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Like an unwanted sequel to a bad movie, House Republicans once again have spent this this year attempting to cram destructive, debilitating and even daft "riders" into must-pass bills needed to keep the government running. These riders would do astonishing harm to our health, wildlife, the environment and pursuit of clean energy -- if ever enacted into law.

For example, they would: Encourage the government to buy dirty fuels; block the nation from curbing climate change; increase exposure to lead paint; impede clean energy advances; deter deployment of solar panels; sideline energy-saving light bulbs; allow continued pollution of streams from coal mining and mountaintop removal; and even stop the Department of Defense -- one of America's biggest energy consumers -- from trimming its energy use. Worse, Republican leaders have learned little after forcing a government shutdown last fall that Standard & Poor's says cost the nation $24 billion. They are again threatening damage to America's families, communities, and economy as they strive to reverse many years of progress.

Learn about anti-environmental budget riders approved in the last fiscal year.

These provisions are called "riders" because they ride along on legislation that is entirely unrelated to the rider. Riders that are typically tacked onto a spending bill, for example, would not change federal spending by one cent. Instead, riders are used to sneak through legislative changes that would be difficult to pass on their own in open congressional debate. Riders often result in the measures getting less scrutiny and enable their sponsors to avoid responsibility for pushing them. And they can be harder to veto because of all the unrelated items surrounding them; in terms of strategy, it's the legislative equivalent of hiding terrorists in civilian neighborhoods.

These are the riders that have been added so far to the spending bills for fiscal year 2015, which begins Oct. 1:

Clean Air

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 511) offered by Rep. Lankford (R-OK) would block any consideration of the social cost of carbon. This would bar the government from assessing and weighing the costs of extreme weather or other climate impacts, and the benefits of any government actions to improve energy efficiency or clean up carbon pollution. A similar version was added to the committee report for the Energy and Water appropriation (pp.101-102) by Rep. Simpson (R-ID), and to the committee report for the Interior and Environment appropriation (p.65) by Rep. Calvert (R-CA).

A rider in the State and Foreign Operations appropriation (page 51) offered by Rep. Granger (R-TX) would block US participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A rider added to the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 531) by Rep. McKinley (R-WV) would also have this effect.

A rider in the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriation (Sec. 553) offered by Rep. Perry (R-PA) would block any implementation or consideration of the National Climate Assessment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, and the social cost of carbon. Similar amendments were also offered to the Defense appropriation (Sec. 10011) by Rep. McKinley (R-WV) and to the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 531) by Rep. McKinley (R-WV).

A rider in the State and Foreign Operations appropriation (Sec. 7071) offered by Rep. Granger (R-TX) would reverse the President's policy of not backing funding for most new overseas coal plants. A similar version of this was also added to the Financial Services and General Government appropriation (Sec. 129) by Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL).

A provision in the Financial Services and General Government appropriation (Sec. 621) offered by Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL) would prohibit paying a salary to the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

A rider in the Defense appropriation (Sec. 10009) offered by Rep. Flores (R-TX) would waive 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.

A provision in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 419) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would require the President to submit a report to the House and Senate appropriations committees on "all Federal agency funding, domestic and international, for... programs, projects and activities in fiscal year 2014 and 2015" on climate change.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 420) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently 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. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently prevent the EPA from requiring the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 435) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block EPA from limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 512) offered by Rep. Cassidy (R-LA) would prevent the Department of Energy from using life cycle greenhouse gas emission analysis when determining the public interest of energy exports.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 532) offered by Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) would block work on the Department of Energy's Climate Model Development and Validation Program.

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Clean Energy

A provision in the Transportation appropriation (Sec. 439) offered by Rep. Denham (R-CA) would block work on the California High-Speed Rail Program.

A rider in the committee report for the Interior and Environment appropriation (p. 24) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from installing photovoltaic solar arrays.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 520) offered by Rep. Yoho (R-FL) would block work on the Sustainable Cities program in China and India.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 521) offered by Rep. Fleming (R-LA) would prevent the Western Area Power Marketing Authority from assisting in financing the constructing new transmission lines to bring more renewable resources onto the grid.

A provision in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 522) offered by Rep. Walberg (R-MI) would prevent the Department of Energy from using media to promote alternative clean energy technologies as a way of reducing fossil fuel use.

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Clean Water

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 105) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would permanently prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from updating the definition of "fill material" or "discharge of fill material," allowing the mining industry to continue dumping toxic waste from mountaintop removal activities into mountain streams. This rider was also attached to the Interior and Environment appropriation (sec. 439) by Rep. Calvert (R-CA), targeting the EPA instead.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 529) offered by Rep. LaMalfa (R-CA) would prevent actions based on part of the Clean Water Act for certain kinds of activities that discharge dredged or fill materials into water bodies protected under the Act. Congress specified that a variety of actions' discharges are exempt from Army Corps' review but not if that dumping destroys wetlands or streams, and this rider would eliminate that safeguard for several types of discharges.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 530) offered by Rep. Stockman (R-TX) would block the Department of Energy from preventing approval of any offshore drilling permit.

