Daily Archives: July 16, 2014

House Subcommittee Votes to Curtail Environmental Protections

By Fred Hoefner

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

On Wednesday, July 9, the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee passed a bill to fund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and related agencies in fiscal year (FY) 2015, which begins on October 1, 2014. The bill cuts EPA funding by $717 million, or 9 percent, relative to current already tight spending levels. Funding for the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within DOI remained largely intact. Most strikingly, the bill contains 35 separate policy riders aimed at curtailing the Obama Administration’s implementation of key environmental protections.

The multitude of legislative riders attached to various FY 2015 appropriations bills in the House–including two riders to the agriculture appropriations bill, one intended to waive school nutrition standards, and another aimed at undermining the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s effort to protect livestock farmers from abusive and deceptive practices by meatpacking corporations–are a big part of the reason that Congress is struggling to pass appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year. The policy riders are topics within the jurisdiction of congressional authorizing committees, not the appropriations committees, but given their annual nature, appropriations bills become ripe targets for legislating in addition to determining funding levels.

Among the riders included in the Interior-Environment bill are provisions to:

▪ Prevent EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas emissions restrictions for power plants;

▪ Remove EPA’s existing authority to regulate carbon pollution from large stationary facilities;

▪ Prohibit the Administration from designating coal ash as a hazardous waste;

▪ Bar the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from creating or expanding wildlife refuges; and

▪ Prohibit the listing two species of sage grouse as endangered.

The bill also contains a rider to halt EPA from finalizing its Proposed Rule to clarify the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In issuing the Proposed Rule, EPA took an important and overdue step toward ensuring the protection of our nation’s wetlands, streams, and other waters. The CWA is the nation’s primary tool for protecting wetlands that are connected in some way to other bodies of water, such as rivers or streams; however, the scope of the CWA had been muddied by earlier court rulings.

Were the House and Senate to pass their respective appropriations bills, it is very unlikely that the riders would survive negotiations over the makeup of the final legislation. In recent years, the House Majority has loaded up appropriations bills with policy riders to have more leverage in calling for spending cuts when negotiating with the Senate, and getting perhaps a few of the riders through the process as well. Unfortunately, what this means is that, in a year when both chambers of Congress were able to agree upon overall spending levels, Congress will nonetheless very likely get so bogged down by policy riders that it cannot get its work done in passing FY 2015 appropriations bills.

As the number of legislative days left before the November elections slip by, it will become extremely difficult for Congress to finalize appropriations bills, or some package of appropriations bills, prior to recessing for the month of October to go home and campaign. It is still possible though, and we strongly encourage Congress to get the job done and done on time.  The far worse, but more likely, alternative is that Congress will simply continue current funding levels on autopilot under what is known as a “continuing resolution,” at least for part of the next fiscal year.

Read our earlier blog post for more information on the status of FY 2015 appropriations.

Registration Open for Youth Dove Hunt

Family members are welcome to attend this half-day hunt

The Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) invite youth age 16 and younger to register for their 7th Annual Youth Dove Hunt. The Sept. 1 opening day hunt will take place at Clinton Wildlife Area west ofLawrence and will begin just before sunrise and run through mid-day. Mentors will accompany all participants, but non-hunting family members are encouraged to attend, as well.

Shotguns, non-toxic shells, and eye and ear protection will be provided to participants, who are encouraged to dress in camouflage or dark-colored clothing.

To register for this event, contact QUWF member Dr. John Hill at (785) 550-5657 or by e-mail at[email protected].

Participants age 16 must have a Kansas hunting license, unless exempt by Kansas law and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. For more information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com  and click “Services / Education / Hunter.”

The dove season is Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Nov. 1-9. For information regarding migratory bird hunting regulations, license and stamp requirements, legal methods of take, non-toxic shot and more, visitwww.ksoutdoors.com  and click “Hunting / Migratory Birds / Federal Migratory Bird Regulations.”

Public Meetings to Discuss Pheasants

Public invited to attend pheasant information meetings. Voice your opinion!


If you have an interest in pheasants and pheasant hunting, plan to attend one of two public meetings to be conducted in conjunction with Pheasant Tour 2014. The first public meeting will be on Monday, July 28, at the ComfortInnConvention Center, 2225 S. Range in Colby. The second public meeting will be on Tuesday, July 29, at the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Auditorium, 801 Campus Drive, Garden City Community College campus, Garden City. Both meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.

Pheasant Tour 2014 is a cooperative effort between the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and Pheasants Forever, designed to inform the public, decision-makers, and conservation partners about the status of this popular game bird and to examine what can be done to improve pheasant populations. Pheasant numbers have declined significantly across the Great Plains due to the impact long-term, severe drought has had on habitat and reproductive success of all upland birds.

The tour will have two components: First an invitation-only bus tour that will visit sites providing examples of conservation efforts and habitat projects that benefit pheasants, as well as updates on current research projects. Sites will include a variety of state, federal and private conservation programs. The second component will be the two public meetings.

The meetings will begin with presentations from KDWPT biologists on the status of pheasants inKansas, along with information about current efforts and programs that benefit pheasants. Time will be allotted at the end of each meeting for questions and suggestions.