The Coalition joined 48 environmental organizations in sending the below letter to the House of Representatives urging Members to oppose the following amendments to H.R. 4821, the House Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024, when they come up for votes.
November 2, 2023
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Amendment Vote Recommendations on H.R. 4821, the House Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024
Dear Member of Congress,
On behalf of our many members and supporters, the 48 undersigned groups make the following vote recommendations on amendments to H.R. 4821, the House Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024. While not all undersigned organizations work directly on each of these issues, we appreciate your consideration of these pro-environmental positions.
Thank you for your consideration,
League of Conservation Voters
Alaska Wilderness League Action
American Hiking Society
Animal Welfare Institute
Born Free USA
Center for Biological Diversity
Clean Energy for America
Clean Water Action
Climate Action Campaign
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Conservation Lands Foundation
Creation Justice Ministries
Defenders of Wildlife
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay
Friends of the Earth
Healthy Ocean Coalition
Humane Action Pennsylvania
Humane Action Pittsburgh
Interfaith Power & Light
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Kentucky Conservation Committee
Los Padres ForestWatch
Montana Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Ocean Defense Initiative
Partnership for Policy Integrity
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
The Wilderness Society
Trust for Public Land
Union of Concerned Scientists
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Western Organization of Resource Councils
Western Watersheds Project
16. DeSaulnier (CA) This amendment would strike language prohibiting federal agencies’ consideration of the social cost of carbon, an important tool for evaluating the health, environmental and economic impacts of climate change.
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20 and 36. Boebert These amendments would cut funding from EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment. The bill would already cut EPA’s funding by nearly 40%, yet amendments like these seek to further chisel away at the EPA’s ability to help at-risk communities.
2. Hageman (WY) This amendment would reduce funding for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by $590,322,500 or 50 percent. The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of our public lands – more than any other government agency – for multiple uses, including: conservation. recreation, hunting, fishing, energy development, grazing, and protection of natural, cultural, and historical resources. This amendment would severely hamstring the agencies’ ability to manage public lands and resources on which so many local and regional economies rely.
15. Collins (GA) and 59. Perry (PA) These amendments would cut all funding to the Council of Environmental Quality, effectively eliminating the agency’s leadership role in coordinating NEPA analysis across the government. This would only hamper environmental review, slowing down worthy projects and risking approval of flawed ones that could harm at-risk communities.
19. Perry (PA) BOEM’s Office of Renewable Energy plays a key role in offshore renewable energy development by assisting in offshore wind planning and leasing. The work the Office of Renewable Energy does is crucial for community and stakeholder engagement, advancing project reviews, environmental analysis, and scientific and technological research. Elimination of BOEM’s Office of Renewable Energy will halt development of domestically produced clean energy and put at risk the thousands of jobs that support the industry.
28 and 35 Boebert (CO), 39. McCormick (GA), and 41. Sessions (TX): These amendments would cut funding from EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment. The bill would already cut EPA’s funding by nearly 40%, yet amendments like these seek to further chisel away at the EPA’s ability to help at-risk communities.
58. Westerman (AR) This amendment would deeply cut funding to the Council of Environmental Quality, hamstringing the agency’s leadership role in coordinating NEPA analysis across the government. This would only hamper environmental review, slowing down worthy projects and risking approval of flawed ones that could harm at-risk communities.
63. Nehls (TX) This amendment would cut all funding to the Council of Environmental Quality, effectively eliminating the agency’s leadership role in coordinating NEPA analysis across the government. This would only hamper environmental review, slowing down worthy projects and risking approval of flawed ones that could harm at-risk communities.
64. Graves (LA) EPA and other federal agencies issue rules that protect public health and safety, preserve natural resources and provide other crucial benefits to people nationwide. Arbitrarily restricting rules would put the public at risk.
65. Hageman (WY) This amendment would block the BLM from finalizing the draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Rock Springs Field Office in Wyoming. The draft RMP currently open for public comment would protect human burials, historic schoolhouses, important habitat for elk and mule deer, and other sensitive resources, all while allowing oil & gas production to continue in the region. Under each of the draft RMP’s management alternatives, BLM would maintain or enhance access for hunters, ranchers, and other public lands users, including in popular areas like Greater Little Mountain.
