published : 2023-11-04

House Approves Funding Bill Slashing EPA Budget and Expanding Domestic Energy Production

'It Prioritizes American Energy for Independence,' Says GOP Rep Zinke

A photo of the House of Representatives chamber during the vote on the appropriations bill. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The House passed a sweeping appropriations bill Friday morning that would substantially slash the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget and ensure the Department of the Interior (DOI) expands energy and mineral production on public lands.

In a 213-203 vote Friday, the House approved the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, a standalone bill to fund the DOI, its subagencies, the EPA, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Among its central provisions, the bill would cut EPA funding to $6.2 billion, a staggering 39% decrease from FY23 levels, returning the environmental agency to budget levels not seen since the early 1990s.

The bill also repeals several EPA actions, including the Waters of the United States rule, and prohibits the EPA from imposing mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure-management systems.

A close-up shot of Representative Mike Simpson speaking during the bill's discussion. (Taken with Nikon D850)

Representative Ryan Zinke, former Interior secretary, expressed his support, stating, 'EPA grew significantly, and it received tens of billions of dollars in the last few years. And it'd be nice if they followed the law. But when they decide not to follow the law, then, as a guardian of taxpayer dollars, I think 40% is probably appropriate.'

The bill would provide the DOI and its subagencies with a budget of $14.3 billion, $677 million below FY23 levels and $3.4 billion below President Biden's request for FY24.

It also includes provisions to require additional oil and gas lease sales, critical mineral production, and limit 'abuse of the Endangered Species Act'.

The Department of the Interior led by Secretary Deb Haaland has taken actions restricting oil and gas development on public lands. The appropriations bill seeks to force the administration to allow for more energy development.

An aerial view of a wind farm, symbolizing the focus on American energy production. (Taken with DJI Mavic 2 Pro)

Furthermore, the bill blocks the Bureau of Land Management from enforcing its draft resource management plan to end new oil leases across 1.6 million acres in Colorado.

'Biden has declared an all-out war on our energy industry here in America and has surrendered our energy independence,' said Representative Lauren Boebert. 'Every step that we can take to secure energy development here in America is imperative.'