DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2016; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 105
(House of Representatives - July 08, 2015)

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[Pages H4935-H4943]
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     DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 
                        APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2016


                             General Leave

  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and to include extraneous material on H.R. 2822.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 333 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, 
H.R. 2822.
  Will the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hultgren) kindly take the 
chair.

                              {time}  1855


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of 
the bill (H.R. 2822) making appropriations for the Department of the 
Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending 
September 30, 2016, and for other purposes, with Mr. Hultgren (Acting 
Chair) in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose earlier today, 
an amendment offered by the gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Hardy) had been 
disposed of, and the bill had been read through page 132, line 24.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Ellison

  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract with any person whose 
     disclosures of a proceeding with a disposition listed in 
     section 2313(c)(1) of title 41, United States Code, in the 
     Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
     include the term ``Fair Labor Standards Act'' and such 
     disposition is listed as ``willful'' or ``repeated''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from Minnesota and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Chairman, before I discuss my amendment, which is to 
prevent wage theft from violators who commit acts that are repeated and 
willful and to stop such actors from partaking of Federal procurement 
in this bill, I would like to set the table just a little bit.
  In 1980, Mr. Chair, CEO-to-worker pay ratio for Fortune 500 companies 
was 20 to 1. Today it is 204 to 1, according to Bloomberg. At the same 
time, the buying power of the minimum wage is now less than it was in 
the 1960s.
  The Economic Policy Institute found that, in total, the average low-
wage worker loses a stunning $2,634 per year in unpaid wages, 
representing about 15 percent of their earned income. It is 
particularly egregious in the fast-food sector. A recent study by Hart 
Research of fast-food workers found that about 89 percent reported some 
form of wage theft.
  Lastly, in this case, I would like to point out, Mr. Chair, that the 
recent report by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions of the U.S. Senate revealed that 32 percent of the largest 
Department of Labor penalties for wage theft were levied against 
Federal contractors.
  As I bring this amendment before the body today, Mr. Chairman, it is 
simply to recognize that the hard work and the work that workers do who 
work for Federal contractors must be recognized. We are not debating 
today over increasing or decreasing the minimum wage. We are just 
saying the people who work hard ought to get the money that they 
earned.
  I would hope that everyone in this body would be willing to say wage 
theft is not okay. No hard-working American should ever have to worry 
that her employer will refuse to pay her when she works overtime or 
take money out of her paycheck, especially if she works for a Federal 
contractor.

[[Page H4936]]

  This practice, as I mentioned already, is called wage theft. Right 
now, Federal contractors who violate the Fair Labor Standards Act are 
still allowed to apply for Federal contracts.

                              {time}  1900

  This amendment seeks to ensure that funds may not be used to enter 
into a contract with a government contractor that willfully or 
repeatedly violates the Fair Labor Standards Act--willfully or 
repeatedly.
  It is important, Mr. Chairman, to point out that it is not easy to 
get a violation. You have got to work at it.
  There is a database called the FAPISS database, to begin with, in 
which contractors have to report all their violations. Just because a 
wage and hour complaint comes to your door, it doesn't necessarily mean 
you get a violation. In order to get a violation in the database, you 
have to have a criminal conviction, a civil proceeding with a finding 
of fault, or an administrative proceeding with a finding of fault or a 
penalty of $5,000 or more or damages of $100,000 or more. You have got 
to really work at it. In other words, if you are found to owe back 
wages and you agree to pay them, there is not going to be a case for 
you to have to report.
  This amendment ensures that those in violation of the law do not get 
taxpayer support. And we should reward good actors.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentleman's 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CALVERT. The amendment doesn't recognize the suspension and 
debarment process that is already in place for Federal contractors. It 
does not provide exceptions for critical, urgent, or compelling needs 
or allow for the consideration of mitigating factors.
  I am concerned that this amendment would impose strict legal triggers 
and take away the ability for Federal agencies to investigate and 
determine appropriate remedies. I am also concerned that it would deny 
the due process that the current suspension and debarment system 
provides. And finally, this is an issue that should be thoroughly 
vetted through the authorization process, not through the appropriation 
process.
  I would urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ELLISON. I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Minnesota (Ms. 
McCollum).
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of the amendment from the 
gentleman from Minnesota.
  Every worker is entitled to receive pay for the hours they work; 
however, there are employers that refuse to pay for overtime, make 
their employees work off the clock, or refuse to pay minimum wage. At 
the very least, we should take steps to ensure that these employers 
don't receive new Federal contracts.
  This amendment would ensure that lawbreaking contractors don't get 
rewarded for stealing from their employees.
  I support this amendment, and I ask for an ``aye'' vote.
  Mr. CALVERT. I would just, again, oppose this amendment. I urge my 
colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ELLISON. Members, this has nothing to do with debarment. 
Debarment is a quasi-judicial process in which evidence is gathered and 
findings are made. This is saying that, after somebody has been found 
to engage in repeated and willful violations of the Fair Labor 
Standards Act, such persons are not the kind of people we want to 
reward through our procurement system. This is totally different from 
debarment.
  What it is really saying is it reflects our values as a body and 
reflects our value of the dignity of work and that a dollar earned is a 
dollar that must be paid. And we should never be the kind of body that 
says: ``Commit willful violations all you want; take workers' money 
away; you can still get another contract if you please.'' That is not 
the kind of body that we are, and I urge a ``yes'' vote on the 
amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ellison).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota 
will be postponed.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Buck

