Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Environmental Implications of the US Omnibus Spending Bill

A new spending bill may have bipartisan support but it has both good and bad implications for the environment. On Monday January 12, 2013, the House and Senate appropriations committee chairs announced that they had agreed on an omnibus appropriations bill (FY14). The bilateral agreement put together by House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) allocates $1.012 trillion in federal spending.

On the upside environmentalists successfully fended off Republican attempts to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have impeded the agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs).

But environmentalists were disappointed that the inefficient incandescent light bulb was saved by the bill. The bill stops energy efficiency regulations imposed during George W. Bush's administration and continued under President Obama that would have phased out incandescent light bulbs in favor of more efficient lighting like LEDs.

The spending legislation will also put an end to the proposed high-speed rail project in California. Finally only a portion of the scientific research funding cut by sequestration is restored by the bill.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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