ICYMI: Stakeholders and Organizations Express Concerns with House Republicans’ Anti-Environment, Pro-Pollution Funding Bill

July 19, 2023
Press Release

WASHINGTON — House Republicans' fiscal year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, currently being considered before the full House Appropriations Committee, takes an aggressive anti-environment pro-pollution stance with a crippling 39 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and policy provisions that will endanger public health, strain the economy, and increase costs.

Stakeholders and organizations have expressed their concerns with the House Republicans’ funding plans. A selection of those concerns is included below.

50 organizations sent the following letter (excerpt):

Letter to the House Appropriations Committee from 50 Organizations Led by the League of Conservation Voters and Trust for Public Land

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, the 50 undersigned groups urge you to oppose the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bill during the full committee markup this week. In the middle of a summer full of record heat waves, horrific flooding, and wildfire smoke that is blanketing much of the nation, this bill would gut the agencies charged with protecting our environment and our health and would massively undermine last year’s historic climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act. It would also introduce an onslaught of extreme anti-environmental policy mandates that have no place in the appropriations process. This attack on our health, lands, wildlife, biodiversity, air, water, oceans, and communities is unacceptable and must be rejected…

“It rescinds funding for critical Inflation Reduction Act programs like the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Poison-pill policy riders would doom imperiled species to extinction and mandate fossil fuel lease sales in a bill that is supposed to fund environmental protection. This legislation is as outlandish as it is dangerous for our environment, and must be rejected by the Committee.

“By reneging on the bipartisan agreement, we fear the Committee is setting Congress on a path to a harmful and completely avoidable government shutdown.”

The National Parks Conservation Association released the following statement:

National Parks Conservation Association President and CEO Theresa Pierno

The House Interior Appropriations budget is reckless and should be a nonstarter for anyone who cares about our national parks and public lands.

“Despite their overwhelming popularity, our national parks have been underfunded and understaffed for decades. Parks have already cut thousands of staff, stopped educational programs for visitors, and delayed critically needed preservation work. But rather than address these problems, Congress is now calling for massive cuts that will only further set back our national parks.

As millions of families set out on their summer trips to our beloved national parks, this damaging bill sends a clear message that taking care of our parks and making sure they are well-staffed for visitors is not a priority.

“Congress should uphold the agreed upon budget deal and reject any cuts that would jeopardize the future of our most treasured places.”

The Trust for Public Land released the following statement:

Trust for Public Land Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Bill Lee

“The cuts to the EPA, and specifically to the Environmental and Climate Justice Grants, are dangerous. We’ve just lived through the hottest month in the history of the planet. Low-income and historically disadvantaged communities are hit first and worst by deadly heat waves and extreme flooding, yet the House’s cuts target the program that is critical to improving the climate resilience of those same neighborhoods. We cannot afford to backtrack on the commitments made in the Inflation Reduction Act and Trust for Public Land looks forward to working with the Senate to reverse the House’s drastic cuts.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council wrote the following (excerpt) and issued the below statement:

Natural Resources Defense Council

“In their latest legislative attack on our climate, the Republican majority in the House has written a bill that is so detrimental to our environment and communities, it may rank as the worst appropriations bill in decades. 

“For both our shared public lands and oceans, the bill carves out giveaways for the fossil fuel industry that go against not only our climate goals but also common sense. Instead of recognizing that federally managed lands and oceans host a myriad of uses and industries and contribute in countless ways to the national economy, the House majority seems to view them as having one purpose: unabated production of oil, gas, and coal.

“At a time when we need to act swiftly on climate, these congressional proposals to write fossil fuel interests into law undermine the progress we need to make to tackle the climate crisis. To say these provisions would have devasting impacts to both climate and communities would be an understatement. This effort by the Republican House majority is a slap in the face to the millions of Americans suffering through weeks long heat waves and devastating floods and who are looking to Congress for solutions to meet this historic and challenging moment.”

Natural Resources Defense Council Kyle Jones, Director of Federal Affairs

This is an historically bad bill – the worst of its kind we’ve ever seen – that reads like a ‘how-to’ manual for destroying the planet

“While Americans take refuge from record-setting extreme heat and suffer from wildfire smoke, the House majority proposes slashing environmental funding to the lowest level in 30 years. This bill would gut support for President Biden’s historic climate law, double down on dirty fossil fuels, and slash funding for safe drinking water while unfairly limiting access to those critical funds. It would doom a number of species to extinction and much, much more. 

“This is a non-starter, based on galling scientific ignorance and reactionary politics. Even the lead appropriator in favor said, ‘If you’re looking for a pretty bill, this is not it.’ He should win understatement of the year, and his bill should be sent back to the drawing board.”

The Defenders of Wildlife released the following statement:

Defenders of Wildlife Vice President of Government Relations Robert Dewey

“Attacks by anti-wildlife members of Congress on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have been especially brutal and can only be likened to a double barrel shotgun assault on the wildlife and wild places we hold dear. These members of Congress are out of line, and using their political might to overturn and destroy policies and laws that are founded on decades of science and rigorous study.”

The Environmental Defense Fund released the following statement:

Environmental Defense Fund Senior Vice President Elizabeth Gore

“The extreme Republican appropriations bill is threatening Americans’ health and well-being by proposing unprecedented cuts to critical clean energy programs. These cuts to popular public health and clean energy programs undermine important protections.”

The League of Conservation Voters released the following statement:

League of Conservation Voters Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn

“As extreme heat, wildfires, flooding and other effects of the climate crisis threaten people across the country and the world, MAGA Republicans in the House are responding by burning down the firehouse.

“There are too many terrible provisions to mention them all, but lowlights include: cutting EPA funding to the lowest levels in more than 30 years; explicitly cutting programs meant to address environmental racism; restricting agencies with MAGA racist and homophobic ideology; slashing clean air protections; mandating dirty energy lease sales; cutting clean water and environmental clean-up programs; and dooming critical species like the gray wolf and sage grouse to extinction. And just like everything else this narrow House majority has done, it once again targets popular elements of the administration’s affordable clean energy plan – this time with more than $9 billion in cuts, including to the critical Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

“Despite cuts in the deal on the debt limit earlier this year, extreme MAGA Republicans are showing they will never be satisfied. Congress should be treating Speaker McCarthy’s own spending deal as the floor instead of seeking even more harmful cuts that will have real world impacts. Immediately reneging on their own deal is a one-way ticket to a completely avoidable MAGA government shutdown.”

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118th Congress