationist, would “roll over in his grave” if he saw Zinke’s “attacks” on public lands.
Besides reducing the four sites, Zinke called for changes at Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters, New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte, two Pacific Ocean marine monuments and another marine one off the New England coast.
Many fishing industry supporters cheered changes outlined in Zinke’s memo. Jon Mitchell, the mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, a large fishing port, said the marine monument designation process “may have been well intended, but it has simply lacked a comparable level of industry input, scientific rigor and deliberation.”
While the antiquities law enables a president to permanently declare certain places of historic or scientific interest a national monument, a few U.S. presidents have reduced the size of some such areas.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Washington Post: Shrink at least 4 national monuments and modify a half-dozen others, Zinke tells Trump wapo.st/2xag7RJ Reuters graphic on review of U.S. monuments tmsnrt.rs/2itKQFD) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
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BLM Begins Wild Horse Water Bait Trap Gather near Gerlach on Thursday, June 1
WINNEMUCCA, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Winnemucca District (WD) will begin an emergency wild horse gather on Thursday, June 1 north of Gerlach, Nevada. Due to reported safety concerns of horses crossing the highway and creating near misses with vehicles, the WD will be gathering approximately 15 horses from the area near the highway.
The BLM plans to use a water trap, consisting of corral panels stocked with water; no helicopters will be used. Because wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity, only essential gather operation personnel will be allowed at the gather site during operations.
All the horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center north of Reno, NV where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Horses not adopted will be placed in off-range pastures where they can retain their free-roaming nature. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter. For information on how to adopt a wild horse, visit http://on.doi.gov/1u25hEH.
For more information, please contact Jenny Lesieutre, Wild Horse and Burro Public Affairs Specialist for the Nevada State Office at (775) 861-6594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Bureau of Land Management
Winnemucca District Office
BLM Washington Office
1849 C Street NW Rm. 5665
Washington DC 20240
The Antiquities Act is one of our nation’s most valuable conservation tools but it is being threatened. Our environment and wildlife depend on this Act for their protection. Please sign our petition to oppose any efforts to undermine the Antiquities Act.
This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
The smokestacks of the Navajo Generating Station rise 775 feet from the sere landscape of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, just three miles away from the serpentine, stagnant blue wound in sandstone known as Lake Powell. Red rock cliffs and the dark and heavy hump of Navajo Mountain loom in the background. Since construction began in 1969, the coal plant and its associated mine on Black Mesa have provided millions of dollars to the Navajo and Hopi tribes and hundreds of jobs to local communities, as well as electricity to keep the lights on and air conditioners humming in the metastasizing cities of Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Yet, they’ve also stood as symbols of the exploitation of Native Americans, of the destruction of the land, and of the sullying of the air, all to provide cheap power to the Southwest.
But coal power is no longer the best energy bargain. And on Monday, the plant’s four private utility owners, led by the Salt River Project, voted to shut down the plant at the end of 2019, some 25 years ahead of schedule. When the giant turbines come to a halt and the towers topple in the coming years, the plant will become a new symbol, this one of a transforming energy economy and an evolving electrical grid that is slowly rendering these soot-stained, mechanical megaliths obsolete.
Here’s what you need to know about the plant, the mine, and the coming closure:
1. The closure will deeply wound local economies, particularly in Page, LeChee, Kaibeto, and Kayenta
935 — Full-time employees in 2014 of Navajo Generating Station, the Kayenta Coal Mine on Black Mesa, which exists only to fuel the plant, and the 78-mile electric railroad that carries coal from the mine to the plant.
90 — Percent of those workers that are Native American.
$141,500 — Average payroll expenditure per employee (wages, salaries, benefits, etc.)
In addition to these jobs, both mine and plant have contractors for various purposes and each of the power plant’s three units requires a major overhaul every three years, which temporarily employs an additional 400 or more people. These are highly coveted jobs on the Navajo Nation, which deals with high unemployment and chronic poverty.
2. The operating budgets of the Navajo Nation and the Hopi tribe will take a severe beating
Both the Hopi and Navajo tribes got the short end of the stick — a royalty rate of just 3.3 percent — when Peabody Coal first got the leases to mine Black Mesa in the 1960s. The attorney representing the Hopi tribe, John Boyden, was actually on Peabody’s payroll at the time, and managed to get a sham tribal government to sign over mining rights against the objections of traditional Hopis, as chronicled by writer and law professor Charles Wilkinson. The mines — Black Mesa and Kayenta — forced families to relocate, destroyed grazing land, dried up springs, and wrecked ancestral Hopi shrines and other sites.
The tribes fought back and eventually negotiated better terms. Both tribes now rely heavily on royalty and lease payments from the mine and the power plant, even as tribal members fight against the polluting and water-gulping ways of plant and mine.
$54 million — Total annual royalties, bonus payments, and water-use fees paid to the Hopi tribe and the Navajo Nation as of 2015 by the owners of both the Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Coal Mine. The Hopi tribe depends on these payments for more than 80 percent of its total budget. This amount would have gone up considerably after 2019.
