FY 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 4:45pm

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Leahy,

As you prepare to consider the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, and given the need to restrain overall federal spending and the discretionary spending caps currently in effect, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to focus federal resources on projects and activities that offer the greatest potential to contribute to an environment conducive to stronger economic growth and to address several important policy-
related concerns.

The Chamber strongly urges you to appropriate sufficient funds to enable the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fully implement the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA). LCSA amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to modernize the way chemicals are regulated in the United States, and it requires that the TSCA program be funded through a combination of congressional appropriations and industry fees.

The Chamber encourages the Committee to support full funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works Program authorized in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, as well as up to $2.2 million in administrative costs and $25 million for implementation of the WIFIA loan program.

The Chamber supports including provisions that would provide for the reasonable implementation of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. These provisions would enable states to implement the 2008 ozone standards first before having to implement the 2015 ozone standards, and to address permitting concerns in areas that meet the 2008 standard but fall short of the 2015 standard. These commonsense measures would allow for a balance between environmental stewardship and economic growth because states can continue to take steps to improve air quality without expending resources unnecessarily and stymying economic development and job creation.

The Chamber would support, if offered, language clarifying the scope of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program administered under

Section 402 of the Clean Water Act so that subsurface discharges, including those into groundwater, are not regulated under the NPDES program. Non-point source programs and other statutes already regulate these types of discharges and the Chamber believes that duplicative regulation is overly burdensome and unnecessary.

The Chamber appreciates your consideration of these recommendations as you consider the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

Neil L. Bradley

cc: Members of the Committee on Appropriations