Interior Appropriations Bill Includes Newhouse’s Provisions Supporting North Cascade Smokejumper Base, Federal Gray Wolf Delisting
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the House Committee on Appropriations approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This legislation provides annual funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and various independent and related agencies. The legislation included Rep. Newhouse’s measures that are priorities for Central Washington, including the North Cascades Smokejumper Base, gray wolf delisting, the Wolf-Livestock Loss Demonstration Program, requiring the EPA to adhere to the law’s intended scope rather than expanding regulations to target farmers, and grazing management.
“By approving this legislation, the Committee is providing for critical priorities for rural communities across the country and in Central Washington,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I am pleased that my language was included supporting the North Cascades Smokejumper Base remaining in Winthrop and directing the U.S. Forest Service provide a report on the needs of the base and the effect it has on the economy and disaster preparedness level of its local community. It is also important for federal agencies to move forward with rules to delist the gray wolf and to help farmers with livestock losses due to wolves’ predation. Additionally, concerns raised by my constituents have underscored the need to ensure that the Forest Service’s process for grazing should be open and transparent for all ranchers. Finally, this legislation aims to ensure that EPA no longer funds campaigns like ‘What’s Upstream.’”
The legislation includes the following measures and report language offered by Rep. Newhouse:
North Cascades Smokejumper Base – Rep. Newhouse had language included in the Manager’s Amendment that was adopted in the full committee mark-up today. The language below will be added to the report under “Wildland Fire Preparedness” on page 76:
- “The Committee is aware the North Cascades Smokejumper Base may need facility upgrades, improvements, and renovations to meet Federal Aviation Administration compliance standards and requirements. The Committee understands the value to the local community of maintaining the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop, Washington, and appreciates the site’s historical significance as the birthplace of the United States’ Smokejumping program. The Committee directs the [U.S. Forest Service] provide a report on the needs of the North Cascades Smokejumper Base, as well as its other smokejumper bases, and to include in the report a description of the effect each has on the economy and disaster preparedness level of its local community.”
Promoting the De-Listing of the Gray Wolf – Rep. Newhouse’s amendment to prohibit the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from using any funds to continue treating the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act was included. The amendment does not delist the gray wolf but encourages U.S. Fish & Wildlife to move forward with its own proposed delisting rule. See page 62 of the Bill Text.
The bill also includes Rep. Newhouse’s language directing the Secretary of Interior to reissue the final rule delisting recovered gray wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes, consistent with congressional action on recovered gray wolves in Idaho and Montana in the fiscal year 2011 appropriation. See page 15 of the Report.
Wolf-Livestock Loss Demonstration Program: Rep. Newhouse’s amendment last year on the Wolf-Livestock Loss Demonstration Program was included in this year’s legislation to continue the program’s funding. See page 15 of the Report.
What’s Upstream and Prohibiton on Lobbying/Advocacy with Federal Funds – Rep. Newhouse’s amendment last year was included this year to address the EPA-funded, anti-agriculture “What’s Upstream” lobbying campaign in Washington State. The amendment reiterates current law by prohibiting funds from being used in support of grassroots advocacy campaigns whose efforts are intended to persuade the outcomes of legislation in either Congress or other official in federal or state governments.
- “TITLE IV – GENERAL PROVISIONS (INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS) – RESTRICTION ON USE OF FUNDS – SEC. 401. No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall be available for any activity or the publication or distribution of literature that in any way tends to promote public support or opposition to any legislative proposal on which Congressional action is not complete other than to communicate to Members of Congress as described in 18 U.S.C. 1913.” See page 117 of the Bill Text.
- In 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that EPA violated prohibitions against publicity or propaganda and grassroots lobbying contained in appropriations Acts. The Committee is also aware that grant funds were used to support billboards, websites and other advocacy efforts in the Pacific Northwest. The Committee reminds EPA that funding may not be used in a manner contrary to Section 401 of this bill.” See page 59 of the Report.
Grazing Management and Permits— Rep. Newhouse’s language was included for the Committee to request each Forest Service region increase transparency and reporting on how their monitoring resources are used on the ground to satisfy monitoring requirements or for other purposes. See page 72 of the Report.