- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Included in the massive, $1.1 trillion bill unveiled late Tuesday that would fund most of the government through next fall are several policy “riders” on energy and the environment supported by Republicans, adding fuel to what is already shaping up to be a fight between the GOP and the Obama administration over environmental policies next year.

Republicans said the spending bill stops the listing of the sage-grouse as an endangered species — a move by the administration after the midterm elections that Democrats and the GOP alike had criticized. The federal move to protect the bird was seen as having a chilling effect on the economy in the west, notably on oil and gas exploration and ranching on designated habitat in Utah and Colorado.

The bill also restricts an expansion of the Clean Water Act to include smaller waterways — a battle Republicans on the Hill have been fighting over with the administration for some time.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, have already indicated that the GOP will continue to fight regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency when the new Congress is sworn in next month.

And elsewhere, Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican, introduced a bill this week that would lift a decades-long ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

“The U.S. has long been committed to free trade and open markets; it’s time we practice what we preach when it comes to energy,” Mr. Barton said in a statement.

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