Lobbyists for Big Oil have been allowed by the EPA to alter air pollution research which dictates environmental regulations. Sign this petition to demand that the Trump Administration stop giving Big Oil control over our environmental policies.
House Destroyed, Homes Evacuated After PA Pipeline Explosion |
Posted on September 11, 2018 by GJEP staff Leave a Comment
A gas pipeline explosion “sent flames shooting into the sky” in Center Township, Pa. on Monday morning, according to WPXI News.
“A massive gas explosion shook parts of Beaver County early Monday, destroying a house, garages and multiple vehicles and bringing down six high-tension electric towers” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Energy Transfer Partners pipeline, according to industry news source Natural Gas Intelligence, had only been placed into service last week and exploded due to “torrential rain and saturated ground.”
One resident stated that their “house started shaking. The sky was pure red from the flames shooting.”
Someone else told reporters that “It sounded like a jet was taking off.”
Appalachians Against Pipelines Facebook
According the the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “Energy Transfer’s reputation in Pennsylvania over the past few years has been dominated by its Mariner East 2 project, which involves laying a pair of pipelines across the southern part of the state to ferry natural gas liquids from Ohio to refineries and export terminals near Philadelphia. The effort has yielded dozens of environmental violations, drilling mud spills into creeks and streams, and a series of construction stops ordered by regulators that have delayed the pipelines’ in-service dates.”
The War on the Wild: Alaska at the Forefront
21 September 2017
Posted by: Mary Price |
The administration’s war on the wild zeroes in on Alaska
There has been a steady drumbeat from the Trump administration and many like-minded members of Congress who are pushing to wring every last available resource out of America’s wildest frontier – Alaska.
This fervent pursuit of profits above all else on our public lands and waters has put our wildlife and wild places at greater risk than ever before. It is clear this administration has little regard for the health and future of wildlife and our natural heritage, and Alaska has become a favorite target in its war on the wild.
Selling Out Alaska
Just this past week, The Washington Post revealed that the Trump administration is secretly pushing oil and gas exploration in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The contentious battle to open the refuge to drilling has been raging for decades, but has gained renewed momentum from an administration eager to profit from every last drop of oil they can bleed from our public lands and waters. In this case, the Trump administration is even willing to illegally alter regulations that have prohibited oil and gas exploration in the refuge for more than 30 years.
The Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, home to some of America’s most iconic and imperiled species, including polar bears, caribou, and hundreds of migratory bird species that migrate from all 50 states and six continents. Drilling could forever destroy this delicate ecosystem. While full-blown oil development on the Coastal Plain still requires an act of Congress, the Trump administration’s effort to allow harmful exploratory activities in this wildlife haven is the first step to drilling. And Congress could get in on the action: the House FY2018 budget resolution currently under consideration is an opportunity for the legislative branch to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
The Trump administration’s unprecedented move against the Arctic Refuge should come as no surprise given the president’s directives targeting Alaska last spring. Specifically, the “America First Offshore Energy Strategy” would rewrite the country’s five-year development plan that guides the lease sales for oil and gas development in federal waters offshore. The current plan excludes lease sales in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Trump’s executive order would put those “off-limits” areas back on the auction block. In addition, it seeks to fast-track harmful seismic testing and roll back safeguards for marine wildlife like dolphins, porpoises, whales and other creatures who can suffer devastating impacts from seismic testing.
Rescinding the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule
Just months into the new administration, Congress and the president revoked the Obama-era Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule that prohibited extreme hunting practices on refuges in Alaska. The elimination of the regulation could allow the state of Alaska to pursue its unscientific predator control policy on these federal public lands that sanctions killing mother bears with cubs, killing wolves with pups during denning season, and baiting, snaring and scouting bears from the air for hunting.
Now Congress is taking aim at similar protections on National Park Service preserves in the state. The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, deceitfully dubbed the SHARE Act, is anything but generous to wildlife, as it threatens to allow the same objectionable practices on Alaska’s national preserves. Through the SHARE Act, the House is doubling down on this attack since, as part of the FY2018 Interior Appropriations bill, it passed a separate measure that does the same thing.
