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Anti-Environmental Riders in H.R. 1

David Goldston

Posted March 7, 2011

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As I mentioned last week in my blog Uneasy Riders, one of the most destructive aspects of the House spending bill for the rest of this year (H.R. 1) is that it contains 19 anti-environmental riders.   The Senate is scheduled to  vote on the bill tomorrow, March 8.  The list of anti-environmental riders compiled by NRDC is here.  Note, these riders do not change the amount of federal spending by one cent; they just block public protections that are otherwise required by law.


Anti-Environmental Riders in H.R. 1

Air/ Climate

Section 1746 would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, implementing or enforcing any regulations on stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions because of concerns about climate change.

An amendment offered by Rep. Carter (R-TX), and passed 250-177, would prevent EPA from limiting toxic emissions from cement plants. The amendment would block the EPA's efforts to keep 16,000 pounds of mercury a year out of the air.

An amendment offered by Rep. Noem (R-SD), and passed 255-168, would block EPA from updating limits on the emission of particulates -- basically, soot .

An amendment offered by Rep. Poe (R-TX), and passed 249-177, would block EPA from limiting emissions of greenhouse gases from any stationary source for any reason.

An amendment offered by Rep. Young (R-AK), and passed 243-185, would block EPA from fully applying the Clean Air Act to oil drilling activities in Alaska. The EPA's Environmental Appeals Board recently ruled that a permit issued for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic did not comply with the Clean Air Act.  This amendment would prevent the Board from taking any similar actions for the rest of the fiscal year.



Section 1475(a) would block implementation of protections under the Endangered Species Act for imperiled fish in the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem, including winter run Chinook salmon, spring run Chinook salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon and delta smelt.  This measure is designed to increase the delivery of water subsidized by federal taxpayers, at the expense of California cities, other farmers, the health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta, and especially the California salmon fishing industry.

Section 1475(b) would block the restoration of California’s San Joaquin River.  This restoration agreement was supported by environmentalists, fishermen, farmers, urban water agencies, the Bush Administration, California’s Republican governor and even former Congressman Richard Pombo.  This rider would degrade water quality for millions of California residents and farmers, damage salmon restoration efforts, and reduce water supplies. 

Section 1747 would halt EPA’s ongoing work to clarify which waters remain protected by the Clean Water Act in the wake of confusing court decisions.  EPA estimates that roughly 117 million Americans get at least some drinking water from systems that rely on headwaters and other critical streams for all or part of their supply.  Many of those streams are at risk of being denied Clean Water Act protections today.  

An amendment offered by Rep. Griffith (R-VA), and passed 235-185, would block EPA and other agencies from conducting meaningful oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining operations.

An amendment offered by Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), and passed 230-195, would block EPA from implementing a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

An amendment offered by Rep. Johnson (R-OH), and passed 239-186, would block the Department of the Interior from issuing new regulations to limit stream damage from surface coal mining.

An amendment offered by Rep. Jones (R-NC), and passed 259 – 159, would prohibit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from developing or approving new catch share programs to limit overfishing.  

An amendment offered by Rep. McKinley (R-WV), and passed 240-182 , would effectively strip EPA of its authority under the Clean Water Act to prohibit or restrict certain discharges that would have an “unacceptable adverse effect” on water, fish or wildlife. 

An amendment offered by Rep. McKinley (R-WV), and passed 239-183, would prevent EPA from establishing minimum standards for the disposal and handling of coal ash as a hazardous waste.  Coal ash is a well-documented threat to human health and the environment, and due to largely unregulated dumping, poses a threat to our waterways and drinking water.

An amendment offered by Rep. Rooney (R-FL), and passed 237-189, would block a plan to clean up waterways in Florida.


Wildlife/ Lands

Section 1713 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to reinstate a 2009 rule delisting wolves under the Endangered Species Act within portions of the northern Rockies within 60 days of the bill’s enactment and insulates the action from judicial review.  This provision would overturn a federal court decision and establish a dangerous precedent of legislatively delisting a species.  

Section 1778 would block the reinstatement of a policy that allows the Department of the Interior to protect the wilderness qualities of lands pending a Congressional wilderness designation.

An amendment offered by Rep. Herger (R-CA), and passed 227 - 197, would stop implementation of the Forest Service’s Travel Management Rule, to develop a more efficient, more manageable system of roads through our national forests.

Environmental Justice

An amendment offered by Rep. Lummis (R- WY), and passed 232- 197, would make it harder to sue the government to enforce environmental laws. The amendment would block the government from paying the legal fees of individuals or citizen groups that successfully sue it. Since the amendment does not change the underlying law, it basically would require the government to default on its obligation to pay the fees.

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benMar 8 2011 12:45 AM

The amendment to stop catch shares should be supported by NRDC. Catch share systems are being designed by the Obama administration to put fishermen out of work and enrich Walmart and the Wall St speculators that fund the EDF.
NRDC should know better than to list this amendment. Catch shares are being designed to be the anthesis of conservation.

An amendment offered by Rep. Jones (R-NC), and passed 259 – 159, would prohibit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from privatizing access to US public trust fish resources for the benefit of speculators and the food sector monopolists.

mattMar 29 2011 07:01 PM

As much as I love the environment, the US just does not have the money to invest in these sorts of things right now. Most of these would make us spend the money we don't have. What would be ideal is if these restrictions here were temporary and would expire at a point when the US more financially stable. We have to watch out for ourselves first.

PanchovillaApr 7 2011 12:23 PM

Why is it all you people can't make the connection...

We can't hurt this planet, this planet is beyond our ability to hurt...

But you know what we can do?

We can destroy our ability to live on this planet, which we are doing at a break-neck pace now.

Sure save a little money, save a lot of money whatever.
If we don't have a -place to live who gives a fat rats ass?

richrathApr 7 2011 01:15 PM

These measures aren't reducing government expenditures at all. It's not about saving $$, these amendments are all about preventing the EPA from enforcing laws/regulations with money already appropriated for those purposes.

It's ideology, not fiscal restraint.

Lady CoolApr 8 2011 09:26 AM

They are trying to legislate via budget powers. It's called blackmail, bullying, harassment... They are short-circuiting their own legislative powers / responsibilities and creating a very dangerous precedent.

Dave RohbockApr 8 2011 10:50 AM

This whole budget fight is a farce. The Democrats should have stopped the giveaway of free money to oil corporations and agribusiness. Then they should have taken a chunk out of the Defense budget.(tell me there isn't a lot of waste there!) Tell the Republicans that we will cut 150 billion and not touch the dicretionary funds. Let them turn that down and see how that plays with the general public. It's not about the money!!!

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