Two provisions in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 516 and Sec. 517) both 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 Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 519) offered by Rep. Scalise (R-LA) would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from utilizing enhanced wetland replacement strategies that attempt to replicate the functionality of a destroyed wetland, rather than just replace the lost acreage.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 429) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently prohibit EPA from clarifying which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. Blocking EPA would threaten those waters, which help supply one in three Americans' drinking water and trap flood water. Identical language appears in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 106) from Rep. Simpson (R-ID), since EPA and the Army Corps jointly enforce aspects of the Clean Water Act.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 430) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block the Department of Interior (DOI) from implementing safeguards designed to protect streams from pollution from surface coal mining.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 436) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would prevent the public from getting information on where industrial livestock operations are, how much waste they generate, whether and to what extent they pollute waterways, and if they are complying with the Clean Water Act.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 526) offered by Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) would prevent the government from supporting programs that promote the purchase of water-efficient toilets, even though replacing old, water-wasting toilets is one of the biggest ways to make significant water savings in residential settings.

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Energy Efficiency

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 506) offered by Rep. Simpson (R-ID) would prevent the government from shutting down the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

A rider in the Energy and Water appropriation (Sec. 528) offered by Rep. Burgess (R-TX) would block enforcement of the standard requiring light bulbs to be more efficient.

A rider in Energy and Water appropriations (Sec. 315) offered by Rep. Dent (R-PA) would prevent the Department of Energy from finalizing or enforcing energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits.

A rider in the Defense appropriations (Sec. 10020) offered by Rep. McClintock (R-CA) would prevent the Department of Defense from reducing its energy use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the amount of renewable energy used as directed by multiple laws and orders over the last ten years.

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Lands

A provision in the Agriculture appropriation (Sec. 717) offered by Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) would block funds from being spent on a number of key conservation programs including: the Watershed Rehabilitation program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Rural Energy for America Program.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (p. 9) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would prevent the Department of Interior from engaging in its Landscape Conservation Cooperative initiative that works to engage local partners and scientists to conserve wildlife habitat and lands.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (p. 10) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would prevent the establishment or expansion of any wildlife refuge unless expressly authorized by law.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (p. 13) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block the completion of the environmental review for the California Foothills Legacy Area easement program.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 111) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) 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. 112) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently block implementation of the "Wild Lands" initiative unveiled by then-Interior Secretary Salazar in 2010 that would ensure that lands with wilderness characteristics remain unspoiled.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 408) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently allow the Secretary of Agriculture to rely on outdated forest plans, ignoring the reality that national forests are not being managed sustainably, nor taking into account additional considerations such as the increasing impacts from climate change.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 410) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would prohibit the taking of land by eminent domain without approval by the Appropriations committee, with the exception of federal assistance to Florida for Everglades restoration.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 412) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would exempt livestock grazing permit renewals from environmental review indefinitely.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 428) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently increase the maximum authorized term for livestock grazing permits on public lands from 10 years to 20 years.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 431) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently federal land management agencies from placing reasonable limits via the normal land use planning process if such a decision might limit fishing, shooting activities for hunting, or recreational shooting if those activities were allowed as of January 1, 2013.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 437) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently exempt from environmental review livestock grazing allotments that are assigned to replace ones made unusable by drought or wildfire.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 438) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently prevent the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management from acquiring and managing water rights in order to protect fish and wildlife habitat, which would limit federal managers' efforts to safeguard land and water resources from such impactful activities as hydraulic fracturing on public lands to protect water.

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Oceans

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 432) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would prevent implementation of the National Ocean Policy (NOP), a landmark policy designed to safeguard our oceans and coasts. The rider also requires a report on all FY2011, FY2012, and FY2013 spending on the NOP and requires the President's budget proposal for FY 2015 [and beyond] to identify all proposed funding for NOP. Similar riders to attack the National Ocean Policy were also added to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriation bill (Sec. 544) by Rep. Flores (R-TX) and to the Energy and Water appropriation bill (Sec. 525) by Rep. Byrne (R-AL).

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Toxics

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (p. 98) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would prevent the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's from adding new toxic substances to the list of waste materials considered hazardous.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 426) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently prevent the EPA from regulations toxic lead in ammunition, ammunition components, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) or any other law.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 433) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block EPA from enforcing rules to limit exposure to lead paint.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 434) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block EPA from requiring industries with high probability of causing catastrophic damage by releasing toxics into the environment from carrying insurance to cover environmental damages they cause.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 441) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently bar the promulgation of any rule that identifies, lists, or treats certain types of scrap metals or shredded circuit boards that are hazardous waste (defined in 40 CFR 261.4(a)(13), 261.4(a)(14), or 261.6(a)(3)(ii)) as a hazardous waste under subtitle C of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA).

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Wildlife

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 115) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block current efforts to restrict the trade of illegal elephant ivory.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 116) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block any study or rule for the valley elderberry longhorn beetle under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 117) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would permanently bar work focused on the potential listing of the greater sage grouse and the Gunnison sage-grouse under the ESA.

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 118) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would force the Interior Department to include non-scientific considerations that would benefit livestock grazing operations while undermining efforts to recover the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, a unique population of the mountain yellow-legged frog, and the Yosemite toad.

A rider in the committee report for the Interior and Environment appropriation (p. 60) offered by Rep. Calvert (R-CA) would block funding for prosecution of ship owners in violation of the ballast water standards from the 2012 rule for owners who have been granted a Coast Guard extension for implementation of the new technology. The Coast Guard hasn't approved some of the technology and so is giving an extension to ship owners.

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Enforcement

A rider in the Interior and Environment appropriation (Sec. 443) by Rep. Graves (R-GA) would block the EPA from joining 30 other agencies in implementing a 1996 law allowing federal agencies to garnish wages without court order, subject to prescribed procedures.

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last revised 7/28/2014

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