Clearcutting “America’s Rainforest”
Alaska is home to our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The vast Tongass National Forest spans 17 million acres and contains the largest remnants of intact old-growth forest habitat in North America. Sadly, it is still logged on an industrial scale – in fact, it is the last forest in the country where old-growth clearcutting is allowed.
In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service made plans to transition away from this outdated practice, but the new administration is putting that progress in reverse.
Now the Forest Service, operating under the Trump administration, is proposing to log an estimated 200-million board feet of old-growth forest on the Tongass over the next decade, in what would be the largest sell-off of old-growth forest the U.S. has experienced in decades. This colossal forest liquidation would destroy thousands of acres of high-quality wildlife habitat, threaten the persistence of Alexander Archipelago wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, and northern goshawks, and potentially spell disaster for countless other species dependent on these unique and irreplaceable old-growth forests.
Bulldozing Wilderness in Izembek
For years, there has been spurious debate over proposals to build a road through wilderness wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, bisecting the refuge and destroying essential wildlife habitat. The dispute has now resurfaced with new potency.
The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, which was recently passed in the House and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate, would trade away globally important habitat in the heart of the Izembek Refuge to allow construction of this destructive and unnecessary road.
If enacted, the bill would irreparably damage an internationally recognized conservation area, threaten the survival of imperiled species, like the Steller’s eider, and set a precedent that would undermine our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and jeopardize the integrity of wildlife refuges and wilderness protections on public lands across the country.
The proposed road would cost taxpayers tens of millions of additional dollars to solve a “problem” that the federal government previously addressed with a more effective, less destructive, transportation solution.
Mining for Trouble in Bristol Bay
Every year, tens of millions of wild salmon return to the Bristol Bay, Alaska, where they join an incredible diversity of wildlife ranging from Pacific walrus and beluga whales to brown bears. Despite the incalculable value of these species and the clear, clean water of the bay, or the very tangible value of these resources to the regional recreation and tourism economies, this administration is threatening to jeopardize it all to allow the permitting process to proceed for a Canadian company to open a massive gold and copper mine. This decision overturns a robust, public Obama-era review that declined issuing a permit to the company.
Mining in the bay’s watershed would require massive earthen dam construction, development of a 100-mile road through important salmon habitat, and diversion of nearly 35 billion gallons of water a year from salmon streams and rivers. These activities will expose all manner of species to habitat loss, increased vehicular and vessel traffic in Cook Inlet, which could impact endangered Cook Inlet belugas, and the potential for the mine’s massive earthen wall to collapse that would forever ruin this vital ecosystem.
Tribulations for Teshekpuk Lake
The area around Teshekpuk Lake in Alaska is incredibly important for wildlife – polar bears make their dens there, migratory birds spend their summers along the shoreline and tens of thousands of caribou call it home.
Teshekpuk Lake is located inside the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA) – an Indiana-sized expanse covering much of the western Arctic. Despite its name, the NPRA is required to be managed both for conservation of its remarkable wildlife values and oil and gas development. In 2013, after a lengthy robust planning process involving numerous local, regional and national stakeholders, the Bureau of Land Management finalized a management plan that allows oil and gas development on over 11 million acres in the area, but protects the important habitat around Teshekpuk Lake by designating it “unavailable for leasing.”
Unfortunately, this successful resource management plan could be short-lived. In May, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an order requiring a review of the Obama administration’s plan for managing this area, but rather than holding a transparent and public process, and expedite the opening of Teshekpuk Lake up for exploitation by oil and gas interests.
Fighting for “The Last Frontier”
The Trump administration and some in Congress have a keen interest in Alaska, so do we – but for very different reasons. We and most Americans, want to enjoy and preserve Alaska’s wildlife, lands and waters, while current leadership is driven by greed, unfazed by what they could ruin in pursuit of their objectives.
Help us fight back against this administration’s relentless attacks against our wildlife and wild places.
