WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 4, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Kevin Cramer released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. H.R. 2028, the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which provides a total of $35.4 billion in discretionary funding for nuclear weapons activities, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy, and related agencies. The legislation includes $786,000 in Army Corps Investigations Feasibility money to study Red River basin wide flood protection solutions and $16.684 million for Army Corps operation and maintenance funding for facilities in North Dakota including Garrison Dam and Baldhill Dam. It also includes $25 million for ND Bureau of Reclamation facilities including Garrison Diversion and Heart Butte Dam.
The bill includes language to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from spending any funds to implement the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. It would have drastically expanded the EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ authority over bodies of water including small ponds, creeks, ditches, and other occasionally wet areas, including those found on private property.
“While this provision only prevents implementing the WOTUS rule for the next fiscal year I’m working with other Members on a long-term solution to provide landowners and producers certainty the federal government will not have this expanded authority to control their private property. I expect to see this long-term solution on the House floor for a vote very soon. This administration’s goal is to have jurisdiction over every puddle or could be puddle on every farm in every state. This is a gross violation of private property rights, it is a breach of states’ rights, and the American people will not tolerate it. I am encouraged my colleagues listened to the overwhelming number of their constituents who complained about WOTUS and my hope is the Senate will pass this legislation and President Obama will sign it into law,” said Cramer.
Congressman Cramer has consistently opposed the Waters of the U.S. rule and has called on the administration and the EPA to change course on numerous occasions, citing its devastating economic impacts, substantial regulatory costs, bureaucratic barriers to economic growth, and severely negative impacts on farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction and energy production, as well as the fact waters are to be governed by states and not the federal government.
In 2014, Cramer released a highly detailed map of North Dakota developed in secret by the Environmental Protection Agency, likely for the purpose of expanding its regulation of water features. Investigations by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, of which Cramer was a member in 2014, revealed the EPA has assembled detailed maps of all waters and wetlands in every state with no intention of releasing them to the public.
Highlights of Legislation
Boosts nuclear national security. The bill provides full funding for programs that extend the life of our nuclear weapons stockpile, fully funds the OHIO Class ballistic missile submarine replacement, and increases funding by $195 million to maintain and replace our nation’s aging nuclear weapons infrastructure.
Rolls back the Administration’s job-killing overregulation. Fighting back against the Obama Administration’s extreme regulatory agenda, the bill prohibits the implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” rule; prohibits the Administration from changing the definitions of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material;” and prohibits regulation of certain agricultural activities under the Clean Water Act.
Invests in the infrastructure that keeps American commerce moving. The legislation focuses Army Corps funding on activities that directly improve public safety, job creation, and American economic competitiveness. The bill also allows for full use of Inland Waterways Trust Fund annual revenues, and provides $1.18 billion from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund ($73 million more than last year).
Advances a true all-of-the-above energy strategy. The bill boosts funding for programs that improve the efficiency and safety of fossil and nuclear energy, while also making strategic investments in renewable energy development. These funds will help make smart use of our domestic natural energy resources to help keep energy costs down for American families and businesses.
Continues the Yucca Mountain licensing process. Continuing congressional efforts to support the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository, the bill provides funding for the Nuclear Waste Disposal Program and denies an Administration proposal for non-Yucca nuclear waste activities
Protects Second Amendment Rights. Allowing for the possession of firearms on Corps of Engineers lands, the bill aligns Corps policy with that of the National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System.
Increases funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. With a slight increase of $29 million over last year, the bill supports more than 25,000 researchers at universities, laboratories, and private industries.
Upgrades the nation’s energy infrastructure. The bill helps strengthen and protect our electric grid and secure America’s energy future by providing $141 million for research and development.
Bolsters American manufacturing. Increasing funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Office within the Department of Energy, which supports research incorporating advanced materials into the manufacturing process, the bill continues the Republican Congress’ emphasis on innovation.
Maintains fiscal discipline. The FY 2016 Energy and Water bill contains targeted reductions to lower-priority or unnecessary programs. All 12 Appropriations bills for FY 2016 will continue the Republican-led Congress’ commitment to fiscal responsibility, and meet FY 2016 budget and statutory levels.