Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House without amendment (06/18/2015)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Highlights:

The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 provides appropriations for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and related agencies for FY2016.

The bill provides regular annual appropriations for most of the Department of the Interior, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Park Service (NPS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education. It does not include the Bureau of Reclamation or the Central Utah Project.

Related agencies funded in the bill include the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, the Department of Health and Human Service's Indian Health Service (IHS), the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The bill decreases overall discretionary spending for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies below FY2015 levels.

Compared to FY2015 levels, the bill increases funding for Interior and the IHS while decreasing funding for the EPA and the Forest Service.

Within the Interior budget, the bill:

  • increases funding for the BLM, the NPS, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education;
  • decreases funding for the USFWS; and
  • funds the USGS at the FY2015 level.

Also included in the bill are several provisions that affect the ability of agencies to issue regulations in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water quality, endangered species, hydraulic fracturing, and oceans policy.

Full Summary:

Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016

Provides FY2016 appropriations for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and related agencies.

TITLE I--DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Provides appropriations to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for:

  • Management of Lands and Resources;
  • Land Acquisition;
  • Oregon and California Grant Lands;
  • Range Improvements;
  • Service Charges, Deposits, and Forfeitures; and
  • Miscellaneous Trust Funds.

Prohibits appropriations provided by this bill from being used for: (1) the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros in the care of the BLM or its contractors or, (2) the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.

Provides appropriations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for:

  • Resource Management,
  • Construction,
  • Land Acquisition,
  • the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund,
  • the National Wildlife Refuge Fund,
  • the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund,
  • Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation,
  • the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, and
  • State and Tribal Wildlife Grants.

Provides appropriations to the National Park Service (NPS) for:

  • Operation of the National Park System,
  • National Recreation and Preservation,
  • the Historic Preservation Fund,
  • Construction,
  • Land Acquisition and State Assistance, and
  • the Centennial Challenge.

Rescinds FY2016 contract authority provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.

Permits the NPS to retain specified funds authorized to be disbursed under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 for the costs of administration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund grants authorized by the Act.

Permits NPS funds to be transferred to the Federal Highway Administration for the Federal Lands Access Program, which was established to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within federal lands.

Provides appropriations to the U.S. Geological Survey for Surveys, Investigations, and Research.

Provides appropriations to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for Ocean Energy Management.

Provides appropriations to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement for: (1) Offshore Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and (2) Oil Spill Research.

Provides appropriations to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for: (1) Regulation and Technology, and (2) the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.

Provides appropriations to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) for:

  • Operation of Indian Programs,
  • Construction,
  • Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians, and
  • the Indian Guaranteed Loan Program Account.

Permits the BIA to contract for services for the Power Division of the San Carlos Irrigation Project.

Limits the use of funds for contracts, grants, compacts, or cooperative agreements with the BIA under the Indian Self-Determination Act or the Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994.

Permits tribes to return appropriated funds without diminishing the federal government's trust responsibilities or the government-to-government relationship with the tribe.

Prohibits the use of BIA funds, other than funds provided for assistance to public schools, for the operation of schools in Alaska.

Limits the number of schools and the expansion of grade levels in individual schools in the BIE school system.

Specifies the distribution of indirect and administrative costs to certain tribes.

Prohibits the use of funds for the proposed rule entitled "Federal Acknowledgement of American Indian Tribes."

Provides appropriations for Departmental Offices, including:

  • the Office of the Secretary,
  • Insular Affairs,
  • the Office of the Solicitor,
  • the Office of Inspector General, and
  • the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians.

Provides funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program to provide compensation to local governments for the loss of tax revenues from the presence of federal land.

Provides appropriations for Department-Wide Programs, including:

  • Wildland Fire Management,
  • the FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund,
  • the Central Hazardous Materials Fund,
  • the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund, and
  • the Working Capital Fund.

(Sec. 101) Permits the transfer of funds within bureaus and offices for specified emergencies if: (1) the Secretary of the Interior approves the transfer, (2) funds provided to Interior for emergencies have been exhausted, and (3) funds used under this section are replenished by a supplemental appropriation requested as promptly as possible.

(Sec. 102) Permits the transfer of funds throughout Interior for specified emergencies if the Secretary of the Interior approves the transfer, subject to specified requirements.

(Sec. 103) Permits Interior to use appropriations provided in this title for:

  • employing temporary or intermittent experts and consultants;
  • purchasing and replacing motor vehicles;
  • hiring, maintenance, and operation of aircraft;
  • hiring of passenger motor vehicles;
  • purchasing reprints;
  • paying for telephone services in private residences in the field; and
  • paying for library membership in societies or associations which issue publications to members only or at a lower price to members.  

(Sec. 104) Permits the transfer of funds between the BIA, the BIE, and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians for Indian trust management and reform activities, provided that total funding for historical accounting activities does not exceed funding provided by this bill for that purpose.