Mary Price, Digital Copywriter
Categories: Alaska, Alaska, Arctic, Arctic, Arctic drilling, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, bears, imperiled wildlife, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Public Lands, Trump administration, Wildlife, wolves
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©2017 Defenders of Wildlife
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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On this Page
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
Trump Jr. wants his dad to put him in charge of federal parks and lands
By Katie Herzog on May 18, 2016
Donald Trump is butting heads with the GOP establishment over the issue of federal lands. Republican orthodoxy calls for handing them over to the states. But when asked about the issue in January, Trump said, “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.”
Turns out there’s one very specific reason Trump wants to keep the lands great: because his sons like to kill animals on them — his eldest son in particular.
Donald Trump Jr., a hunter of big game as well as smaller defenseless animals, recently shared his own views on public lands with The New Yorker. “I’m in the fortunate position to be able to buy some land on my own, but not everyone has that ability,” Jr. said. “As it stands, if the states get the lands back, they could remain public or they could be sold off. So, say you have a ten-thousand-acre area. Well, a state could turn that into fifty golf courses that would be private and exclusive.”
While this may not bring in votes from the golf club contingent, Jr. has been actively hunting the sportsman vote, as E&E Daily reports. He invited reporters along on a pheasant hunting trip in January, and has given exclusive interviews to Field & Stream, Bowhunter Magazine, and Deer & Deer Hunting. His father was the only presidential candidate to speak at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s annual trade show in Las Vegas.
Big ambition runs in the family: Trump Jr. told the magazine Petersen’s Hunting that he would like to be secretary of the interior in his father’s administration. He is, to be sure, completely unqualified, but that’s never stopped a Trump before. “Between my brother and myself, no one understands the issues better than us,” Jr. told Petersen’s. “No one in politics lives the lifestyle more than us.” No one.
Big egos, it seems, run in the family as well.
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The scheduled mass execution of 900 wild bison at Yellowstone National Park is planning to bar access to the public and the media. Demand the National Park Service make the event available to everyone, so that this tragedy can be documented and publicized.
It’s time to end the capture and terrorizing of wild horses and burros on our nation’s public lands. These animals are legally entitled to roam and deserve to live free. Speak up now to protect these beautiful and majestic icons of the American West.
Source: THE DAILY PITCHFORK
Report analyzes taxpayer bailout of U.S. public lands ranching [Part II of a series on ranchers]
by Vickery Eckhoff
Five hundred million dollars. That’s what 21,000 ranchers who graze their livestock on America’s iconic western rangelands are estimated to have cost US taxpayers in 2014 — and every year for the past decade. This averages out to an annual taxpayer subsidy of $23,809 per rancher — approximately a quarter of a million dollars each since 2005. So why does this small subset, representing just 2.7% of US livestock producers, protest the “welfare rancher” label?
The public lands grazing program is welfare.
That $23,809 — and it’s a lowball figure — is a form of…
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Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
You’re busy, I know. You’re busy working and playing and doing a million crazy, diverse things that Americans do in our big, crazy, diverse country. That’s just who we are, and that’s what makes us awesome.
But right now, I’m going to cherry-pick a few things we share. We’re nuts about wildlife–amiright?!? In 2011, a whopping 71.8 million of us–that was 30% of the U.S. adult population–identified as dedicated wildlife watchers in a once-every-five-years national Census survey. We spent a bundle–$54.9 billion–on wildlife watching that year.
According to the same report, 12.3 million of us visited parks and other natural areas to view wildlife (pg. 36). And in 2012, a National Parks Conservation Association poll found that “95 percent of voters see protecting and supporting the National Parks as an appropriate role for the federal government.” In one survey question, protecting…
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Have you ever walked into a movie that is more than half way through and got drawn in by the characters but really don’t know what is happening? You kinda know who you are rooting for but don’t know all the context.
Right now we are getting questions in our inbox from seasoned wild horse advocates on the Nevada situation, so don’t think you are alone. The audience for our website is varied. So to “keep it simple,” we are going to stick with the movie analogy. At WHE it is our goal to try to keep you informed so that at crucial junctures you can inform others and take appropriate actions. Sometimes what we write becomes a literal novel when you piece it together and people do not have time in their lives to read all the previous chapters.
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