66. Harshbarger (TN) This amendment would defund the Board on Geographic Names, the federal government body that ensures accurate and consistent place names within the United States and abroad. Businesses, local governments, and average Americans all benefit from the work of the Board when purchasing property, using GPS, or doing any other activity that depends upon having a consistent and agreed upon place name. It is also tasked with renaming features with racist and offensive names: in September, for instance, the board changed the names of three features – Mt. Evans in Colorado, and Jeff Davis Peak and Jeff Davis Creek in Montana – to better reflect today’s values of inclusiveness and equity. They are now Mt. Blue Sky, Three Eagles Peak, and Dovavinai Baa O’ogwaide – all in honor of, and in partnership with, Tribes. This amendment attacks both baseline government functionality and important work to right historic injustices.
67. LaMalfa (CA) This amendment would prohibit funding for the establishment or modification of any national monuments under the Antiquities Act in Colusa County, California. This runs counter to Tribally and locally led efforts to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include Molok Luyuk (Condor Ridge in the Patwin language), which is sacred to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and serves as a critical wildlife migration corridor for tule elk, mountain lions, black bears, and dozens of rare plant species, especially in the midst of a changing climate. The Antiquities Act is an important tool and all conservation options must remain on the table in order to protect these important sacred, cultural, and natural resources.
70. Perry (PA) Prevents EPA from taking action to reduce pollution to the Chesapeake Bay watershed if states subject to the watershed-wide cleanup blueprint fail to meet established targets. This would disable one of the only enforcement tools available to ensure that all states abide by their cleanup obligations.
71. Arrington (TX) This amendment would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from finalizing or implementing the proposed rule to list the Salina mucket and Mexican fawnsfoot mussels as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and designate critical habitat for both species. These two mussel species are native to the Rio Grande drainage in Texas and Mexico and are thought to have been extirpated from most of their historical range with only a single population of each found in Texas and both species completely eliminated in Mexico. Preventing this rule could doom these Rio Grande mussels to extinction and allow further degradation of the species’ riverine habitat which will impair its ecological functioning and health.
72. Bentz (OR) The Owyhee Canyonlands is one of the most remote and rugged areas in the West. Boasting millions of acres of deep canyons, rolling sagebrush grasslands, and rushing rivers, the Owyhee is home to more than 200 species, some of the country’s darkest skies, and boundless recreational activities. All conservation options must remain on the table as we look to conserve this critical landscape.
73. Boebert, 85. Crane (AZ), 101. McCormick (GA), and 112, 113, and 115. Norman (SC). The Department of the Interior, EPA, and other agencies tasked with protecting our public lands and waters, air and water are critical for delivering popular programs and life-saving benefits to communities across the country. Any amendments to arbitrarily and punitively cut salaries for federal government officials to $1 are personal attacks on individuals whose job it is to carry out the President’s policies, and are wholly inappropriate and unwarranted, and would undermine efforts to safeguard our public resources and communities. Top officials directing important federal government business should be fairly paid for their work, and any attacks on government officials’ pay should be rejected.
74. Boebert (CO) This amendment would undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – and subvert the agency rulemaking process – by prohibiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from completing the rulemaking process on three proposed regulations to update how the ESA is implemented. If enacted, the amendment would prevent FWS from making final decisions on the proposed regulations, thus keeping in place harmful Trump-era regulations, and prohibiting the agency from implementing important updates to bring the rules back into conformity with the ESA and ensure robust decision-making firmly grounded in the law and the science.
75. Boebert (CO) This amendment would stop the BLM’s public process to revise their management plans for the Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction field offices. The draft plan would result in significant increases to areas conserved as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and would close more than 1.5 million acres of public lands in Western Colorado to future oil and gas leasing. This amendment would shut down the planning process and prevent the BLM from considering public comments offered during the currently ongoing (closes Nov. 1, 2023) public comment period on the draft plan.
76. Boebert (CO) This amendment would stop finalization, implementation and enforcement of the Bureau of Land Management’s onshore oil and gas leasing rule, which implements pieces of the IRA and protects taxpayers. When finalized, this rule will implement long-overdue reforms to the oil and gas program, including updating fiscal terms, royalties, and raising bond minimums to ensure oil and gas operators pay the full cost of plugging and mitigating wells when they stop producing and reclaiming the surrounding land.
