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By Ari Natter
April 12 — House Republicans released a $37.4 billion energy and water appropriations bill April 12 that would block the Clean Water Rule, among other riders.
The draft legislation, which is scheduled to receive a markup by a House Appropriations subcommittee April 13, provides $645 million for coal, oil and other fossil energy technologies within the Energy Department while cutting renewable energy programs by $248 million, according to a summary by committee Republicans.
The legislation also provides funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and a mixed oxide facility being constructed in South Carolina to convert weapons-grade plutonium into commercial fuel—two projects that are opposed by the Obama administration.
In all, the bill provides $11 billion for energy programs within the Department of Energy, $6.1 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers and $1.1 billion for the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation, according to the summary.
Similar to previous versions of the bill, the legislation would prohibit funds from being used for implementation of the Clean Water Rule (RIN 2040-AF30), which seeks to clarify which tributaries and wetlands are subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
The legislation also prohibits any changes to the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act, a move supported by organizations representing mining companies such as Peabody Energy Corp. and Alpha Natural Resources Inc.
In addition, the bill “restricts the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches,” the summary said.
Senate appropriators are expected to unveil details about their version of the legislation April 13 in advance of an Appropriations subcommittee's markup of their bill.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, said the bill was expected to be brought to the floor the week of April 18.
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