  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:


                                 study

       Sec. __. Of the amounts made available by this Act to pay 
     retention bonuses to Senior Executive Service personnel at 
     the Environmental Protection Agency, not more than $50,000 
     shall be made available to be used by the Department of the 
     Interior to conduct a study on whether Agricola Americus 
     should be classified as an endangered species.

  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman from Colorado and a 
Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chair, my amendment appropriates up to $50,000 from the 
retention bonuses of Senior Executive Service personnel at the EPA to 
conduct a study of whether Agricola Americus, the American farmer, 
should be classified as an endangered species.
  This money should be used to determine whether there is crucial 
habitat that is essential for the conservation of the species and 
acting in accordance with 16 U.S.C. chapter 35 if such a finding is 
made.
  The Federal Government is no stranger to using its regulatory powers 
to interfere in important national issues, so it came as a surprise 
when I discovered that the Federal Government had overlooked the most 
endangered species in America.
  The Fish and Wildlife Service has been so thorough in designating 
animals as endangered all around farms, but for some reason hasn't seen 
the plight of the American farmer.
  Paul Harvey recognized, in 1978, that God made Agricola Americus with 
a unique set of characteristics essential to our Nation, so I am 
troubled that the number of farmers in America has steadily declined 
over the last six decades.
  Not only has the number of American farmers shrunk, but so has the 
number of farms. Those lost have mainly been family farms, passed down 
through generations of hard work and built up with years of sweat 
equity. They have faced numerous manmade obstacles that interfere with 
their environment and encroach on their natural territory. They have 
been subject to the ravages of wolves released by the very agency that 
should be tasked with protecting this essential American species.
  Yet the Department of the Interior does not have a monopoly on 
society's invasion of the American farmer and the habitat. Family farms 
have been destroyed by the death tax, regulated out of business by FDA 
and EPA mandates, and forced to dump crops by outdated government 
programs that even now are being struck down by the Supreme Court.
  How much more of this regulatory onslaught can the Agricola Americus 
take before we recognize the harm of our actions and work to make sure 
that we are not complicit in its disappearance? We cannot leave the 
farmer alone in the eye of this regulatory storm.
  I reserve the balance of my time.


                             Point of Order

  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order against the 
amendment because it provides an appropriation for an unauthorized 
program and, therefore, violates clause 2 of rule XXI. Clause 2 of rule 
XXI states in pertinent part:
  ``An appropriation may not be in order as an amendment for an 
expenditure not previously authorized by law.''

[[Page H4937]]

  Mr. Chairman, the amendment proposes to appropriate funds. The 
amendment, therefore, violates clause 2 of rule XXI.
  I ask for a ruling from the Chair.
  The Acting CHAIR. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point 
of order?
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Colorado?
  There was no objection.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Buck

  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to pay the salaries and expenses of personnel or any 
     other entity to negotiate or conclude a settlement with the 
     Federal Government that includes terms requiring the 
     defendant to donate or contribute funds to an organization or 
     individual.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from Colorado and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chair, my amendment bars the EPA and the Department of 
the Interior and any of its agencies from requiring mandatory donations 
to third-party groups as part of any settlement agreements the agencies 
enter into.
  In agencies across the government, settlement funds are being 
funneled to third-party groups, contravening congressional budget 
authority. A recent investigation by the House Judiciary and Financial 
Services Committees found as much as half a billion dollars had been 
diverted by the Department of Justice to third parties as a result of 
these settlements in the past year. This is inexcusable, and it is not 
unique to the Department of Justice.
  The Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, 
and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service routinely sue and then enter 
into settlements with businesses and individuals who are then forced to 
make donations to third-party groups.
  This is all made possible because community service is expressly 
allowed as a condition of probation by the United States Criminal Code. 
In addition, the United States sentencing guidelines allow community 
service where it is reasonably designed to repair the harm caused by 
the offense. This results in settlement funds being directed to 
supposed ``community service'' groups. This is a practice that must be 
brought to an end.
  As Thomas Jefferson once wrote:

       To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the 
     propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is 
     sinful and tyrannical.