77. Boebert (CO) This amendment would block a program that encourages Department of the Interior employees in heavily populated areas (such as the District of Columbia) to use non-motorized bicycles as their primary means of commuting to and from work. Employees who drive or use transit may be eligible for transportation benefits; this program provides benefits to those who bicycle as well. The program supports essential, zero-pollution transportation options, promotes health and wellness, and ultimately helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
78. Burgess (TX) This amendment would block a valuable recruitment tool the EPA has under current law, hampering its ability to quickly and competitively hire scientists able to help with assessing environmental risks from emergent technologies and help meet its statutory deadlines.
79. Burlison (MO) The science is overwhelmingly clear: greenhouse gasses endanger health and welfare. People nationwide understand these impacts on a more personal level than ever after a year of climate-fueled health harms and disasters. Denying the science doesn’t change that.
80. Burlison (MO) This amendment would block implementation of an executive order that leverages the government’s purchasing power to tackle the climate crisis by investing in clean energy and manufacturing, and using clean building materials to boost jobs, build resilient communities and expand the economy.
81. Cammack (FL) This amendment would prevent any major rules from being promulgated, regardless of their benefits or whether they are required by existing law. This could prevent life-saving protections for Americans.
83. Clyde (GA) This amendment would block funding for cancellation or suspension of illegally-issued oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or for future cancellation or suspension of oil and gas leases in the NPR-A (Reserve) and Arctic Refuge. It is an attack on the Biden administration’s recently proposed Arctic conservation announcement, and would undermine the Department of Interior’s ability to meet critical climate goals.
83. Clyde (GA) President Biden recently announced a sweeping conservation regulation for the NPR-A, where the Willow project was approved in March, and a lasting set of protections for the largest unit of public lands in the country. This amendment would defund any attempt by BLM to enact the proposed regulations, leading to the undoing of over 13 million acres of proposed conservation land and blocking funding for implementation of future conservation areas in the Reserve.
84. Collins (GA) This language is a delay tactic on one of the best measures we can take to ensure the survival of the North Atlantic right whale. By prohibiting federal funding for NOAA’s rulemaking – and circumventing the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act – this would jeopardize the survival of the North Atlantic right whale, as well as the laws that protect our nation’s most treasured species.
86. Crane (AZ) Requested by a coalition of Tribal governments, including the Hopi Tribe and the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Interior Department’s Public Land Order No. 7923 enacted a 20-year withdrawal of federal lands within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historic Park from oil and gas leasing. Rep. Crane’s misguided amendment would block implementation of that Public Land Order, leaving irreplaceable cultural, historic, and natural resources vulnerable to oil & gas development.
87. Fallon (TX) This vague amendment would create an impossible-to-validate limitation on DOI’s authority and discretion to issue or not issue onshore and offshore oil and gas leases. It represents an oil and gas industry freebie with no obvious purpose.
88. Fallon (TX) Less than 30% of U.S. counties have monitors tracking the most dangerous air pollutants. This leaves communities vulnerable to the health impacts of daily air pollution spikes without the knowledge that their health is at risk. Accurately monitoring air pollution helps direct funding and activities to reduce air pollution to the areas that need it the most.
89. Fulcher (ID) This amendment would block funding toward America’s 30×30 goal of conserving 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. The science is clear that we must protect more of our planet in its natural state to ensure we avoid hitting “points of no return” for our natural world, and this amendment would seek to block that.
91. Gosar (AZ) The current national limits on particulate matter are out of date and need to be strengthened to protect public health. Particle pollution can trigger illness and hospitalization and is responsible for nearly 48,000 premature deaths in the US every year. Through the NAAQS process, the Clean Air Act has improved health and saved lives while the U.S. economy has grown.
92. Gosar (AZ) On August 8, 2023, President Biden designated the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona. Encompassing just over 917,000 acres of federal public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon, Presidential Proclamation 10606 was signed after a request by more than a dozen Tribes in the region. Rep. Gosar’s amendment would prevent the designation and protection of this key site, threatening cultural, historic, and natural resources in the region, as well as the health of the Grand Canyon’s hundreds of seeps and springs that feed into the Colorado River.
93. Graves (LA) This amendment prohibits any funding from going towards the implementation of a recent agreement that would 1) exclude Rice’s whale habitat from any lease sales that occur while a lawsuit stay is in effect, 2) require future oil and gas leaseholders to reduce the risks of vessel strikes to Rice’s whale throughout their northern Gulf habitat, including requiring any lease sales during the stay to require 10 knot vessel speed in Rice’s whale habitat, and 3) notify existing oil and gas leaseholders of the threat that vessels pose to Rice’s whale habitat and encourage them to adopt recommended speed reductions. The risk of being struck and killed by a vessel is a primary threat to the survival of the 51 remaining Rice’s whales and oil and gas vessel transits represent 40% of the vessel strike risk in the Gulf. Avoiding Rice’s whale habitat in leasing and slowing down while transiting their habitat are bare minimum protections that we can offer to save the species from extinction in the near term.
