The Republican-led House Appropriation Committee on Monday approved an annual spending bill for fiscal year 2012 that would cut funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to $7.1 billion—18% less than requested. The bill would also suspend existing federal rules that limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources, prohibit the agency from issuing any rules limiting GHG emissions from stationary sources, and from issuing permits containing provisions to limit GHGs emissions from stationary sources during the next fiscal year.

The FY12 Interior and Environment Appropriations Act, introduced by Republicans and spearheaded by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), passed on a 28–18 vote. The measure would also void previously issued permits with respect to GHG conditions and halt GHG-related tort actions in courts. It now goes to the full House of Representatives.

“Earlier this year I said that the scariest agency in the federal government is the EPA,” Simpson, who chairs the Interior and Environment Subcommittee, said in a statement.  “The EPA’s unrestrained effort to regulate greenhouse gases and the pursuit of an overly aggressive regulatory agenda are signs of an agency that has lost its bearings.  Wherever I go, the biggest complaint I hear about the federal government is how the EPA is creating economic uncertainty and killing jobs.” 

Along with instituting a one-year prohibition on the regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources, the bill could prevent the EPA from implementing rules that identify coal ash as a hazardous waste. Amendments adopted during the committee markup would also prohibit the EPA from implementing proposed rules affecting the power sector, including Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards, and the recently finalized transport rule (see the top story in this issue).

“This legislation should be called the ‘Pro-Pollution Omnibus Bill,’ particularly given the 25 policy riders it includes, which read like a wish list for industries looking to ignore the Clean Air and Water Acts,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said in a statement. The congressman added that the bill could be construed as a “poorly crafted, negligently funded, pre-meditated attack on the health of our people and the environment.”

Sources: POWERnews, Interior and Environment Subcommittee, Rep. Jim Moran