  In this case, businesses and individuals are being sued by the 
government for violating environmental regulations, and then as part of 
the settlement, they have to make payments to the environmental 
organizations that engage in advocacy supporting the regulations. This 
power grab is abhorrent.
  Please support my amendment and stop these agencies from funneling 
court settlement funds to radical environmentalists.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Minnesota is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. The fact is that this is a very broadly written 
amendment that would prevent the Federal Government from requiring 
polluters to pay for cleanup costs. Specifically, I would point out 
that the EPA is involved in numerous consent decree negotiations that 
result in payments to the Federal Government by responsible parties.
  The ability of the Federal Government to recoup these funds from 
polluters is an essential part of maintaining good environmental policy 
and protecting public health and protecting taxpayers, not polluters. 
For example, some Superfund sites that the EPA may spend Superfund 
trust moneys up front to initiate the cleanup of a potential 
responsible party are not yet identified or the cleanup order or 
settlement agreement with the identified parties is not yet finalized.
  In the event that the EPA does expend Superfund moneys at a site with 
veritable parties, reimbursements may be included in the terms of any 
settlement agreement that may be entered into with the parties. 
However, this amendment would prevent the EPA from receiving such 
reimbursements from the responsible parties in such an instance.
  There are also times when defendants in settlement negotiations seek 
payments to third parties rather than the Federal Government. One such 
example is the settlement negotiations that followed the catastrophe at 
the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  As part of the criminal settlements that BP and Transocean reached 
with the Federal Government, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 
a congressionally chartered nonprofit, received the funds to undertake 
the projects to help remedy the harm that occurred in the Gulf of 
Mexico--something I would agree all needed to happen--yet under this 
amendment, those payments would have been prohibited. It would be 
completely irresponsible.
  This amendment is bad for the taxpayer, bad for public policy, and 
very bad for the environment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BUCK. I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, once again, voting for this amendment and 
having it move forward would be completely irresponsible. This 
amendment is bad public policy, bad for environment, and it is bad for 
the taxpayer. I urge defeat of this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Buck).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Buck

  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:

       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to pay a Federal employee for any period of time 
     during which such employee is using official time under 
     section 7131 of title 5, United States Code.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from Colorado and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chair, my amendment would prohibit paying any Federal 
employee for the time spent not working for the taxpayers but working 
for a third party, a labor union. This practice is known as ``official 
time.''

                              {time}  1915

  Unlike any other type of third-party organization, labor unions have 
been granted the privilege of being able to have taxpayer-funded 
employees do their business on duty time, instead of doing the 
taxpayers' work.
  Like any other type of private entity, labor unions should pay for 
their own employees to work for them. The taxpayers should not be 
picking up the tab for this practice.
  According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, this practice 
costs taxpayers approximately $156 million per year. That is assuming 
that the agencies are correctly reporting the amounts spent, and there 
have been indications that this number actually underreports the total 
cost.
  In some instances, we are not talking about just a few minutes here 
and there for an agency employee who is a union official to confer with 
management about a workplace issue. Sometimes, the agency employee is 
actually working full time for the labor union, all the while being 
paid by the taxpayers for this union work.
  For instance, the IRS has more than 200 employees working full time 
for labor unions; the VA has over 250 employees working full time for 
labor unions--this at a time when there is a significant backlog of 
cases to be processed.
  One of these employees doesn't even work in a VA facility but, 
instead, works remotely from a private office in D.C.

[[Page H4938]]

