Thursday, December 18, 2014

Policy Riders in Budget Bill Block Enviro Actions

A lot of 11th-hour mandates in the $1 Trillion Budget Bill will affect environmental policy. The EPA got its smallest budget since 1989 - $60 million less than last year's $8.1 Billion. The NIH kept its current budget and received increases in funds for Alzheimer’s and Ebola research. DARPA received a 3.4% increase. And NASA received $500 million more than it initially requested.

The Bill include policy riders that
1) The EPA cannot use funds to
    - Require farmers to report greenhouse gas emissions from “manure management systems,” although agriculture is a major source of atmospheric methane.
    - Regulate farm ponds and irrigation ditches under the Clean Water Act.
    - Require farmers to obtain permits for gas emissions from cow belches and farts, which the EPA says is a major source of methane.
2) Obama may not honor his pledge to give $3 billion to the UN Green Climate Fund.
3) USDA must speed up permits for companies developing GMOs, like disease-resistant rice and soybeans.
4) U.S.’s export credit agency must reverse a previous ban on building overseas coal-fired power plants and loan construction funds to companies.
5) DOE cannot develop and enforce new standards for more energy-efficient lightbulbs.
6) DOT cannot fund most of its current light-rail projects.​

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