Lummis tweaks Interior & Environment bills
by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis press release
July 12, 2011
On July 6, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) announced the inclusion of key language into the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which will amount to important victories for Wyoming. Lummis, a member of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, successfully included provisions that will immediately transfer the control of wolves to the State of Wyoming once the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Wyoming officials reach a successful conclusion in the ongoing wolf delisting negotiations. Importantly, the language will protect any agreement reached between the State of Wyoming and the DOI from judicial review. In addition, the legislation zeroes out funding for new listings for endangered species and critical habitat designations and includes an Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) tracking and reporting requirement.
"The best way to ensure the success of any negotiation is to back it up with the force of law. This language does exactly that. This provision is a crucial puzzle piece to the long-awaited conclusion of the delisting of the fully-recovered gray wolf. For more than eight years, wolves in Wyoming have met or exceeded the federal government’s recovery goals, and without proper management have thrived at the expense of Wyoming’s ranchers, farmers and big game herds."
"Returning transparency and oversight to EAJA is a victory to taxpayers, who have served as the financiers of anti-multiple-use groups’ radical agendas. Turning the original intent of EAJA on its head, these special interest groups turned a fair law into a cottage industry that funded its obstructionist agendas with hard working taxpayers’ dollars. This language restores integrity to EAJA and ends the endless litigious assaults on individuals, small businesses, energy producers, farmers and ranchers who must pay out of their own pocket to defend the federal government."
The 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.
Other Wyoming victories included in the legislation:
· Report language that clarifies appropriate winter uses in Wilderness Study Areas in Wyoming
· Report language indicating that the Committee prefers any transfer of land near the Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge in Southwest Wyoming should not take place without an open, public process, and that priority be given to the Bureau of Land Management
· Funding for the core mission of forest health within the Forest Service is protected. The bill redirects the Forest Service to a greater reliance on harvesting the nation’s timber, reducing hazardous fuels, and restoring forests ravaged by bark beetles
· Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Fish and Wildlife Service funding pushed below FY06
· EPA prohibited from designating coal ash as a hazardous waste
· EPA prohibited from implementing and enforcing green house gas regulations from stationary sources for one year
· EPA directed to defer action on plans to unnecessarily close coal-fired power plants in the West due to regional haze
· EPA is prohibited from expanding their authority to regulate waters of the United States under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
· EPA is prohibited from requiring duplicative and unnecessary permits for agriculture pesticides
· A freeze is placed on Forest Service actions regarding Big Horn sheep that had the great potential to harm Wyoming’s domestic sheep industry
· Grazing rights on public lands are protected, and granted relief from unnecessary government intrusion
· Language is included that requires those who object to Forest Service actions must exhaust all administrative appeals before judicial appeal is allowed
· Office of Surface Mining prohibited from implementing rules to unnecessarily hinder domestic coal production
The wolf language reads:
"Sec. 119. Hereafter, any final rule published by the Department of the Interior that provides that the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the State of Wyoming or in any of the States within the range of the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment of the gray wolf (as defined in the rule published on May 5, 2011 (76. Fed. Reg. 26086 et seq.)) is not an endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), including any rule to remove such species in such a State from the list of endangered species or threatened species published under that Act, shall not be subject to judicial review if such State has entered into an agreement with the Secretary of the Interior that authorizes the State to manage gray wolves in that State."
In total, the bill includes $27.5 billion in spending – a reduction of $2.1 billion below last year’s level and $3.8 billion below the President’s budget request. Overall, this funding level is $106 million below fiscal year 2009 spending levels.