Congress has approved a massive package of spending bills and has sent them to President Trump’s desk. Here’s a brief look at the big-ticket items included in the package and what it means for climate, clean energy and other environmental measures.
The spending package includes $900 billion for the Department of Defense, which will become one of the largest funding allotments for the Department of Defense in the department’s history. The bill would boost investment in foreign programs, including humanitarian assistance.
The White House is fighting a Democrat-led effort to increase spending on Green New Deal goals.
The legislation includes $1.2 billion for offshore drilling and increased oversight over Interior Department fossil fuel leasing practices. It would also increase funding for a handful of conservation and climate programs, including $270 million for sea level rise planning and sea level rise reduction.
EPA A GOP priority, the bill increases funding for the EPA by $2.7 billion — including boosting targeted funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E. It earmarks $300 million to combat climate change and sea level rise. It provides money for a pilot project to capture carbon dioxide from power plants and pump it back into the atmosphere. It includes money for efforts to curb the use of methane and funding for the EPA’s Rural Energy for America Program, an outreach program to spur rural economic development.
The bill bans the EPA from considering whether hydraulic fracturing may damage water resources. It does allow the EPA to attempt to evaluate impacts to groundwater if it discovers its own capacity to do so is limited, but it’s unclear if the White House will uphold the ban.
The Interior Department
The omnibus bill will fund Interior Department operations through Sept. 30. It boosts funding for oil and gas extraction as well as infrastructure and tribal tribal environmental initiatives. It also includes $200 million for recovery and cleanup in the wake of the BP oil spill, its first allocated payout in the aftermath of the disaster. The House approved separate legislation earlier this week to be paid for with money to be tapped from the Trust Fund for the Wild and Scenic Rivers program.
National Park Service
If the measure becomes law, the National Park Service would receive $10.7 billion. It includes money for the agency’s Interagency Land Management program, which could develop an inventory of Native American tribal lands to determine what kinds of resources are at risk.
Under the omnibus bill, the Energy Department will receive $27.5 billion, a 7 percent increase over the 2018 budget. That funding includes money for Department of Energy offices, such as the agency’s efforts to address global warming and security, and its research efforts to diversify fuel sources. It also provides $45.7 million for a water pollution control lab to help increase the country’s water supply.
National Space Council
The legislation provides funding for the National Space Council, an advisory committee created by President Trump to coordinate and better coordinate the federal government’s efforts on issues that affect NASA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.