The Public Lands Council (PLC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) report that the House Committee on Appropriations favorably voted the FY 2017 Interior and Environment appropriations bill to the House of Representatives by a vote of 31-18. The bill addresses a number of priorities for the livestock industry, including language regarding the Greater Sage Grouse and full defunding of EPA’s problematic “waters of the United States” rule.
“The bill maintains the one-year delay on further rulemaking or listing of the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act and prevents implementation of federal management that is inconsistent with successful, ongoing state management of the species,” said Ethan Lane, executive director of the PLC and NCBA Federal Lands. “Additionally, the bill fully defunds EPA’s ‘waters of the United States’ final rule and begins to address the abuse of the Antiquities Act by limiting the President’s ability to make sweeping designations at the stroke of pen and over local objections.”
The bill also blocks the President’s proposed administrative fee on top of the grazing fee. Additionally, it reduces funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to $322 million, restoring some responsibility and prioritizing state and local projects while reducing funding for federal land acquisition. Payment in Lieu of Taxes was fully funded, offsetting the loss of local tax revenue for public lands, and the bill increases funding for wildfire suppression to $3.9 billion. Furthermore, the bill provides some additional flexibility and management for the overpopulation of wild horses.
“We applaud the members of the Appropriations committee for taking an active stance in addressing some of the most pressing needs of the livestock industry,” said Lane. “As the Senate works to mark up their companion bill later this week, we hope this bill will move quickly to a vote on the House floor.”