$1.7 million — Approximate amount donated yearly by Peabody Western Coal Company and Salt River Project — the plant’s operator — on local scholarships and charity.
$9.9 million — Cost of electricity purchased by the Kayenta Coal Mine yearly from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.
Prior to Monday’s announcement, the plant’s owners and the Navajo Nation were refashioning the lease, which runs out in 2019, to make it more favorable for the tribe. Peabody also hoped to expand the mine.
3. The air (and water and land) will be a lot cleaner without Navajo Generating Station, one of the biggest polluters in the West
20 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent — Amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the power plant (carbon dioxide) and the mine (methane) each year.
8.6 million metric tons CO2 — Amount of greenhouse gases emitted yearly by a natural gas plant generating the same amount of electricity as the Navajo Generating Station. This does not account for leaks during natural gas production, processing, transportation, and storage.
472, 4370, 259 — Pounds of mercury, selenium, and arsenic, respectively, that spew from the power plant’s smokestacks each year. These elements are toxic to wildlife and humans and have shown up in relatively high concentrations in fish in the Grand Canyon and the San Juan River upstream from Lake Powell, as well as in precipitation at Mesa Verde National Park. Natural gas combustion emits only negligible amounts of these elements.
1.3 million — Tons of coal combustion waste produced by the plant each year, about 75 percent of which is disposed of nearby, with the rest sold for use in other applications.
- The plant lies at the heart of the water-energy nexus
Both the Kayenta Mine and the Navajo Generating Station use large amounts of water. The Bureau of Reclamation owns a large share of the plant, and uses most of its electricity to run the pumps for the Central Arizona Project, which delivers Colorado River water to Arizona cities.
1,200 acre feet — Amount of groundwater the mine draws from the Navajo Aquifer each year. (Prior to the 2005 closure of the Mohave Generating Station, another 3,000 acre feet was used to slurry the coal 273 miles from the mine to the plant, drying up important springs in the area.)
28,000 acre feet (9 billion gallons) — Amount of water drawn from Lake Powell each year for steam generation and cooling at the plant. This is all consumptive use, meaning none of this water is returned to the source.
3 million megawatt-hours — Amount of electricity the CAP uses to lift, transport, and deliver 1.6 million acre feet of Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson annually. (Enough to power about 240,000 Arizona homes for one year).
- Economics, not the so-called war on coal or federal environmental protections, is the primary factor shutting down the plant
Salt River Project officials have been very clear on this point. They note that it’s now cheaper for them to buy power for their 1 million customers from other sources than it is to generate power at Navajo, thanks mostly to low natural gas prices. A November 2016 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that the Central Arizona Project pays about 15 percent more for electricity from the power plant — of which it is part owner — than it would if it bought power wholesale from the Mead trading hub located near Las Vegas.
None of this will change even if President Donald Trump rolls back the Clean Power Plan or other regulations put in place by the Obama administration. In fact, if a drill-heavy energy policy is put into place, it will increase natural gas supplies, thus increasing the spread between natural gas and coal. Having said that, California’s move away from coal power lowers the value of the plant’s power, and the requirement that the plant install nitrous oxide-reducing equipment increases costs — so environmental protections do play a role, albeit a smaller one than economics.
6. It’s a sign of the times
Although it’s happening slowly, the electrical landscape is evolving. The days of vertically integrated utilities that own huge, centralized power stations and their own balkanized grids are giving way to a new era in which utilities purchase power generated by smaller plants that are connected to larger, regional grids.
California’s independent grid operator has already joined up with NV Energy, PacifiCorp, and other Western utilities to form an energy imbalance market, which allows the utilities to share generators — be they wind, solar, natural gas, or coal — to “balance” their grids in real time, rather than having to rely only on their own generators. These utilities are hoping to expand this market and then take it to the next level of a regional, integrated grid in coming years. The closure of Navajo Generating Station adds new urgency to this effort.
7. What’s next?
The decision to close the plant came as a surprise. Until several weeks ago, the plant’s owners were negotiating a new lease with the Navajo Nation and considering shutting one of three units and replacing it with other energy sources. Meanwhile, the mine was looking to expand. Outright closure this soon was not on anyone’s radar, so there is no firm transition plan in place. The Bureau of Reclamation and Peabody are looking for ways to keep the plant running beyond 2019, but they’d have to do it without the other owners and against economic headwinds.
When the Mohave Generating Station and the Black Mesa Mine closed in 2005, environmentalists and tribes pushed the California Public Utilities Commission to create a revolving “just transition” fund with money earned from the sale of sulfur dioxide credits from the shuttered plant. The fund, the value of which dwindled as sulfur credit prices fell, is supposed to help develop renewable energy on the reservations.
There are little or no such credits available for Navajo Generating Station, however, so that approach won’t work here. The owners of the plant could work with the tribes to replace some of the lost electricity generation by building new solar, wind, or other plants on the reservations, where there is ample potential for renewable energy development. Two major transmission systems are associated with the plant, and could be taken over by the tribes to move solar or wind power to the south and west. The water rights could be turned over to the tribes, for use in agriculture or other purposes.
