House Spending Bill Contains Huge Giveaways To Dirty Energy

House Spending Bill Contains Huge Giveaways To Dirty Energy
on

The House Appropriations Committee is currently debating a spending bill that would set America back decades when it comes to energy policy and environmental protection.  The 2015 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill will designate money to everything from nuclear waste cleanup to renewable energy investments, and the Appropriations Committee has made sure that neither of those particular items get the funding they need.

The bill, if passed by the full House, will cut $113 million from renewable energy projects, dropping the yearly total to $1.8 billion.  This comes only a year after the Treasury Department was forced to cut renewable energy grants by more than 8% following last year’s sequester cuts.  And while the current incarnation of the spending bill provides $150 million for nuclear waste disposal at the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site, it also presses the Obama administration to approve the project immediately.

While the bill itself is a slap in the face to renewable energy, the riders that some industry-funded politicians have added are a complete assault on environmental protections.

In order to combat what committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) calls the attempt to “legislate through regulation,” one rider would limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act, allowing the dirty energy industry to get away with even more environmental destruction. 

As described on the Appropriations Committee website:

The bill prohibits any changes to the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act.

The bill prohibits any changes to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

A second rider, which Chairman Rogers fought valiantly to add to the spending bill, would prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing new rules on the disposal of waste products from mountain top removal mining.  According to The Hill, Rogers contends that the Corps of Engineer’s rules “would shut down coal mines throughout the country.”

Chairman Rogers has his reasons for wanting to exempt the coal industry from any new health standards, but those reasons are incredibly selfish.  The mining industry is Rogers’ top campaign donor, lavishing him with more than $420,000 over the course of his career.

But Rogers isn’t playing favorites with the coal industry alone.  His budget includes giveaways for the entire dirty energy industry.  While he has no qualms about cutting renewable energy investment, he and his fellow Republicans actually increased the budget for fossil fuel research and development. 

Chairman Rogers claims that his committee’s $34 billion budget proposal prioritizes “programs with the highest national need.” 

But according to scientists, the Pentagon, and even some of the heaviest hitters in the corporate arena, addressing the dangers of climate change (and thereby reducing our dependence on fossil fuels) is one of the most important issues facing the country. 

House Spending Bill Contains Huge Giveaways To Dirty Energy

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

Related Posts

on

Even the best-performing retailer, Co-op, nevertheless only scored 45 percent in the analysis.

Even the best-performing retailer, Co-op, nevertheless only scored 45 percent in the analysis.
on

Dozens of events on four continents hope to turn up the pressure on the insurance industry that underwrites Canada’s Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

Dozens of events on four continents hope to turn up the pressure on the insurance industry that underwrites Canada’s Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.
on

Last week, the government said it would keep issuing new oil and gas exploration licences, contradicting recommendations from a recent high-profile report by the International Energy Agency.

Last week, the government said it would keep issuing new oil and gas exploration licences, contradicting recommendations from a recent high-profile report by the International Energy Agency.
on

The so-called "Green Nobel Prize" recognizes the environmental justice efforts of Lavigne in her quest to prevent further polluting industry from coming to her region of Louisiana.

The so-called "Green Nobel Prize" recognizes the environmental justice efforts of Lavigne in her quest to prevent further polluting industry from coming to her region of Louisiana.