Congress

Jun 092015
 

WOTUS rule also targeted

The House Appropriations Committee's proposed spending bill for the Department of the Interior would remove gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes from the list of threatened and endangered species.

The bill also would delay for a year any decision on listing of the greater sage-grouse by prohibiting the spending of any money on a proposal for the bird. Presumably, however, the Fish and Wildlife Service could continue to work on the matter.

The committee issued a press release this morning. The full text of the bill is here.

The Center for Biological Diversity was quick to criticize the bill. Brett Hartl, CBD's endangered species policy director, called it "another cynical attack on science and the Endangered Species Act that will result in wolves being mindlessly slaughtered in the few places where they have begun to recover."

Here is the text of some riders in the bill:

SAGE-GROUSE

SEC. 117. None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used by the Secretary of the Interior to write or issue pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533)—

(1) a proposed rule for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus);

(2) a proposed rule for the Columbia basin distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse.

IVORY

SEC. 120. None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to draft, prepare, implement, or enforce any new or revised regulation or order that—

(1) prohibits or restricts, within the United States, the possession, sale, delivery, receipt, shipment, or transportation of ivory that has been lawfully imported into the United States;

(2) changes any means of determining, including any applicable presumptions concerning, when ivory has been lawfully imported; or

(3) prohibits or restricts the importation of ivory that was lawfully importable into the United States as of February 1, 2014.

REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULES [GRAY WOLF]

SEC. 121. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666 et seq.) and the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530 et seq.), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rules. Such reissuances (including this section) shall not be subject to judicial review.

NORTHERN LONG-EARED BAT

SEC. 122. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall amend the interim rule pertaining to the northern long-eared bat published by the Department of the Interior in the Federal Register on April 2, 2015 (80 Fed. Reg. 17974 et seq.), only in such a way that—

(1) take incidental to any activity conducted in accordance with the habitat conservation measures identified at pages 18024 to 18205 of volume 80 of the Federal Register (April 2, 2015), as applicable, is not prohibited; and

(2) the public comment period for such interim rule is reopened for not less than 90 days.

WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES

SEC. 422. None of the funds made available in this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be used 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 said jurisdiction, and the guidance documents dated January 15, 2003, and December 2, 2008, relating to said jurisdiction.

STREAM BUFFER

SEC. 423. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to develop, carry out, or implement

(1) any guidance, policy, or directive to reinterpret or change the historic interpretation of 30 C.F.R. 816.57, which was promulgated on June 30, 1983 by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior (48 Fed. Reg. 30312); or (2) proposed regulations or supporting materials described in the Federal Register notice published on June 18, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 34667) by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior.

LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR NATIONAL OCEAN POLICY

SEC. 425. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to further implementation of the coastal and marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management components of the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547.

DEFINITION OF FILL MATERIAL

SEC. 429. None of the funds made available in this Act or any other Act may be used by the Environmental Protection Agency 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.).

CHESAPEAKE BAY INITIATIVE

SEC. 431. Section 502(c) of the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–312; 16 U.S.C. 461 note) is amended by striking ‘‘2015’’ and inserting ‘‘2017.’’

EXTENSION OF GRAZING PERMITS

SEC. 432. The terms and conditions of section 325 of Public Law 108–108 (117 Stat. 1307), regarding grazing permits issued by the Forest Service on any lands not subject to administration under section 402 of the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1752), shall remain in effect for fiscal year 2016.

AVAILABILITY OF VACANT GRAZING ALLOTMENTS

SEC. 433. The Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to the National Forest System lands, shall make vacant grazing allotments available to a holder of a grazing permit or lease issued by either Secretary if the lands covered by the permit or lease or other grazing lands used by the holder of the permit or lease are unusable because of drought or wildfire, as determined by the Secretary concerned. The terms and conditions contained in a permit or lease made available pursuant to this section shall be the same as the terms and conditions of the most recent permit or lease that was applicable to the vacant grazing allotment made available. Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332) shall not apply with respect to any Federal agency action under this section.