(Sec. 105) Permits Interior to redistribute any Tribal Priority Allocation funds to alleviate tribal funding inequities by transferring funds to address identified unmet needs, dual enrollment, overlapping service areas, or inaccurate distribution methodologies.

(Sec. 106) Authorizes the acquisition of lands and waters for the purpose of operating and maintaining facilities that support visitors to Ellis, Governors, and Liberty Islands in New Jersey and New York.

(Sec. 107) Directs Interior to collect a nonrefundable inspection fee in FY2016 from operators of facilities subject to inspection under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Requires the fee to be deposited in the Offshore Safety and Environmental Enforcement account.

Requires specified annual fees to be collected for facilities that are above the waterline, excluding drilling rigs, and in place at the start of the fiscal year.

Requires specified fees for drilling rigs to be assessed for all inspections completed in FY2016.

(Sec. 108) Permits Interior to transfer funds to implement the reorganization of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, subject to reprogramming guidelines.

(Sec. 109) Permits Interior to enter into multiyear cooperative agreements with nonprofits and other entities for the long-term care and maintenance of excess wild horses and burros on private land.

(Sec. 110) Directs the USFWS, in carrying out responsibilities to protect threatened and endangered species of salmon, to implement a system of mass marking of salmonid stocks intended for harvest that are released from federally operated or financed hatcheries.

(Sec. 111) Amends the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 to make permanent the requirement that a person exhaust administrative hearings and appeal procedures prior to bringing a civil action challenging BLM decisions concerning grazing on public lands.

(Sec. 112) Prohibits funds from being used to implement, administer, or enforce Secretarial Order No. 3310, which requires the BLM to inventory and protect public lands with wilderness characteristics.

(Sec. 113) Amends the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 to extend the authority of Interior to enter into rental or lease agreements that benefit BIE operated schools.

(Sec. 114) Increases the authorization of appropriations for the National Park Service's Volunteers in Parks program.

(Sec. 115) Permits the BIA and the BIE in carrying out work involving cooperation with state, local, and tribal governments, to record obligations against accounts receivable from the entities, except that total obligations at the end of the fiscal year must not exceed total budgetary resources.

(Sec. 116) Increases or extends the authorizations of appropriations for certain National Heritage Areas.

(Sec. 117) Prohibits funds from being used to write or issue rules for the sage grouse pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

(Sec. 118) Extends the authority for Interior to use funds provided to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to establish higher minimum rates of pay for certain geophysicists, geologists, and petroleum engineers employed by Interior in the Gulf of Mexico Region.

(Sec. 119) Extends the authority for Interior to use funds provided for the BLM and the BIA to establish higher minimum rates of basic pay for certain petroleum engineers and petroleum engineering technicians employed by Interior to carry out the inspection and regulation of onshore oil and gas operations on public lands.

(Sec. 120) Prohibits funds from being used to draft, prepare, implement, or enforce any new or revised regulation or order related to the domestic trade and transportation of ivory that has been lawfully imported.

(Sec. 121) Requires Interior to reissue two final rules removing recovered wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes from the endangered species list, without regard to any other statute or regulation that applies to the issuance of the rules. Exempts the reissuances from judicial review.

(Sec. 122) Requires Interior to amend a specified rule pertaining to the long-eared bat to revise the incidental takes that are permitted and reopen the public comment period.

(Sec. 123) Amends federal regulations to include echinoderms commonly known as sea urchins and sea cucumbers in the shellfish and fishery products imported for human or animal consumption or taken in U.S. waters or on the high seas for recreational purposes that may enter or exit at any customs port.

TITLE II--ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Provides appropriations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for:

  • Science and Technology,
  • Environmental Programs and Management,
  • the Office of Inspector General,
  • Buildings and Facilities,
  • Hazardous Substance Superfund,
  • the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program,
  • Inland Oil Spill Programs, and
  • State and Tribal Assistance Grants.

Permits the EPA to award cooperative agreements to federally recognized Indian tribes or intertribal consortia to carry out the Agency's function to implement federal environmental programs required or authorized by law in the absence of an acceptable tribal program.

Authorizes the EPA to collect and obligate pesticide registration service fees.

Permits the EPA to: (1) transfer funds from the Environmental Programs and Management account to other federal agencies to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and (2) enter into interagency agreements and provide grants to certain entities to support the effort.

Permits specified funds to be used for the construction, alteration, repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of facilities.

Requires the EPA to base policies and actions regarding air emissions from forest biomass on the principle that forest biomass emissions do not increase overall carbon dioxide accumulations in the atmosphere when USDA Forest Inventory and Analysis data show that forest carbon stocks in the United States are stable or increasing on a national scale, or when forest biomass is derived from mill residuals, harvest residuals, or forest management activities.

