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House Republican leaders are once again trying to load up critical legislation to fund the government with anti-environmental riders. Just like last year, they are trying to delay or repeal protections for air, water, health, lands and species by adding provisions to unrelated spending legislation. If their efforts succeed this year, they will reverse many years of environmental progress.

These provisions are called “riders” because they ride along on legislation that is entirely unrelated to the rider. The anti-environmental riders offered to the spending bill, for example, would not change federal spending by one cent. Riders are used to slip through legislation that would be difficult to pass on its own. Riders also result in the measures getting less scrutiny and in legislators avoiding responsibility for supporting them.

Fortunately, President Obama and Democratic leaders stood up to these efforts last year and as a result, the final version of the spending bill included very few riders, and most damaging riders were blocked. However, with big budgetary decisions on the horizon, we are once again seeing Tea Party-driven Republicans filling spending bills with riders. This battle will not be resolved until final spending decisions are made in late November.

The following posts describe where the riders battle currently stands:

You can read detailed blog posts about what was at stake on NRDC Switchboard.

Here's the list of riders the Republicans are trying to get into law for FY2013. Those in bold made it into the final spending bill last year.

Clean Air

A rider in the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriation (Sec. 552) offered by Rep. Flores (R-TX) would block any funds from being used to enforce section 526 of the Energy Independence Security Act, which prevents the government from purchasing alternative fuels that emit more carbon pollution than conventional fuels do. The same rider, also from Rep. Flores, also appears in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 527).

A provision in the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriation (Sec. 564) offered by Rep. Cravaak (R-MN) would eliminate funding for the Climate Change Education program of the National Science Foundation.

A provision in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 419) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would require the President to submit a report to the House and Senate appropriations committees on “all Federal agency funding, programs, projects and activities in fiscal year 2012” on climate change.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 420) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would prevent the EPA from limiting pollution from livestock production under the Clean Air Act.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 421) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would prevent the EPA from requiring the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 440) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would undermine the Emission Control Area, which will cut soot emissions (particulate matter) from ships by 85 percent by 2015, eliminating 14,000 premature deaths by 2020 and up to 31,000 premature deaths by 2030.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation offered by Rep. Lummis (R-WY) would block EPA from limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

Clean Energy

A provision in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 512) offered by Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) would prohibit the expenditure of any new funds for the Sec. 1705 loan guarantee program of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This loan program successfully helped capitalize many cutting edge companies but had expired.

A provision in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 520) offered by Rep. Jordan (R-OH) would prohibit the Department of Energy from issuing or administering new loan guarantees for renewable energy projects.

A provision in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 528) offered by Rep. Flake (R-AZ) would prohibit the Department of Energy from using funds for the Wind Powering America Initiative, which increases information-sharing in support of expanding domestic wind power.

Clean Water

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 422) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from limiting pollution from runoff from logging roads.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 434) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would permanently block EPA from clarifying which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. Blocking EPA would threaten those waters, many of which are sources of drinking water and help with flood control. Identical language appears in the Energy and Water appropriation (see next item), since EPA and the Army Corps jointly enforce aspects of the Clean Water Act.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 110) offered by Rep. Rehberg (R-MT) would block the Army Corps of Engineers from clarifying which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 435) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would block the Department of Interior (DOI) from enforcing safeguards designed to protect streams from pollution from surface coal mining.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 436) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would require a 90-day review by Congress before EPA could strengthen limitations on pollution from urban stormwater systems.

A rider in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 522) offered by Rep. Landry (R-LA) would prohibit the use of a more effective, consistent and transparent system to preserve wetlands in favor of a less effective system.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation offered by Rep. Lummis (R-WY) would stop EPA from requiring hard rock mining companies, not taxpayers, to pay for environmental cleanup at mining sites.

Energy Efficiency

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 307) offered by Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) would prevent the Department of Energy from providing full funding for the weatherization assistance program.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 517) offered by Rep. Burgess (R-TX) would block enforcement of the standard requiring light bulbs to be more efficient.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 311) offered by Rep. Alexander (R-LA) would prevent federal agencies from being required to reduce their fossil fuel use.

A rider in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 514) offered by Rep. Cravaack (R- MN) would prevent the Department of Energy from requiring grant recipients to upgrade their light bulbs to meet certain efficiency standards.