PROTECTION OF WATER RIGHTS

SEC. 434. None of the funds made available in this or any other Act may be used to condition the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement on the transfer of any water right, including sole and joint ownership, directly to the United States, or any impairment of title, in whole or in part, granted or otherwise recognized under State law, by Federal or State adjudication, decree, or other judgment, or pursuant to any interstate water compact. Additionally, none of the funds made available in this or any other Act may be used to require any water user to apply for or acquire a water right in the name of the United States under State law as a condition of the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement.

May 222015
 

The Gray Lady, as she is sometimes known, has an article today predicting an announcement of the controversial "waters of the U.S." rule from the Obama Administration "in the coming days."

Coral Davenport of the Times reports that the announcement could come as soon as today or early next week.

EPA spokesman Robert Daguillard would say only that the rule will be published this spring. As of today, that gives EPA (and its less-visible partner in the effort, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) another month.

The rule has been under review at the Office of Management and Budget since April.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill lawmakers have been moving to block the rule's implementation or, at the least, substantially change it. A Senate hearing was held Tuesday on S. 1140, which attempts to define the limits of federal jurisdiction. The House of Representatives, meanwhile, has already passed a bill requiring EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their proposal.

The Senate bill has 30 co-sponsors. The House bill cleared the chamber with a 261-155 vote -- 29 votes shy of the number needed to override a presidential veto. For those in need of a civics lesson, that number is two-thirds of each chamber: 290 in the House, 67 in the Senate.

The Times article contained a curious word choice, reporting that "the rule will also limit pollution in groundwater and other sources of drinking water. Polluted groundwater is now chemically treated before being used as drinking water."

While the rule may very well result in a reduction of pollutants seeping into groundwater, it will not set any limits on the amount of chemicals of any kind in groundwater.

Said Daguillard: "The Clean Water Rule (and Clean Water Act) do not regulate groundwater."

Docket for the rule

 

 

May 182015
 

Filing a listing petition would not be as easy as it traditionally has been, under a new proposal  announced today by the Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries services. In a move that could be interpreted as a response to congressional criticism that the FWS gives state input short shrift, FWS is proposing that […]

May 062015
 

Hearing, live (from Senate EPW page) Link to EPW page on hearing Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also has introduced a bill, S. 1081, to ban the use of body-gripping traps in national wildlife refuges. Center for Biological Diversity news release (click the links in the release for more information from THOMAS and the senators’ web […]

Mar 042015
 

Three House members have reintroduced a bill to prohibit EPA from retroactively revoking Clean Water Act Section 404 permits, as the agency did with the Spruce Mine in West Virginia. That decision was recently upheld by federal courts in Washington, D.C. The bill, H.R. 1203, was introduced by three Republican congressmen from West Virginia — […]

Mar 042015
 

Go here to watch the hearing Murkowski on relocation of community in Alaska — Kivalina (WaPo coverage) costs in hundreds of millions We know that Kivalina is just one of many We need a full-on action plan, because it’s not just Kivalina we’re talking about. on to Shell and Chukchi… SJ: We are actively working […]

Feb 262015
 

Rep. Ken Calvert, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior and Environment subcommittee, delivers his opening statement at the hearing on the president’s proposed Interior FY 2016 budget. Go to minute 3:00 for his views on the ESA.

Feb 122015
 

Two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives to remove endangered species protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. They were immediately criticized by environmental groups. See below for releases. Official text of the bills is not available yet, but should be soon (see below for “informal” copy of one […]

Lineup set for Feb. 4 WOTUS hearing on Capitol Hill

 Clean Water Act, Congress, Corps, EPA, Wetlands  Comments Off on Lineup set for Feb. 4 WOTUS hearing on Capitol Hill
Feb 032015
 
Lineup set for Feb. 4 WOTUS hearing on Capitol Hill

The lineup is set for the hearing tomorrow on the EPA/Corps proposed rule to define “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The hearing is being held jointly by the Full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Witnesses representing state attorneys general, state departments […]

Jan 292015
 
House bill would prevent proposed "waters" rule from becoming law

An Arizona congressman was joined by more than 100 House members in introducing a bill that would prevent EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from “developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing” the proposed rule defining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Echoing a theme that has been sounded […]