Simpson Examines Energy, Environment Budgets
Questions Agency Leaders on Nuclear Fuel Storage and Regulatory Overreach, Including Clean Water Act Regulations
Washington- Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today held a hearing with Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz and attended a hearing with Administrator Gina McCarthy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Simpson is the Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
At the first hearing, Simpson noted that the Obama Administration has once again proposed a significant increase for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy while proposing to reduce Fossil Energy and Nuclear Energy. Simpson also discussed the long term strategic goals of the Department of Energy and questioned Secretary Moniz on whether the administration’s request for the currently shut-down Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will fully support the target dates of reopening the facility in March of 2016.
In response to Secretary Moniz’s comments that Yucca Mountain is an unworkable solution due to the lack of a consent-based process in selecting it, Chairman Simpson said, “Consent-based is in the eye of the beholder. Talk to the local county commissioners around Yucca Mountain. They support it. That’s consent-based. Secondly, the Blue Ribbon Commission was precluded from looking at Yucca Mountain (as an option) for anything. So to be fair, let’s admit that the decision not to proceed with Yucca Mountain after spending billions of dollars there was a political decision.”
In the afternoon, Simpson questioned Administrator McCarthy on the EPA’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request. Simpson expressed deep concerns with the EPA’s proposed rules regarding the Clean Water Act.
“We aren’t talking about waters that were unregulated before. These were regulated by the state,” said Simpson. “I think this is a vast expansion of the EPA’s jurisdiction.”
Simpson has been a leading voice in opposing the EPA rule and last year secured provisions in the Cromnibus appropriations bill that restricted the administration’s application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural practices for soil and water conservation.
EPA’s FY16 budget request is a 6% increase from FY15 which, if enacted, would be the third largest budget in EPA history. The EPA’s request represents a stark contrast to when Congressman Simpson chaired the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and wrote budgets that scaled back the agency’s funding to below FY1978 levels.
“The EPA ignores the realities of our debt and deficit by requesting increased spending,” said Simpson after the hearing. “Idahoans don’t want EPA overreach and I am concerned this budget is designed to do just that. This subcommittee will continue to challenge the EPA’s obtrusive policies that far too often harm the economy and kill jobs.”