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House Interior-Environment items to watch

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Jul 13, 2023
Environmental Protection Agency sign

Photo: Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The House's Interior-Environment funding bill is out, and it's chock-full of policy riders worth watching.

Why it matters: As we learned in the debt deal, partisan riders can be in play when Congress and Biden are faced with thin margins and the threat of a crisis in governing.

Driving the news: The bill would reduce spending by 35% from the fiscal 2023 appropriations for the Interior-Environment title, including a $3.96 billion cut to the EPA, according to a committee fact sheet.

  • It would also curb regulatory powers, like the WOTUS rule, ban EPA's social cost of carbon from being used in cost-benefit reviews, and restrict the agency's ability to control air emissions from power plants and agricultural facilities.
  • For Interior, the bill would limit the government's ability to implement mineral withdrawals on sought-after mineral deposits in Minnesota and Nevada, and go after sage grouse protections.
  • There's also language mandating oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Of note: The bill includes language that the mining industry deeply desires clarifying in statute that "ancillary mining activities ... are permitted with or without the discovery of a valuable mineral deposit."

  • Its effect would mirror a bill introduced by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto that offered a fix to a court ruling challenging how mine developers locate mills and waste sites under the 1872 mining law.

What they're saying: "Despite cuts in the deal on the debt limit earlier this year, extreme MAGA Republicans are showing they will never be satisfied," said the League of Conservation Voters' David Shadburn.

  • "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."
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