96. Grothman (WI) This amendment defunds EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). The IRIS program enables EPA to identify and characterize hazardous chemicals that are found in workplace settings, consumer products, and as contaminants in our air, water, and soil. Defunding this program will deprive EPA of a critical tool for helping businesses, regulators, and the public to make informed decisions to prevent harm from chemicals in the places we live, learn, work, and play.
97. Hageman (WY) This amendment is an attempt to codify climate denial into major federal decisions across the over 80 agencies that are required to comply with NEPA. CEQ’s interim guidance simply provides direction to agencies on how to comply with long standing legal requirements under NEPA to consider not only the impacts of federal decisions on climate, but also the impacts of climate change on critical federal infrastructure. To ignore the consideration of climate change when spending taxpayer dollars or building roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure, is not only dangerous, but also puts communities around the country at risk.
98. Hageman (WY) The Clean Water Act gives states and tribes a voice when the federal government is considering authorizing projects that could harm their water bodies, like pipelines, hydro dams, and wetland fills. This amendment would undermine rules that implement this requirement of the Act and would hamstring states and tribes in carrying out their responsibilities under the law.
99. Jackson (TX) This amendment would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from finalizing or implementing the proposed rule to list the Texas kangaroo rat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and designate critical habitat for the species. The primary threat to the Texas kangaroo rat has been habitat loss and degradation, driven largely by historical land use change. FWS first identified the Texas kangaroo rat as a species that may warrant listing as endangered or threatened in 1982, more than 40 years ago. Preventing this rule could doom the Texas kangaroo rat to extinction.
102. McCormick (GA) This amendment would prohibit the administration from implementing executive orders aimed at addressing climate pollution and environmental injustice. The amendment would eliminate the White House Office of Environmental Justice, remove ambitious goals to transition to electric vehicles and make the federal government more environmentally sustainable, and cut climate pollution.
104. Miller (IL) This amendment would defund a key IRA program explicitly designed to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to get cleaner energy and lower their energy costs. Blocking this program would block efforts to deliver residential rooftop solar, residential community solar, and energy efficiency upgrades to the communities that need them most.
107. Nehls (TX) Most school buses spew diesel pollution that is dangerous for the 25 million kids who ride the bus to school every day. The bipartisan Clean School Bus Program provides rebates and grants to school districts and other eligible entities to purchase healthier, zero-emission buses and infrastructure. This popular program has already awarded nearly $1 billion to help 389 school districts across all 50 states, D.C. and several Tribes and territories purchase clean school buses.
108. Norman (SC) This amendment would prohibit the use of funds for the American Climate Corps. This important administration initiative would provide valuable workforce training opportunities for young people and accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy.
109. Norman (SC) The transportation sector emits the most climate pollution of any sector in the U.S., and rules aiming to improve the efficiency of vehicles and therefore reduce emissions are critical to meeting our commitments to reduce climate pollution across the country and advancing environmental justice particularly for near-roadway communities. Improving fuel efficiency for cars and trucks also helps save money for families and reduces our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels.
111. Norman (SC) This amendment would effectively prohibit work updating official analysis on the costs of climate change, locking in old numbers even as new data emerge on the harms affecting millions of people.
116. Ogles (TN) The Antiquities Act is a critical conservation law that empowers presidents to designate naturally, culturally, or historically significant federal lands or waters as national monuments. The tool has bipartisan support and has been used by 18 presidents – 9 Democrats and 9 Republicans – since its establishment. Prohibiting funding will destroy one of the most important tools we have to preserve our nation’s lands and waters.
117. Ogles (TN) This amendment would block research to better understand the threats of climate change, including critical work on the National Climate Assessment. This not only blocks important research but also stymies plain-English information for state and local decision makers. Blocking our understanding of these current and future impacts does nothing to protect us from them.
119. Ogles (TN) This amendment would block funding for the Environmental Financial Advisory Board at the EPA. In addition to its core work of providing research and reports on improving financing and reducing the costs of environmental protection, the group is also currently engaged on the IRA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a key investment to combat climate change, advance environmental justice, and accelerate the transition to an equitable energy future.
