The House of Representatives is considering a bill that would cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by more than one-third in 2014, only a year after attempting to pass a more modest 17 percent budget cut.
According to The Hill, a House Appropriations subcommittee is slated to make sure the EPA pruning survives within a larger, GOP-led omnibus Interior and Environment spending bill, which will be taken up on Tuesday.
The EPA’s proposed budget cut — $2.8 billion — is the largest single pruning House Republicans have embedded in the bill, which would cut 19 percent (a total of $5.5 billion) from the budgets of a number of Federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Gallery of Art.
What’s significant about the EPA hatchet job is its timing. The proposed cuts come only a month after President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to prioritize environmental regulations, reflecting the White House’s official stance that man-made climate change is destroying the planet and must be dealt with ahead of a host of other domestic problems.
The House bill would stave off forthcoming EPA regulations that require petroleum refiners to reduce the presence of sulfur in gasoline, which oil companies expect would add dramatically to the cost of production. It also would negate EPA regulations that, per Obama’s anti-coal agenda, would set new carbon emissions standards on electric power plants.
Subcommittee leader Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said the GOP-backed budget cuts and policy strictures are a direct effort at confronting Obama on climate change, in the hope of averting new rules that would unnecessarily increase industry costs (and end-user costs) through the implementation of more difficult and sophisticated production processes, as well as punitive fines.
New EPA boss (and Obama nominee) Gina McCarthy embraced the President’s grand vision on climate change, telling employees in an internal video Monday that the agency “has a clear responsibility to act now on climate change” and that this era “is a defining time” for the EPA.