A Beacon in the Smog®
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Summary September 19, 2016
Fiscal Year 2017
Once again, the Republican leadership, especially in the House, is advancing a Big Polluter Agenda to undermine just about every basic environmental protection current law provides to the American people. It appears no environmental law is safe from the demands of corporate polluters and their cheerleaders in the Republican Party.
The Republican Leadership is trying to force this Big Polluter Agenda on the public through provisions in must-pass spending bills. These provisions are called “riders” because they ride along on unrelated legislation. Riders that are typically tacked onto a spending bill, for example, would not change federal spending by one cent. Instead, riders are used to sneak through legislative changes that would be difficult to pass on their own in open congressional debate. Riders often result in the measures getting less scrutiny and enable their sponsors to avoid responsibility for pushing them. And they can be harder to veto because of all the unrelated items surrounding them. In the past, spending riders have led to government shutdowns when intransigent Republicans were unwilling to fund the government without restricting environmental protection.
But polling clearly shows strong public support for environmental protection. That’s why the Republican leadership uses riders – they know how hard it would be to prevail on a clean yes-or-no vote directly on environmental and public health protections. Republican leaders have learned little after forcing a government shutdown that Standard & Poor’s says cost the nation $24 billion. They are again threatening damage to America’s families, communities, and economy as they strive to reverse many years of progress.
These are the riders that have been added so far to the spending bills for fiscal year 2017, which begins October 1. We include section numbers to indicate where these riders are found in the corresponding legislation. In some cases, we include amendment numbers for riders that were voted into legislation but have not yet been assigned section numbers. This page will be updated as the appropriations process plays out in the House and Senate.
Clean Air & Climate Change
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (p.83) requires all biomass burned for electricity production to be considered to have zero carbon pollution despite the fact that emissions from wood biomass are often higher than those from coal. This language threatens the long term health of forests by encouraging the burning of trees to generate electricity, and worsens climate change by pretending climate-changing emissions don’t exist. A similar rider was included in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 414).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 127) added by Rep Culberson (R-TX) prevents new air quality protections that under development by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM). The new rules will improve air quality for coastal communities by updating decades old standards and require better pollution controls for offshore sources.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 417) permanently prevents the EPA from limiting pollution from livestock production under the Clean Air Act. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 420).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 418) prevents the EPA from requiring the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 421).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 431) prevents EPA from limiting carbon pollution and implementing the first-ever carbon pollution standards for new and existing fossil fuel power plants.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 434) blocks EPA’s ability to set standards curtailing use of super-polluting hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants and foam blowing agents. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that have thousands of times more impact on climate change, pound for pound, than carbon dioxide. Companies are making safer alternatives, but the rider would allow unlimited growth in these outmoded and dangerous pollutants. The rider would also damage the United States’ international credibility and frustrate efforts – supported by industry – to negotiate a global HFC phase-out under the Montreal Protocol.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 436) blocks EPA from considering of the costs of carbon pollution on the rest of the world. It bars the government from assessing and weighing the full costs of extreme weather or other climate impacts caused by our pollution, and the full benefits of any actions to improve energy efficiency or clean up carbon pollution. We want Europe and China to be responsible for the harms their emissions impose, so it’s only right for us to consider the effects of our carbon pollution on others.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (sec. 438) delays EPA’s latest health standards for ground-level ozone (smog) pollution for ten years, preventing Americans from even having the right to know if the air they breathe is unhealthy for ten years and severely delaying cleanup steps. The rider also would let corporations that apply for air pollution permits pollute at levels that are unsafe under national health standards.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 439) prevents EPA from addressing methane emissions from sources in the oil and natural gas sector under Sections 111(b) or (d) of the Clean Air Act. This includes the recently finalized new and modified methane source standard and an as yet to be proposed standard for existing sources of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, including a recently initiated process by EPA to obtain data for existing methane sources. The rider also blocks yet to be finalized Draft Control Techniques Guidelines that would control emissions of volatile organic compounds for the oil and natural gas industry.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Perry (R-PA) rolls back the Clean Air Act and blocks any potential plan to address climate change. Instead of listening to the national security experts, faith leaders, scientists, energy innovators, health professionals and many others who are sounding the alarm on climate change and have implored our nation’s elected officials to support action, this amendment simply seeks another way to say “no.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Ratcliffe (R-TX) blocks a proposed, voluntary program that encourages and rewards early action to reduce carbon pollution, something many states and power companies have asked for as EPA developed the Clean Power Plan. In addition to providing incentives for clean energy technologies like wind and solar, the program would provide a double credit for energy efficiency investments in low-income communities. By releasing the Clean Energy Incentive Program proposed rule and taking public comment, EPA is doing the prudent thing by continuing to work with those states, power companies, and stakeholders that are continuing to plan for future Clean Power Plan implementation.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation offered by Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) blocks work on the Department of Energy’s Climate Model Development and Validation Program.
