House Democrats invoked the record-breaking weekend temperatures as they railed against a Republican bill up for floor discussion this week that cuts funding and trims the regulatory power of federal environmental agencies.
Republicans have been “cooped up” inside for weeks in debt-ceiling discussions, said Rep. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat and ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee. “How else could you explain a bill that says we can’t address heat-trapping, carbon pollution while most of America suffers through one of the worst heat waves in a generation?” he said.
The appropriations bill would cut Environmental Protection Agency funding by 18 percent and trim funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the lowest level in more than 40 years. Other provisions would block agencies from certain actions such as regulating coal ash and modifying the Clean Water Act.
Most of the Democratic fury was directed at two provisions. One would prohibit funding for listing additional species as “endangered.” The other could open the door to uranium mining near the Grand Canyon by limiting the ability of the secretary of the interior to intervene.
“Under the Republican bill, when families go to enjoy the sunset across the canyon, it won’t just be the sun causing the glow, it will be the radiation,” Mr. Markey said.
Democrats will try to block some of the provisions this week, said Rep. Jim Moran, ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment. Rep. Norm Dicks said he will attempt to repeal the block on funding endangered species designations.
“This is a bad bill, perhaps the worst environmental and appropriations bill I’ve seen in my 35 years on the appropriations committee,” Mr. Dicks said.