Western Caucus Shapes First House-Passed Interior Bill in Seven Years

Jul 14, 2016 Issues: Natural Resources, Energy, Public Lands and Water

For Immediate Release

Date: July 14, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith



(Courtesy of the Congressional Western Caucus)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, after working late into the night, the U.S. House passed H.R.5538: the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Western Caucus Members secured a host of provisions reining in Obama Administration regulatory overreach and ensuring more responsible stewardship of western lands and natural resources.

 In response Western Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large) and Paul Gosar
issued the following statements:

“The power of the purse is an effective way to send a message to all federal agencies; ‘Shape up or lose your funding,’” said Vice Chairman Gosar. “Given our skyrocketing federal debt, the House took a positive step this week in preventing federal dollars from going to lawless agencies, like the EPA, that care more about pursuing their own misguided political agenda than the well-being of the American citizens living in western states.”

“The West and all of America have scored a major victory with the passage of this Interior appropriations bill, the first of its kind to pass in seven years,” said Chairman Lummis. “The management of western public lands has suffered under the Obama Administration’s neglect and anti-West agenda, but this legislation marks a renewed effort to reinstate and reinforce state and local stewardship of our land, our water, our energy, and other natural resources crucial to our way of life in the West. This will make a stronger West and a stronger America, as will the bill’s intervention into the Department of the Interior and EPA’s regulatory onslaught that threatens our nation’s prosperity, energy security, and global competitiveness. America and the West have good reason to be proud of the House’s work through the late hours of several nights to pass this bill and send it to the Senate.”


H.R. 5538 included a number of Gosar victories from amendments and legislative initiatives which are listed below:

Blocking Funds for Boating Restrictions on Lake Havasu
Cutting $70 Million from EPA Bureaucrats, Redirects Resources to Wildfire Prevention.
Prohibiting EPA’s Attempt to Expand Clean Water Act through Unlawful Guidance
Defeating Rep. Grijalva’s Land Grab Amendment
Allowing for Responsible State Management of Mexican Wolf Populations
Blocking funds for the EPA’s Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS)
Fully-funding the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program
Prohibiting Funds for the “Social Cost of Carbon”
Providing $2,000,000 for Quagga and Zebra Mussel Containment, Prevention, and Enforcement
Directing the BLM to Allow States to Assist with Managing Wild Burro Populations
Blocking the President from Unilaterally Designating the Proposed Grand Canyon Watershed, Sedona and Expanded Sonoran Desert Monuments.

(Courtesy of the Congressional Western Caucus)
The Interior Appropriations bill sets the budget and policy for the Forest Service and Department of the Interior, who collectively own or manage roughly half of the western United States. The bill also sets the budget and policy for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which under nearly eight years of the Obama Administration has inflicted billions of dollars in economic damage on the American economy.

  • Cuts spending by $64 million, $1 billion below the President’s budget request.
  • Prevents the EPA from implementing greenhouse gas regulations on coal plants.
  • Prevents the Obama Administration from carrying out its campaign to keep energy in the ground by:
    •   time-limiting the indefinite federal coal lease moratorium,
    •  delaying the deeply flawed stream buffer rule that would heap unnecessary regulatory costs on coal mines,
    •  stopping efforts to increase taxes on federal coal, oil, and gas production,
    •  stopping offshore energy regulations that do little to nothing to improve safety in the course of harming our energy security.Prevents the BLM from implementing duplicative rules on hydraulic fracturing and methane emissions, which are already subject to state regulation.
  • Protects private water rights from federal water grabs in federal permitting processes.
  • Funds more effective wildland fire prevention.
  • Delays finalization of the BLM’s sweeping Planning 2.0 rule to allow for more public input, including public hearings in 11 Western states.