A rider in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 419) attempts to waste resources and thwart progress by requiring the Administration to submit a report to the congressional Appropriations committees describing all Federal agency funding for climate change programs, projects, and activities in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
A rider in the Senate Energy and Water appropriation committee report (Committee Report, p. 62) would block any Department of Energy regulation in FY17 that analyzes the impact of the rule on carbon emissions until EPA revises its “social costs of carbon assessment” downward in a biased fashion. A similar rider was added to the House Energy and Water appropriation (H. Amdt. 8) by Rep Gosar.
A rider in the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriation (Sec. 236) blocks the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from updating its standards for publicly funded construction to better avoid flood damage. In order to update the standard, the rider requires HUD to perform the Herculean task of mapping every floodplain in the United States; a task that is highly cost prohibitive. This requirement is just a ploy to stop implementation of the federal flood protection standard. It is a myopic action that will harm our country in the long-run as the federal flood protection standard is meant to increase our resilience to future flooding and reduce the amount of federal tax dollars spent to rebuild after a disaster.
A rider in the House Defense appropriation (Sec. 8132) would prevent the Department of Defense from enforcing Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. EISA Section 526 is a do no harm provision that simply requires high carbon unconventional fuel producers to capture and store their excess carbon before launching their projects through federal awards. It simply ensures that federal contractors reduce the damage they inflict on taxpayers before benefitting from public funds. Taxpayer accountability is an extremely fair thing to ask.
An amendment added to the House Defense Appropriation by Rep Buck (R-CO) would discourage the Department of Defense from making its military installations and the military industrial complex more resilient to weather related disasters. It prevents the Department of Defense from assessing the impacts of climate change despite global warming’s long acknowledged role as a security threat multiplier. Many military installations are exposed to worsening weather driven events, yet the amendment elevates climate denial over national security.
A rider in the House Financial Services and General Government appropriation (Sec. 745) would unnecessarily delay implementation of new measures to protect public infrastructure from flooding. The rider requires every agency responsible for incorporating the new requirements into their regulations and operating procedures to hold a six-month long public comment period on any proposed regulation, policy, or guidance to implement the executive order. The opportunity for public comment must and should happen, but requiring a minimum of 180 days for public comment is just a blatant attempt to delay implementation until the next Administration. It is not about ensuring public participation and transparency. This sleight-of-hand political maneuvering only serves to harm the American public. The federal flood protection standard is meant to increase our resilience to future flooding, protecting lives and reducing taxpayer dollars spent to rebuild after a disaster.
A rider in the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriation (Sec. 1228) offered by Rep Posey would block guidance designed to better inform the public, shareholders and policymakers of the potential risks of climate change to businesses. Climate change can pose a wide variety of risks to a business from loss of assets to broader implications on market trends; disclosure of those potential business risks provides important information for both investors and policymakers. Ignoring the effects of climate change will not make them go away.
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Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (H. Amdt. 33) offered by Rep. Burgess (R-TX) blocks the Department of Energy (DoE) from implementing and enforcing common sense energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. These standards were passed by a bipartisan majority, enacted in 2007 and gradually phased in over the past two and a half years. By all reasonable measures the transition has been a success, and efficient incandescent bulbs are among the variety of choices available for consumers. Continuing the rider will prevent DoE from issuing clarifications on the law that manufacturers desire or enforcing the standards against inefficient, non-compliant bulbs.
A rider in House Energy and Water appropriation offered by Rep. Buck (R-CO) prevents the Department of Energy from finalizing or enforcing energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans, ceiling fan light kits, dishwashers, and vending machines.
A rider in House Energy and Water appropriation offered by Rep. Stivers (R-OH) prevents the Department of Energy from doing anything to further the Cape Wind Project off the coast of Massachusetts.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation offered by Rep. Sanford (R-SC) prevents the Department of Energy from making loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. This program is designed to ensure that growing demand for efficient vehicles creates jobs in the United States.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation offered by Rep. Mullin (R-OK) prevents the Department of Energy from promulgating any regulation with an annual effect of over $100 million between November 8, 2016 and January 20, 2017. This rider continues the false narrative that public protections are snuck through in the final hours of an administration. In fact, these protections are often developed over years with opportunity for public comment at numerous points along the way.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 505) would prevent the government from shutting down the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
A rider in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation (Sec. 306) would allow nuclear waste to be stored in private facilities. The rider severs any meaningful linkage between the storage and disposal of nuclear waste by exploring storage as a viable option for dealing with nuclear waste from the nation’s weapons programs and nuclear power plants. This dangerous precedent breaks with over 50 years of scientific consensus that supports permanent isolation in deep geological repositories as the only technically, economically, and ethically viable waste disposal option. The substantial distinction between nuclear waste storage and nuclear waste disposal must be preserved and never be blurred.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Black (R-TN) prevents EPA from applying vehicle efficiency and carbon pollution standards to heavy duty truck rebuilds. The amendment would unnecessarily perpetuate pollution and oil dependence by weakening heavy duty vehicle fuel economy standards.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Loudermilk (R-GA) prevents EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from heavy duty truck trailers. Medium and heavy duty vehicles represent a disproportionate share of transportation emissions. New EPA-NHTSA standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles can reduce these emissions with known and available technology, including efficiency improvements to trailers. These measures will help the nation slow climate change and reduce its reliance on oil. Congress should reduce our oil dependency rather than perpetuate it.
