The Obama administration issued a veto threat Tuesday in advance of an expected Thursday House vote on an appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and other related agencies. In a release announcing the veto threat, the administration detailed several ways appropriations measure would hurt some of the president’s efforts on climate change, including the proposed EPA rules to cut power plant emissions and rules to cut pollution from the electric power sector.
The bill would reduce EPA spending as a whole by about 13 percent from what was requested for the next fiscal year, and would also include curbs to funding for Native American educational and healthcare aid, a tracking system for hazardous waste and funding to engage in wildfire suppression programs to reduce fire risk in America’s national forests.
There are 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government, and the White House has issued issued veto threats for each as the House considered them. Democrats in the Senate, too, have promised to filibuster the appropriations bills until a compromise is worked out.
“Funding levels in the bill would prevent investments that reduce future costs to taxpayers by facilitating increased energy development and maintaining facilities and infrastructure in national parks, refuges, forests, public lands and Indian Country,” the veto threat statement reads.
A 13 percent reduction in EPA funding from what was requested would amount to a $474 million funding cut for the agency. That would include a cut of $7 million for a program called e-Manifest, which would track the transportation of hazardous waste electronically. It would also cut the budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for educational grants for Native American youth and would reduce the budget for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by $152 million, or 38 percent. The conservation fund is used to protect and conserve national federal lands like Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and parts of the Appalachian Trail.
Language in the appropriations bill, the release said, would curb the administration’s ability to, through the EPA, implement greenhouse gas reduction rules like those applying to power plants and electric utilities.
In the last year or so the Obama administration has used the EPA to implement measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The rules have been vocally protested by Republicans in Congress who question the fiscal responsibility and the effect on private business. The so-called power plant rules were released a year ago, and aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.