A provision in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 516) offered by Rep. Harris (R- MD) would prohibit funding for the Department of Energy's international renewable energy and energy efficiency program which works to build international partnerships for reducing energy use.

A provision in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 523) offered by Rep. Landry (R-LA) would prevent the Department of Energy from using media to promote alternative clean energy technologies as a way of reducing fossil fuel use.

A rider in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 525) offered by Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ) would prevent the Department of Energy from implementing or enforcing water use reduction standards on shower heads. Since enactment these and other water efficiency standards have saved huge amounts of energy and water and helped lower utility bills for consumers.

A rider in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 526) offered by Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE) would prevent the Department of Energy from issuing new energy efficiency standards for a certain class of battery chargers. Every year battery chargers waste the equivalent output of 6 medium-sized 500-MW power plants, producing unnecessary carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury and other harmful air pollutants.

Lands

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Page 15, lines 14-18) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would rescind the contract authority of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (16 USC 4601-10a).

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 112) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would permanently make it more difficult for citizens to challenge Bureau of Land Management land use decisions in the courts.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 113) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would exempt the trailing of livestock across public lands and the implementation of trailing practices by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It also precludes trailing decisions from be being protested by stakeholders (trailing is the practice of deliberately moving herds of sheep or cows across miles of federal lands).

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 114) offered by Rep. Simpson would block the Department of the Interior from protecting wilderness-quality lands.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 408) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would make it more difficult for courts to require the Forest Service to update its land use plans.

Two riders in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 518, Sec. 531) offered by Rep. Luetkemeyer (R- MO) would prevent work on comprehensive analyses that ensure better management of the different uses of the Missouri River based on the needs of the people and the environment.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 410) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would prohibit funds from being used for land acquisition without congressional approval, with the exception of Federal assistance to Florida for Everglades restoration.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 412) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would exempt the environmental review of grazing permits that are in violation of longstanding federal schedule that requires permits to be analyzed under NEPA. The continuing extension of these waivers imperils sensitive wildlife species and ecological resources that are in peril from livestock grazing operations that have never been analyzed for their potential environmental impacts.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 433) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would require the Forest Service to stop its development of Travel Management Plans in California until it considers opening trails to off-road vehicle use. The provision would also require more Forest Service roads to be open to off-road vehicles.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 437) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would limit Forest Service review and appeals processes.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 438) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would block any limits on the use or access to federal land for hunting, fishing, or recreational shooting if those activities were allowed as of January 1, 2012.

Nuclear Energy

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 508) offered by Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) would prevent the government from shutting down the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Oceans

A rider in the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriation (Sec. 553) offered by Rep. Flores (R-TX) would prevent implementation of the National Ocean Policy (NOP), a landmark policy designed to safeguard our oceans and coasts. A similar rider appears in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 439) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID). That rider also requires a report on all FY2011 and FY2012 spending on the NOP and requires the President's budget proposal for FY 2014 to identify all proposed funding for NOP.

A rider in the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriation (Sec. 543) offered by Rep. Southerland (R-FL) would prohibit funding for implementing catch share programs on eastern U.S. coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. When implemented properly catch shares are an important tool improve the environmental and economic health of the ocean.

Toxics

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Page 93*, lines 17-21) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would limit the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's ability to add new toxic substances to the list of waste materials considered hazardous.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation offered by Rep. LaTourette (R-OH) would block EPA from preventing pesticide companies from making unproven safety claims on product labels.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation offered by Rep. Rehberg (R-MT) would block the EPA from enforcing rules to limit exposure to lead paint.

Wildlife

A rider in the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriation (Sec. 562) offered by Rep. Landry (R-LA) would block NOAA from requiring Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in all shrimp nets to protect sea turtles, the majority of which are endangered or threatened.

A rider in the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriation (Sec. 559) offered by Rep. Denham (R-CA) would prohibit the reintroduction of California Central Valley Spring Run Chinook salmon.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 511) offered by Rep. Young (R-AK) would block the reintroduction of Chinook salmon into the San Joaquin river.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 117) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would require the Secretary of the Interior to complete the process of taking gray wolves in Wyoming off the endangered species list within 60 days of enactment of the bill.

For the 2011 anti-environmental budget riders, click here.

last revised 7/12/2012

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