An amendment added to the House Defense Appropriation by Rep McClintock (R-CA) prevents the Department of Defense from implementing common sense clean energy and energy efficiency programs that are encouraged through Executive Order and statute even though the Department of Defense could benefit from minimizing energy demand and diversifying energy sources.
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A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 118) unnecessarily diverts funding away from real solutions for restoring the health of California’s Bay-Delta estuary to hatcheries. Scientists and conservation groups agree that conservation hatcheries do not address the underlying environmental problems that must be solved in order to save Delta Smelt and other native species in California’s Bay-Delta estuary. In fact, hatcheries in California have not prevented the decline of native salmon populations.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 120) blocks the Department of Interior (DOI) from developing or implementing safeguards designed to protect streams from pollution from surface coal mining. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 121).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 425) permanently prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from updating the definition of “fill material” or “discharge of fill material,” allowing the mining industry to continue dumping toxic waste from mountaintop removal activities into mountain streams.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 426) exempts pollutant discharges that Congress intended to be covered by the Clean Water Act. These discharges damage or destroy streams and wetlands without adequate environmental review, even though the Clean Water Act would otherwise require such oversight.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 427) permanently prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from clarifying which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. Blocking EPA’s updated Clean Water Rule would threaten those waters, which help supply one in three Americans’ drinking water and trap flood water.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 433) undermines management of federal lands and waters by unreasonably limiting the ability of federal agencies to condition permits to protect fish and wildlife, including endangered species. Last year the White House noted that an identical measure was unnecessary and would preclude management agencies from protecting the public interest. Furthermore it would prevent land management agencies from maintaining sufficient water for other congressionally-designated purposes and ensuring water rights are tied to the activities for which they were developed.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 447 and Sec. 448) added by Rep Valadao (R-CA) would harm endangered and native fish species, threaten thousands of fishing jobs, and upend water usage in California. It overrides protections required under two Endangered Species Act biological opinions regarding management of the state and federal water projects in California’s Bay-Delta estuary, mandating pumping levels far in excess of what is required to protect salmon and other native fish under the Endangered Species Act. It prohibits implementation of the San Joaquin River Restoration settlement between the United States, Friant Water Authority, and conservation and fishing groups to restore the river as required under state and federal law, which is likely to lead to further litigation and eliminate funding for water supply and flood control projects. It further requires the Department of the Interior to increase unsustainable water supply allocations to certain Central Valley Project contractors north of the Delta and reduces reservoir releases in order to provide greater water supply to certain Central Valley Project contractors at the expense of the environment and water deliveries to Southern California.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Pg. 83) forces EPA to continue using Safe Drinking Water Act aquifer exemption rules that have allowed for the contamination of underground sources of drinking water. These rules are used to exempt underground sources of drinking water from the protections of the Act, and have led to approval of aquifer exemptions without scientifically-defensible evidence about water quality, demand for groundwater, the rapid depletion of aquifers in many states, the extent to which climate change is likely to exacerbate these problems, improved technologies for water treatment to use brackish groundwater as a drinking water source, and advances in our scientific and technical understanding of groundwater contaminant fate and transport.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Crawford (R-AR) prevents EPA from enforcing or implementing oil spill prevention requirements on farms, irrespective of the amount of oil they store. This approach is nonsensical, in view of the fact that oil spills are no less dangerous to waterways when they come from agricultural operations. The amendment also ignores a study Congress directed EPA to undertake, which identified a “lack of evidence that farms are inherently safer than other types of facilities,” and it ignores the fact that farms already are treated more leniently than other facilities under this program.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Gosar (R-AZ) blocks completion or public distribution of an important EPA-USGS technical report that describes the environmental effects of water flow alteration and how states can manage those effects under existing law.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 108) prevents the Army Corps of Engineers from changing the definition of “fill material” or related definitions. This perpetuates the Bush-era redefinition, which treated all kinds of solid material, except garbage, as fill and undid a prior regulatory limitation on discharging other material primarily for the purpose of getting rid of waste. As a result, the rider prohibits action to curtail the use of the nation’s waters as waste dumps for polluting activities like mountaintop removal coal mining.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 109) prevents the Army Corps of Engineers from requiring a permit “for the activities identified in subparagraphs (A) and (C) of section 404(f)(1)”. This has been interpreted as reinforcing existing Clean Water Act exemptions for discharges of dredged or fill material associated with farming, ranching, and forestry.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 110) prohibits the Army Corps of Engineers from developing, implementing, or enforcing any change to the regulations and guidance” in effect concerning the meaning of “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act prior to the Clean Water Rule’s development. The rider would undermine a critically needed, long-overdue, overwhelmingly supported, and scientifically sound rule that protects drinking waters for roughly one in three Americans. The rider also potentially interferes in the judicial process and ongoing litigation around the rule.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 204) restricts implementation of two Endangered Species Act biological opinions regarding management of the state and federal water projects in California’s Bay-Delta estuary, making it harder to reduce water pumping to protect salmon and other endangered species under those biological opinions.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 205) overrides protections required under two Endangered Species Act biological opinions regarding management of the state and federal water projects in California’s Bay-Delta estuary. The rider mandates pumping levels outside of the Delta far in excess of the maximum limits permitted under those biological opinions, prohibits re-initiation of consultation under the Endangered Species Act, and prohibits implementation of the biological opinions if doing so would reduce water supply.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 206) requires the Department of the Interior to attempt to increase unsustainable water supply allocations to certain Central Valley Project contractors north of the Delta.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 207) prohibits implementation of the San Joaquin River Restoration settlement between the United States, Friant Water Authority, and conservation and fishing groups to restore the river as required under state and federal law. This would prevent funding for water supply and flood control projects that benefit local farmers, and likely lead the parties back to court because it would allow some 60 miles of California’s second longest river to remain completely dry in violation of state law.
