House panel spending plan would slash EPA budget

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Interior and Environment subcommittee voted 7-4 to push forward a $24.5 billion spending plan that includes deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.

The legislation would cut the EPA and Department of the Interior budgets even deeper than sequestration, and would also block a central part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The White House has threatened a veto in response.

The spending plan includes a 34 percent cut in the EPA’s budget, leaving the agency $5.5 billion in 2014. Republican lawmakers said such cuts are unavoidable because Congress can’t agree with the White House on spending cuts.

The legislation includes a package of riders that would block EPA actions, including the agency’s proposals to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the main part of Obama’s climate change plan, unveiled in June.

The plan would also block the EPA from moving ahead with its proposed Tier 3 rule on sulfur in gasoline or finishing its rule for cooling towers on power plants and major manufacturing facilities.

The White House announced that the president would veto this legislation if it passed the Senate and reached his desk.

“The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1582. The bill would require the Department of Energy to undertake duplicative, costly and time consuming reviews of energy-related EPA rules, thereby delaying or permanently preventing EPA from fulfilling its legal obligations to protect public health and the environment,” according to the White House.

Existing law already requires agencies to submit cost-benefit analysis to the Congress of any rule costing over $100 million annually, therefore making H.R. 1582 superfluous, according to the White House.

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