"County Payments Eat Hole in Interior-EPA Bill, Possibly Sapping Key Programs"

"A proposal by House appropriators to carve out $442 million of the Interior Department and U.S. EPA budgets to pay for rural county services has raised concerns among lawmakers of both parties that it could sap money from other important agency functions, including land conservation, wildfire prevention and clean water.

And if Congress this year decides to fund county services as part of the regular appropriations process -- something it has not done since 2007 -- it could also hamper efforts among conservationists, county advocates and Western lawmakers to find a long-term solution both for county payments and federal land conservation.

The House Appropriations Committee this morning will vote on a $30.2 billion bill to fund Interior, EPA, the Forest Service and other programs for fiscal 2015."

Phil Taylor reports for E&E Daily July 15, 2014.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014