Rescinds specified unobligated balances from the State and Tribal Assistance Grants account.

Permits the EPA to use funds to make grants to federally recognized Indian tribes notwithstanding certain provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act).

TITLE III--RELATED AGENCIES

Provides appropriations to the Department of Agriculture for the Forest Service, including for:

  • Forest and Rangeland Research;
  • State and Private Forestry;
  • the National Forest System;
  • Capital Improvement and Maintenance;
  • Land Acquisition;
  • the Range Betterment Fund;
  • Gifts, Donations, and Bequests for Forest and Rangeland Research;
  • Management of National Forest Lands for Subsistence Uses;
  • Wildland Fire Management; and
  • the FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund.

Permits Forest Service appropriations to be used for:

  • the purchase and use of motor vehicles and aircraft;
  • employment of temporary personnel;
  • purchase, erection, and alteration of buildings and other public improvements;
  • acquisition of land and waters;
  • expenses pursuant to the Volunteers in the National Forest Act of 1972;
  • uniforms; and
  • debt collection contracts.

Permits Forest Service appropriations to be transferred to the Wildland Fire Management account for forest fire fighting, emergency rehabilitation of burned-over or damaged lands or waters, and fire preparedness due to severe burning conditions, provided that USDA notifies Congress that all fire suppression funds will be obligated within 30 days. Requires funds used to be replenished by a supplemental appropriation requested as promptly as possible.

Permits Forest Service appropriations to be used for forest and rangeland research, technical information, and related forestry and natural resources activities in foreign countries.

Permits Forest Service appropriations to be transferred to the BLM for removal, preparation, and adoption of excess wild horses and burros from National Forest System lands, and for surveys to designate the boundaries of the lands.  

Prohibits Forest Service appropriations from being transferred using authority provided in several specified statutory provisions.

Prohibits Forest Service appropriations from being reprogrammed except with prior approval of Congress and in accordance with procedures contained in the report accompanying this bill.

Limits transfers to the USDA Working Capital Fund and to USDA for Department Reimbursable Programs (commonly referred to as Greenbook charges).  

Limits the use of funds to support the Youth Conservation Corps and the Public Lands Corps.

Permits the Chief of the Forest Service to use specified funds for official reception and representation expenses.

Provides matching funds to aid conservation projects of the National Forest Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Permits funds to be used to provide technical assistance to rural communities and natural resource-based businesses for sustainable rural development purposes.

Permits Forest Service appropriations to be used for payments to counties within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Permits Forest Service appropriations to be used to meet the non-federal share requirement included in a provision of the Older Americans Act of 1965 related to the older American community service employment program. 

Permits specified funds to be assessed for the purpose of performing fire, administrative, and other facilities maintenance and decommissioning.

Permits specified funds to be used to reimburse the USDA Office of the General Counsel for travel and related expenses incurred as a result of assistance or participation requested by the Forest Service at meetings, training sessions, management reviews, land purchase negotiations, and similar non-litigation related matters.

Permits an individual employed under any project funded under title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965 to be considered a federal employee.

Provides appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services for:

  • the Indian Health Service (IHS) for Indian Health Services and Indian Health Facilities,
  • the National Institutes of Health for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and
  • the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Provides appropriations to Other Related Agencies, including the:

  • Executive Office of the President for the Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Environmental Quality;
  • the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board;
  • the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation;
  • the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development;
  • the Smithsonian Institution;
  • the National Gallery of Art;
  • the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts;
  • the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars;
  • the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities;
  • the Commission of Fine Arts;
  • the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation;
  • the National Capital Planning Commission; and
  • the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sets forth permissible, restricted, and prohibited uses for funds provided by this and other appropriations Acts.

(Sec. 401) Prohibits funds from being used to promote public support or opposition to any legislative proposal before Congress.

(Sec. 402) Prohibits any appropriation contained in this bill from remaining available for obligation beyond the current fiscal year unless expressly permitted in this bill.

(Sec. 403) Requires specified administrative expenses to be presented in annual budget justifications and approved by Congress.

(Sec. 404) Prohibits funds from being used to accept or process applications for a patent for any mining or mill site claim located under the general mining laws, subject to exceptions.

(Sec. 405) Extends limits on the use of FY1994-FY2013 and FY2014 funds for contract support costs on Indian contracts.

(Sec. 406) Limits the use of FY2016 funds for contract support costs on Indian contracts.

(Sec. 407) Permits Forest Service land management plans that are more than 15 years old if USDA is acting in good faith to update the plans.

(Sec. 408) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to conduct preleasing, leasing, and related activities under either the Mineral Leasing Act or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act within the boundaries of a National Monument.

