Last year, the House and Senate Republicans tried to attach over 100 unrelated provisions to the bill funding the government for the year that began on October 1, 2015. Because of the work of groups across the progressive and veterans community—including NRDC and fellow environmentalists and with the leadership of President Obama and House and Senate Democrats, the funding bill went through will almost no riders at all.
Despite their failure to last year to lard up the must-passed legislation with riders, Republicans have promised to try again to attach bills that normally couldn’t pass to the fill funding the government and other ‘must pass’ bills. So far—and the season is young—the riders being floated include:
- Block agencies from assessing the impacts of their actions on climate change;
- Impede clean energy advances;
- Disallow federal officials from shutting down nuclear waste storage at Yucca mountain;
- Treat interim storage as a viable part of nuclear waste disposal, despite strong scientific consensus that permanent storage in deep underground repositories is the only potential approach;
- Interfere with protections for endangered species in the Bay Delta and undermine other environmental protections to provide more water to politically-favored junior water rights interests;
- Allow continued pollution of streams from coal mining and mountaintop removal;
- Stop the Army Corps of Engineers from follow the Supreme Court guidance to clarify what waters require permits before they are polluted;
- Defund agricultural conservation programs that protect land, water, and wildlife;
- Upend the National Ocean Policy and protections of ocean and coastal health.
These only represent the riders that have occurred to date. More are likely to emerge as both House and Senate take up more appropriations measures and bring those measures to the floor. Please check back for updates.