Almost 100 Groups Send Letter to House Opposing Interior-Environment Spending Bill

In a Tuesday letter, more than 95 groups including Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and Greenpeace USA urged House leaders on both sides of the aisle to vote against the House’s Interior Department-Environmental Protection Agency appropriations bill.

The letter, addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said the groups opposed the measure because of budget cuts to environmental projects and anti-environment policy riders. The groups pointed out four provisions currently within the bill that they would like to see dropped, including a measure the groups say would require re-evaluation of the social cost of carbon before issuing a stay of its implementation. Another provision would block funding for the Bureau of Land Management’s new rule on the venting and flaring of natural gas from oil and gas operations on public lands.

“These provisions have no place in this or any other spending legislation,” groups wrote. “Limiting and ultimately ending new fossil fuel leasing and extraction on public lands is a crucial step towards solving the climate crisis and demonstrating U.S. climate leadership. The administrative steps taken towards this crucial goal must not become a casualty of our increasingly dysfunctional budget politics.”

On Tuesday, the White House issued a veto threat of the measure, citing similar concerns.

“The bill underfunds core Department of the Interior programs as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s operating budget, which supports nationwide protection of human health, and vital air, water and land resources,” the White House wrote in a Statement of Administration Policy. “The funding levels in the bill would significantly hamper investments that reduce future costs to taxpayers by facilitating increased energy development, ensuring adequate levels of cybersecurity, and maintaining operations, facilities and infrastructure in national parks, refuges, forests, public lands, and Indian Country.”

“Furthermore, the legislation includes numerous highly unacceptable provisions that have no place in funding legislation. These provisions threaten to undermine the most basic protections for America’s unique natural treasures and the people and wildlife that rely on them, as well as the ability of States and communities to address climate change and protect a resource that is essential to America’s health—clean water,” the statement continued.