120. Ogles (TN) This amendment would block implementation of critical fiscal reforms to the oil and gas leasing system that were passed in the IRA. These reforms have long been flagged as critical by government watchdogs and enjoy significant support across the West and bipartisan support in Congress. The reforms better harmonize the federal oil and gas system with the fees, rents, and royalties charged by states and ensure that publicly-owned resources are not being sold off at bargain basement prices.
121. Owens (UT) The recommendations in the IWG report substantially fulfill most requirements in Sec. 40206 of IIJA, including an analysis of mining project approvals, and the data review refutes the claim that the U.S. has a long permitting timeline for mines and attributes most delays to project proponents that change plans or submit incomplete/untimely data to under-resourced agencies. Specifically, the report states: “it should be noted that the total “gestation period”—the length of time between the initiation of exploration for a mineral and the start of commercial production… is fairly consistent with the worldwide average.”
123. Perry (PA) This amendment is just another attempt to roll back the Clean Air Act and block any potential plan to address climate change, but it would also undermine our ability to reduce international air emissions that harm the United States – cross-border air pollution issues that have been a problem before such as with Canada in 1970s and 1980s.
124. Posey (FL) The Office of Air and Radiation is responsible for developing polices that protect health from air pollution, radon, acid rain and radiation. Reducing funding for the office – which is already underfunded – will severely hamstring the ability of EPA to protect communities across the country from health harms and save lives from pollution and radiation.
125. Rose (TN) This amendment would prevent Interior, EPA, and other agencies funded by this bill from reducing pollution caused by single-use plastic straws, which are typically among the top ten items collected in beach cleanups. Single-use plastics are used briefly, sometimes only for moments, but persist indefinitely in the environment, harming wildlife (such as the sea turtle famously found with a straw in its nose) and breaking down into microplastics that enter food chains. Only 5% to 6% of the 46 million tons of plastic waste generated annually in the U.S. gets recycled.
126. Roy (TX) This amendment would block efforts to reduce pollution and climate threats in communities on the front lines of our nation’s most dangerous legacy environmental and health hazards. For too long, communities of color and low-income communities have been forced to bear the brunt of pollution.
127. Roy (TX) This amendment would prohibit funding to implement executive orders that help reduce harmful pollution, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, jumpstart clean energy innovation and deployment, and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. The damaging effects of this amendment would include hobbling our government’s ability to prepare for and respond to the very real threat of climate change.
128. Schweikert (AZ) This amendment would indiscriminately cut funding across the bill, on top of the steep cuts already in the base bill. Further cuts to critical programs that protect our health, lands, wildlife, biodiversity, air, water, oceans, and communities would only bring harm.
129. Stauber (MN) This amendment is an attempt to codify parts of the disastrous changes to reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act made during the Trump administration in 2020. Specifically, the amendment is an attempt to codify climate denial into federal decisions by deleting definitions of direct, indirect, and cumulative effects. In addition, the amendment would freeze in place the 2020 regulations which improperly narrowed the purpose and need of agency reviews, and circumscribed alternatives analysis. The Phase I regulations rightly restored certainty to stakeholders, project applicants, and the agencies by providing clarity about responsibilities under NEPA that comport with nearly 50 years of case law.
130. Stauber (MN) This amendment is an attempt to codify the disastrous changes to reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act made by the Trump Administration in 2020. The proposed Phase II regulations restore certainty to stakeholders, project applicants, and agencies by providing much needed guidance on how reviews should be conducted under NEPA, especially in light of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act. If passed, this amendment would sideline community input, shield decisions from public scrutiny, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent without consideration of climate change.
131. Westerman (AR) This amendment would not only undermine the White House’s commitment to just ocean policy, it would leave ocean justice communities behind once again, and affect the overall well-being of all ocean communities.
The following amendments go against our organizations’ commitment to racial justice and equity – we urge opposition on any en bloc that includes these or similar amendments: 110. Norman (SC), 114. Norman (SC).
Although Rep. Molinaro may withdraw this amendment, as written we have the following concerns: 33. Molinaro (NY) This amendment would cut funding from EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment, including cutting the very work of CERCLA-related research and development. The base bill already cuts CERCLA funding by nearly 75%, so at best this amendment presents a false choice of robbing Peter to pay Paul when both have already been robbed by another.