A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 209) attempts to undermine environmental protections for salmon and water quality on the Stanislaus River, reducing reservoir releases in order to provide greater water supply to certain Central Valley Project contractors at the expense of the environment and water deliveries to Southern California.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Lummis (R-WY) prevents EPA’s common sense proposal to monitor groundwater where in-situ uranium mining takes place. These increasingly common mining activities threaten to contaminate groundwater resources with uranium and other harmful pollutants like arsenic. Groundwater that is contaminated by these activities cannot be restored to pre-mining conditions. These long lived contaminants can also migrate to other water sources, demanding that we carefully monitor their movements at a very minimum. The rider also resides in the House Interior and Environment committee report (Committee Report pg. 61). A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation committee report as well (Committee Report pg 72).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Goodlatte (R-VA) undermines the successful cooperative federalism of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and would severely hamper progress being made to clean up local waters. The cleanup is working, and the current process has given the states more control than ever in seeking a solution to the degraded waters of the region, while taking advantage of federal resources to help the states meet their commitments.
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A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 112) blocks implementation of the “Wild Lands” initiative unveiled by then-Interior Secretary Salazar in 2010 that would ensure that lands with wilderness characteristics remain unspoiled. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 113).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 407) allows the Secretary of Agriculture to rely on outdated forest plans, ignoring the reality that national forests are not being managed sustainably, nor taking into account additional considerations such as the increasing impacts from climate change.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 421) exempts livestock grazing permit renewals from environmental review. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 424).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 428) forbids federal land management agencies from placing reasonable limits via the normal land use planning process on fishing, shooting activities for hunting, or recreational shooting if those activities were allowed as of January 1, 2013.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 440) prevents federal agencies from raising royalty rates for federal onshore oil, gas or coal production. American taxpayers are currently being shortchanged by low onshore oil, gas and coal royalty rates and should be allowed a fair return on publicly owned resources.
A rider in the House Interior and Environmental appropriation (Sec. 441) derails necessary reforms to coal leasing. The federal coal program faces systemic problems that fail to generate a fair return for taxpayers or provide an efficient, transparent process for coal leasing. The broken federal coal program needs a complete overhaul but instead, this rider short circuits the reform process by placing an unnecessary and arbitrary deadline for its completion. Coal companies have already stockpiled enough unmined coal on existing leases to continue current production levels for at least 20 years, making this rider completely unwarranted.
An amendment added to the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 443) by Rep Simpson (R-ID) prevents new federal land use planning procedures from going forward. This rulemaking will improve not only how BLM treats renewable energy facilities but how it plans for all types of development and conservation on its lands. It is critical that this rule is finalized.
An amendment added to the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 453) by Rep Stewart (R-UT) prevents monument designations in a long list of U.S. counties. The amendment undermines the Antiquities Act, one of our most important tools for preserving our natural and cultural heritage for future generations.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment committee report (Committee Report pg. 12) pressures the Bureau of Land Management to allow oil and gas development in sensitive and unique habitats. The BLM is currently deciding the fate of oil and gas leasing in pristine roadless areas of the White River National Forest in Colorado, the most visited national forest in the country. The WRNF is home to priceless outdoor recreational opportunities and essential wildlife habitat and is the source of much-needed tourism dollars and clean drinking water for numerous communities. More than 50,000 members of the public commented on BLM’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, with the vast majority asking BLM to cancel illegal oil and gas leases and ensure that roadless areas and all their ecological values are fully protected. Congress should not try to politicize the process and intimidate BLM into changing course.
