This bill would provide over $32 billion in funding for the the Dept. of the Interior (DOI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, and other federal agencies in fiscal year 2017. The exact total — $32.095 billion — is $64 million below the previous fiscal year and is $1 billion less than the president’s budget request. Of this funding, about $3.9 billion is set aside for preventing and combating wildfires, while another $480 million would go to local communities with federal land to make up for the lack of property tax revenue.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA would receive $7.98 billion for fiscal year 2017, which is $164 million less than it got in the prior year and is $291 million less than the president’s budget request.
Regulatory programs would see their funds decrease by 6 percent (a $43 million drop) to a level that’s $187 million less than what the president’s request was. Staff levels at the EPA would be capped at the current 15,000 positions, blocking an increase proposed by the president.
This bill would block several ongoing or prospective EPA regulations from coming into effect, including:
The EPA’s new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants and performance standards;
Changes to the definitions of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act and “fill material;”
New methane requirements;
Regulations for the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle;
A reporting requirement on the backlog of mining permits that are awaiting approval.
Lead in Drinking Water
To help address the problem of lead in drinking water across the U.S., this bill would allow states to provide debt relief in areas with elevated levels of lead so as to encourage investment in better water infrastructure. Specific water infrastructure programs would see their funding increase, including:
$2.1 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) with an increase of $207 million for the Drink Water SRF;
$50 million for the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (WIFIA) program;
$109.7 million for state grants to improve operations and oversight of drinking water systems, a $7.7 million increase above the current level;
$6.5 million for the EPA’s Office of Water to assist communities that are planning to replace pipes.
Native American Programs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs and Education would see its funding increase by $72 million to a level of $2.9 billion for fiscal year 2017. These funds go toward schools, law enforcement, road maintenance, and economic development.
The Indian Health Service would get $5.1 billion in funding for fiscal year 2017, $271 million more than it received the year before. The increase would cover the cost of staffing at new facilities, medical cost inflation, and greater demand from a growing and aging population.
Federal Payments to Local Communities
The federal Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program that compensates local governments with federal lands in their counties for losses in property taxes because federal land is nontaxable would get $480 million for fiscal year 2017. This program funds many rural communities’ government responsibilities such as public safety and education.
National Park Service (NPS)
$2.9 billion in funding would go to the NPS for fiscal year 2017, an increase of $71 million from the previous year. To address a maintenance backlog in the NPS, $65 million would go to reduce the backlog and prepare for the agency’s 100th anniversary.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM would receive $1.2 billion in funding for fiscal year 2017, $10 million less than it received the previous year. Two presidential proposals that the BLM would’ve been tasked with enforcing would be blocked by this legislation, one of which would increase fees for ranchers grazing on federal land while the other would increase oil and gas inspection fees.
The U.S. Forest Service would receive $5.3 billion with $2.9 billion of that total set aside for wildfire prevention and suppression. The Forest Service and BLM would be prevented from new closures of public land to hunting and recreational shooting except in the case of public safety.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
$1.5 billion in funding would go to the FWS for fiscal year 2017, a decrease of $17 million from the previous year. Funding would be prioritized for reduce the endangered species delisting backlog, fighting invasive species, preventing illegal wildlife trafficking, and preventing the closure of fish hatcheries. A one-year delay on Endangered Species Act status reviews, determinations, and rulemaking for greater sage-grouse would be continued.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
$1.1 billion would be provided for the USGS in fiscal year 2017, $18 million more than it received the year before. Funding would be prioritized for programs dealing with natural hazards, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring networks, and mapping activities. $10 million would go toward an earthquake early warning system.
Several other federal entities would be receive funding under this legislation, including:
$863 million to the Smithsonian Institution;
$332 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
$226 million for the Office of Surface Mining;
$150 million for each of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.