Omnibus jabs on light bulbs, coal, but skips big fights – EPA will miss cooling tower deadline

Omnibus jabs on light bulbs, coal, but skips big fights – EPA will miss cooling tower deadline

OMNIBUS INCLUDES JABS BUT SKIPS BIG FIGHTS: Last night’s bipartisan House-Senate omnibus spending deal includes plenty of familiar jabs against EPA and energy-efficient light bulbs but also provides spending boosts for national parks and avoids deeper sequestration cuts that both parties sought to avoid. The deal represents a continuation of a breakthrough the two parties reached late last year to avoid another government shutdown and to increase domestic funding above sequestration levels. It gives $30.1 billion overall for Interior and environmental programs, $231 million above the enacted level for fiscal year 2013. That includes a $299 million boost for EPA from post-sequestration 2013 levels. Darren Goode has more:

Light bulbs: In the deal is a GOP-backed provision aimed at blocking funding for the implementation or enforcement of federal light bulb efficiency standards. While the provision is catnip for conservative voters, it will probably have no real effect. The standards, which George W. Bush signed into law in 2007, have largely already gone into effect, and the light bulb industry began shifting toward more efficient bulbs years ago.

Coal: It includes limits on mountaintop mining regulations and a hold on rules that would stop funding of overseas coal-fired power plants. The Obama administration would be barred until Sept. 30 from enforcing or setting the rule proposed in November by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s social policy statement on coal, or from carrying out the Export-Import Bank’s Dec. 12 proposed regulation aimed at prohibiting U.S. funding for new coal-fired power abroad. The bill also hits EPA by prohibiting it from establishing greenhouse gas regulations for livestock producers.

Uranium: The bill gives Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz until June 30 to submit a “management plan” that assesses the national security demand for tritium and low and highly enriched uranium through 2060, a demand that can only be met with a domestic source. The request is particularly poignant request in light of USEC’s financial struggles to build its Ohio enrichment project.

Author: AFGE Local 704

Representing over 900 bargaining unit employees working at the U.S. EPA Region 5 Offices in Chicago, Ann Arbor, MI and Westlake, OH.

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