A rider in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 122) allows for the construction of a gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This provision would overturn Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s December 2013 decision rejecting the 11 mile road through the Izembek refuge. Construction of the road through congressionally-designated wilderness within the wildlife refuge would not only have disastrous environmental impacts on the region, but would also set a dangerous precedent that could allow for other infrastructure projects in refuges nationwide.
A rider in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 407) allows the Secretary of Agriculture to rely on outdated forest plans, ignoring the reality that national forests are not being managed sustainably, nor taking into account additional considerations such as the increasing impacts from climate change.
A rider in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 409) prohibits the use of eminent domain deemed necessary to support federal lands management without approval by the Appropriations committee, with the exception of federal assistance to Florida for Everglades restoration.
A rider in the House Agriculture Appropriations committee (Sec. 714) cuts funding for Farm Bill conservation programs essential to protecting our lands and waterways from agricultural pollution. The committee cut funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) by $225 million dollars, and reduced the Conservation Stewardship Program by 2 million acres. In the absence of strong regulations, these voluntary programs are the only line of defense against agricultural pollution and they are essential for reducing pollution from agricultural land. These programs also improve wildlife habitat and help farms mitigate and adapt to climate change. Unfortunately, Congress has disproportionately targeted conservation programs for budget cuts every year through the annual appropriations process.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Lamborn (R-CO) would stop the implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s hydraulic fracturing rule. This rule will help reduce the severe risks posed to clean water and important drinking water sources by widespread hydraulic fracturing by improving well safety, increasing transparency, and addressing threats from toxic wastewater. Health, safety and environmental protections must keep pace with hydraulic fracturing’s rapid growth.
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A rider in the House Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 506) would prevent implementation of the National Ocean Policy, a landmark policy designed to safeguard our oceans and coasts.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Byrne (R-AL) prevents implementation of the National Ocean Policy. The National Ocean Policy is a common sense policy that improves the way we manage our oceans, reducing duplicative efforts and conflicting government actions, and facilitates better coordination between federal, state, and local stakeholders.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Zeldin (R-NY) blocks new marine monuments in U.S. waters and undermines the Antiquities Act. By prohibiting the designation of new marine monuments in the Exclusive Economic Zone, this amendment would effectively block future marine monument protections in more than 4.5 million square miles of the ocean. The Antiquities Act is a critical conservation tool and any attempts to undermine it should be opposed.
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Toxics and Public Health
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 420) permanently prevents the EPA from regulating toxic lead in ammunition, ammunition components, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) or any other law. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 423).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 429) blocks EPA from enforcing rules to limit exposure to lead paint.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 430) blocks EPA from requiring industries with high probability of causing catastrophic damage by releasing toxics into the environment from carrying insurance to cover environmental damages they cause. A similar rider was included in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 417).
An amendment added to the House Defense Appropriation by Rep Smith (R-NE) legislatively overrides DOD autonomy to make decisions on nutritional standards for military personnel critical to meet the needs of individual combat readiness, morale, and long-term health obligations. Specifically, it prohibits the military from offering nutritionally complete vegetable-based and/or meat-free meals, even when such meals are determined to be healthier or specifically requested by personnel. These types of nutritional decisions should be science-based, and left to military health and dietary experts who are better qualified to understand the readiness, health, and long term healthcare cost implications of dietary standards, and the commanders who are responsible for the wellbeing and quality of life of their personnel.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Newhouse (R-WA) prohibits EPA from writing any rule that would require the largest industrial animal farms (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs) to properly store, transport, or dispose of their wastes, including the hundreds of millions of tons of manure they generate annually. CAFO wastes contain dangerous pollutants that can increase the risk of birth defects, infant deaths, diabetes, and cancer. When not handled properly, CAFO wastes endanger drinking water sources and pose a particularly severe risk to rural communities reliant on well water.
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A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec 114) prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from fulfilling its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The provision overrides a court requirement that FWS must make a determination on whether sage-grouse should be listed as a threatened or endangered species, and sets a dangerous precedent by circumventing the scientific and legal process established to protect imperiled species. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 115).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 119) delists gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming from the Endangered Species Act and prevent judicial review of this action. A similar rider was added to the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 119).
A rider the House Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 445) added by Rep Yoder (R-KS) would prevent implementation of enforcement of a threatened species listing for the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. A similar provision was included in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 111).