(Sec. 409) Restricts land acquisition funds provided by this bill from being used for declarations of taking or complaints in condemnation without the approval of Congress. Includes an exception for funds provided to implement the Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act of 1989, or for Florida to acquire lands for Everglades restoration.

(Sec. 410) Sets forth requirements regarding the sale of timber from a specified region in Alaska.

(Sec. 411) Prohibits no-bid contracts and grants except under certain circumstances where a contract is authorized by federal law or was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this bill.

(Sec. 412) Requires agencies receiving funds in this bill to post on their public websites any report required to be submitted by Congress if it serves the national interest. Includes exceptions for national security or proprietary information.

(Sec. 413) Establishes grant guidelines for the NEA.

(Sec. 414) Establishes priorities for programs administered by the NEA.

(Sec. 415) Directs Interior, the EPA, the Forest Service, and the IHS to provide Congress with quarterly reports on the status of balances of appropriations.

(Sec. 416) Directs the President to submit a comprehensive report to Congress detailing all federal agency funding for climate change programs, projects, and activities in FY2015 and FY2016.

(Sec. 417) Prohibits funds from being used to promulgate or implement any regulation requiring the issuance of permits under the Clean Air Act for carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, or methane emissions resulting from biological processes associated with livestock production.

(Sec. 418) Prohibits the use of any funds to implement any provision in a rule that requires mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.

(Sec. 419) Amends the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to extend current recreation fee authority.

(Sec. 420) Amends the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2000 to extend the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Prohibits the Commission from issuing a solicitation or contract for construction of the memorial for FY2016.

(Sec. 421) Prohibits funds from being used to regulate the lead content of ammunition, ammunition components, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act or any other law.

(Sec. 422) Prohibits funds from being used to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations and guidance in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) including specified rules pertaining to such jurisdiction.

(Sec. 423) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to carry out or otherwise enforce proposed regulations published by Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement related to protecting streams from the impacts of surface mining operations.

(Sec. 424) Prohibits funds from being used to prohibit the use or access to federal land for hunting, fishing, or recreational shooting except for public safety.

(Sec. 425) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to implement the coastal and marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management components of the National Ocean Policy.

(Sec. 426) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to implement or enforce the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule until the EPA has approved a commercially available lead test kit.

(Sec. 427) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to implement or enforce any regulation that would establish new financial responsibility requirements pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

(Sec. 428) Prohibits EPA from using funds provided by this bill to develop, issue, implement, or enforce any greenhouse gas New Source Performance Standards on any new or existing source that is an electric utility generating unit.

(Sec. 429) Prohibits the EPA from using funds to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definition of the terms "fill material" or "discharge of fill material" for the purposes of the Clean Water Act.

(Sec. 430) Extends contracting authority that permits USDA and Interior to consider local contractors when awarding contracts for certain activities on public lands.

(Sec. 431) Amends the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 to extend the authorization of appropriations through FY2017.

(Sec. 432) Extends the authority of the Forest Service to renew certain grazing permits.

(Sec. 433) Requires Interior and USDA to make vacant grazing allotments available to holders of grazing permits or leases if lands covered by the permits or leases or other grazing lands used by the holder are unusable because of drought or wildfire.

(Sec. 434) Prohibits funds from being used to require the transfer of a water right as a condition for the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement.

Prohibits funds from being used to require any water user to apply for or acquire a water right in the name of the United States under state law as a condition of the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement.

(Sec. 435) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for regulations or guidance under the Clean Air Act that changes the status of any hydrofluorocarbon used as a refrigerant or in foam blowing agents, applications, or uses from acceptable to unacceptable for purposes of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. (The SNAP program is EPA's program to evaluate and regulate substitutes for ozone-depleting chemicals that are being phased out under the stratospheric ozone protection provisions of the Clean Air Act.)

(Sec. 436) Prohibits any funds made available by a drinking water treatment revolving loan fund as authorized by the Safe Drinking Water Act from being used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public water system or treatment works unless all of the iron and steel products used in the project are produced in the United States, subject to specified exceptions and waiver procedures.

(Sec. 437) Prohibits funds from being used to incorporate the social cost of carbon into any rulemaking or guidance document until a new Interagency Working Group makes specified revisions to the estimates.

(Sec. 438) Prohibits the EPA from using funds provided by this bill for a national primary or secondary ambient air quality standard for ozone that is lower than the standard in effect on July 2, 2014, until at least 85% of the counties that were nonattainment areas under that standard achieve full compliance with the previous standard.

(Sec. 439) Prohibits funds from being used for the final rule entitled "Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands."

(Sec. 440) Establishes a spending reduction account for the amount by which spending proposed in this bill exceeds the subcommittee's allocation under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Specifies that the amount is $0. (Under the Rules of the House of Representatives, any savings included in the spending reduction account are not available for further appropriation during consideration of the bill.)