Apr 152015
 

An EPA/Army Corps of Engineers rule defining "waters of the United States" would be delayed for a year under a spending bill released by House Republicans (text).

The bill is scheduled to be marked up Thursday, April 16, by the energy and water subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill also would prevent the Corps from making any changes to the EPA/Corps "fill" rule, which has been harshly criticized by environmental groups.

In addition, the House bill would allocate $200 million for the Corps' regulatory program, which has responsibility for implementing the Clean Water Act Section 404 program. That amount is $5 million less than the Obama Administration's budget request.

Here is the text from the bill:

SEC. 104. None of the funds made available in this or any other Act making appropriations for Energy and Water Development for any fiscal year may be used by the Corps of Engineers to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definitions of the terms ‘‘fill material’’ or ‘‘discharge of fill material’’ for the purposes of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

SEC. 105. None of the funds made available in this or any other Act making appropriations for Energy and Water Development for any fiscal year may be used by the Corps of Engineers to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations and guidance in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), including the provisions of the rules dated November 13, 1986, and August 25, 1993, relating to such jurisdiction, and the guidance documents dated January 15, 2003, and December 2, 2008, relating to such jurisdiction.

SEC. 106. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to require a permit for the discharge of dredged or fill material under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251, et seq.) for the activities identified in subparagraphs (A) and (C) of section 404(f)(1) of the Act (33 U.S.C. 1344(f)(1)(A), (C)).

Oregon to consider removing wolves from state endangered species list

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider taking gray wolves off the state endangered species list. Department of Fish and Wildlife will present its Biological Status Review at a public meeting Friday, April 24, in Bend. The report is available here (see Exhibit F).

"The Wolf Plan calls for initiating a process to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act when Oregon reaches the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon," the department said. "This objective was met in 2014. The Commission will use the Biological Status Review to evaluate whether to move forward with a delisting process."

Coverage at Oregon Public Broadcasting

BLM releases Bundy documents that shed little light on confrontation

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has gotten a response to its FOIA request on the Cliven Bundy confrontation. But there's not much there.

"Internal records released by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management concerning the armed stand-off with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy give little clue of what led up to the confrontation and even less of what changed as a result," PEER said this morning. "The records were given to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) as a result of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against BLM."

In a reply to PEER's FOIA request, Theresa Coleman, Chief of BLM’s Information Resources Management Division, said the agency had no records responsive to three of the five categories of materials sought by PEER:

  • What became of the hundreds of Bundy’s cattle collected by BLM before the round-up of trespassing cattle was called off;
  • Any requests for prosecution BLM made to the U.S. Department of Justice; and
  • Directives issued after April 1, 2014, within BLM concerning protocols or advisories for handling similar incidents of armed resistance or other livestock trespass situations.

“In the aftermath of this incident, BLM apparently did not analyze either its effects or what to do if it happened again,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said.

Ruch said PEER lawyers are trying to verify whether this is BLM’s final answer and there are not more documents that have yet to be released. “Despite operating in what is self-described as ‘the most transparent administration in history,’ this exercise has been as productive as squeezing blood from a turnip,” Ruch said.

More links are at the bottom of PEER's press release