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Lamborn (R-CO) blocks protections for the threatened Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse under the Endangered Species Act, thwarting recovery efforts for this western species, which continues to experience habitat loss and other threats throughout its range. The rider eliminates crucial recovery programs for the mouse, such as Habitat Conservation Plans, that require the participation of private and public land managers as well as federal funding.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Lamborn (R-CO) blocks funding for species listed under the Endangered Species Act if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fails to complete a timely 5-year review of that species’ status. Yet insufficient funding can cause FWS to miss the deadline. Thus, this amendment would condition the very survival of some species on Congress’s longstanding and continuing failure to pass bills to appropriately fund FWS.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Newhouse (R-WA) blocks efforts to protect endangered gray wolves in the continental United States by 2017 under the Endangered Species Act. This species is currently listed as endangered in most of the lower-48 states. A national delisting for wolves would reverse the remarkable progress the ESA has achieved for this species and once again put the gray wolf at risk of extinction.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Pearce (R-NM) blocks federal recovery efforts for the endangered New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse under the Endangered Species Act. This rare southwestern subspecies has suffered a significant population decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation throughout its range.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Gosar (R-AZ) blocks federal funding for the endangered Mexican gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. It also limits recovery to “historic range,” even though scientists say the wolves must be restored to new habitats to recover. There are less than 100 Mexican gray wolves in the United States; blocking recovery for these wolves and keeping them out of suitable habitats they need to recover brings them one step closer to extinction.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Westerman (R-AR) blocks enforcement of a federal court decision that found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by allowing the killing of double crested cormorants without current data, adequate scientific analysis, or evaluating less harmful alternatives. Congress should allow court decisions to stand, rather than stepping into a role that is not rightfully theirs.
A rider in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation that was added to the committee report (Committee Report pg. 68) declares glyphosate safe for humans and wildlife and urges EPA to rush completion of its registration. Glyphosate is linked to the dramatic decline in pollinator habitat and potentially poses risks to human health. EPA should expeditiously complete its review but only on the basis of sound science rather than political pressure from Congress.
A rider in the Senate Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 117) blocks an important FWS rule to conserve wolves, grizzly bears and other native carnivores on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. This provision would bar FWS from prohibiting the state’s aggressive “predator control” program on our federal public lands, effectively allowing extreme non-subsistence hunting practices that target iconic carnivores, including trapping, baiting, aerial gunning, killing at den sites and killing mothers and young. The provision would prevent FWS from ensuring over 100 million acres of federal lands in Alaska are managed in accordance with bedrock conservation laws.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Gosar (R-AZ) would threaten wildlife and risk public safety at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. It would block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and stakeholders from addressing certain recreational activities on the refuge that create dangerous conditions for visitors and undermine natural resource conservation, setting a dangerous precedent for the entire Refuge System.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Cramer (R-ND) would block a badly needed rule that better protects lands and wildlife where non-federal oil and gas development takes place in the National Wildlife Refuge System. This rule will at least better mitigate the impacts of oil and gas extraction on refuges that host wildlife, prized recreation opportunities and natural heritage. By blocking efforts to improve protections, the amendment increases risks to wildlife and public lands.
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A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Price (R-GA) blocks implementation of any rule or regulation that is considered “major.” Official analyses from administrations of both political parties consistently find that such regulations often provide far greater benefits than costs. Yet under this amendment, a rule that brings billions in benefits and a rule that saves human lives will still be barred as long as it has impacts of more than $100 million. A similar rider was added to the Financial Services and General Government appropriation (sec. 1204) by Rep Duffy (R-WI).
A rider in the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriation (Sec. 1211) offered by Rep Hudson (R-NC) would stop any regulations from being proposed or finalized until Jan 21, 2017. This amendment would block implementation of regulatory standards and safeguards simply by virtue of when they were proposed or finalized. Such an arbitrary distinction, which bears no relationship to the merits of any particular regulation, would impact regulations that have been in the works for years. Indeed, regulatory process experts at the Administrative Conference of the United States recently released their recommendation on reforms to “midnight” rulemaking, stating “shutting the rulemaking process down during this period would be impractical given that numerous agency programs require constant regulatory activity, often with statutory deadlines.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Weber (R-TX) denies all funds to EPA for its entire budget under the spending bill if the agency is found to act at odds with a single provision in the Clean Air Act to evaluate employment effects. A coal company is suing EPA alleging the agency has failed to conduct such an evaluation. If the company prevails, the court would direct EPA to do the evaluation. This amendment would then prohibit all funds to EPA under the spending bill because the agency was found to have contravened this single Clean Air Act provision. It is irrational and punitive to the American people to defund an entire agency budget over the failure to conduct an evaluation, especially when linked to the active litigation strategy of a company suing the agency.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Smith (R-MO) undermines the ability of citizens to recover legal fees when they settle a lawsuit brought under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, or Clean Water Act. This restricts access to the courts and allows for the most egregious violations of the Act to remain unchecked and encourages costly litigation rather than settlement.
A rider in the House Interior and Environment appropriation added by Rep Smith (R-MO) severely undermines the National Environmental Education Act by prohibiting all funding for environmental education grants to elementary and high schools, colleges and universities and state education and environmental agencies under this law. These grants help state and local educators develop curricula for America’s school children; train teachers, state and local officials, and not-for-profit organizations; and advance environmental education, science and research. The amendment would cripple valuable federal support for environmental education under a law adopted during the first Bush administration.
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Clean Air & Climate Change
Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency
Toxics and Public Health
2016 Anti-Environmental Budget Riders by Appropriations Bill
September 19, 2016
2015 Anti-Environmental Budget Riders