  The EPA, while not having as many personnel on full-time official 
time as some agencies, still pays over $1.6 million just for those 
personnel who are working full time for their union.
  Some agencies, such as the Department of Transportation, have 
numerous employees making over $170,000 per year, while working full 
time for the union. This is more than almost all Federal employees 
make, higher than the salaries of many Senate-confirmed Assistant 
Secretaries.
  My amendment would not prohibit this practice, but would make certain 
that the right party pays for this work, the labor union. It is not 
right to force our taxpayers to pay the bill to subsidize these private 
organizations any more than it would be right to force them to 
subsidize other private organizations such as the National Rifle 
Association or the Sierra Club.
  Like any business, labor unions should pay the cost for their own 
employees, not taxpayers.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to this 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Minnesota is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, this amendment clearly would serve no 
purpose but to erode collective bargaining rights for civil service 
employees and may violate collective bargaining agreements negotiated 
between workers and these agencies.
  Federal unions are legally required to provide representation to all 
members of bargaining units, whether or not those workers elect to pay 
voluntary union dues. Representation for employees working their way 
through the administrative procedures is a cost-effective process for 
administrating and adjudicating agency policies.
  The alternative for official time is for the government agencies to 
pay for costly third-party attorney and arbitration fees. Eliminating 
official time would increase costs, and it would increase more time and 
effort for agencies to work out any conflicts with employees. That 
drives up the cost for taxpayers.
  Official time is essential to maintaining workplace safety. Union 
representation uses official time to set procedures to protect 
employees from on-the-job hazards. Official time is used to allow 
employees to participate in work groups with management teams to 
improve the process and improve performance outcomes.
  Under current law, official time may not be used to solicit 
membership, may not be used to conduct internal union meetings, may not 
be used to elect union officers, may not be used to engage in any 
partisan activities, and the notion that official time is used for any 
of these purposes is false.
  I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment, and I reserve the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, once again, this amendment would serve no 
purpose but to erode the collective bargaining rights of civil service 
Federal employees, hard-working Americans.
  For that reason, I urge a ``no'' vote, and I yield back the balance 
of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Buck).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colorado 
will be postponed.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentlewoman from American 
Samoa (Mrs. Radewagen) for the purpose of a colloquy.
  Mrs. RADEWAGEN. Mr. Chair, I would like to commend Chairman Calvert, 
Ranking Member McCollum, and the Appropriations Committee staff for 
their efforts in bringing this important bill to the floor.
  I would also like to congratulate Chairman Calvert on his leadership 
in overseeing this measure and his continued success as chairman of the 
subcommittee.
  I want to take this opportunity to highlight just a small portion of 
the needs and shortfalls that the territories are facing. In 
particular, I want to bring to your attention some of the funding 
issues facing American Samoa.
  Each year, the Office of Insular Affairs provides grant funds to 
American Samoa for the operation of local government, including the 
judiciary, Department of Education, and the local hospital. The purpose 
of this program is to fund the difference between budget needs and 
local revenues.
  Mr. Chairman, the world has changed much since the inception of this 
program to assist American Samoa government operations, and additional 
needs have arisen.
  Local revenues have remained relatively constant; the infrastructure 
has become dated and in disrepair, and outside influences, particularly 
China, have begun to make inroads into the region with the development 
of a port in the neighboring independent Samoa and future plans for a 
naval base in the same area.
  We have also seen a dramatic spike in world conflict since the 
inception of the program. This increased military activity by both 
friendly and hostile nations has simultaneously created the need for 
increased border security, an element severely lacking in American 
Samoa and one not funded under the current parameters of the program.
  American Samoa is also facing severe infrastructure deficiency, which 
has caused undue hardship to both our people and businesses that rely 
upon our roads, airport, and port.
  In fact, the recent decision by the NOAA National Weather Service to 
terminate weather observation service in American Samoa, which our 
local airport relies upon for flight operations, has prompted the need 
for the construction of a tower at Pago Pago International Airport. 
This facility would serve as a standard control tower and would also 
contain the weather monitoring service after NOAA ceases operations in 
American Samoa.
  Mr. Chairman, my home district was devastated by a tsunami on 
September 29, 2009, that killed many of our people. I was there at the 
time. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had a scheduled meeting at 
that very time and was already awake, I could have been killed by the 
wave. We lost our tuna cannery the day after the tsunami, which was 
half of our private sector employment.
  We also are suffering from the prolonged recession here in the States 
and suffered another setback with the recent longshoremen's strike that 
exposed just how dependent we are on outside resources.
  Chairman Calvert, I encourage the committee that, when considering 
funding levels for the territories, to keep in mind our economic and 
geographic isolation and the extreme disparity in opportunities for 
growth between these regions and the States.
  Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with the committee to 
increase funding for the territories which will help alleviate the many 
issues we are facing.
  Mr. CALVERT. As someone who has always had the utmost respect for our 
fellow countrymen from the territories, I look forward to working with 
the gentlewoman from American Samoa, and I want to thank her for her 
efforts to inform the committee on the issues of the insular areas.
  I am well aware of just how dedicated to our country the people of 
American Samoa are, as displayed by their extremely high rate of 
enlistment in our Nation's Armed Forces.
  Your membership in this body is highly valued, and the appointment as 
vice chairman of the Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs 
Subcommittee as a first-term member is a testament to the perspective 
and leadership you bring to Congress.
  Through your leadership, your people are well respected and have 
found themselves a champion for their cause.
  Mrs. RADEWAGEN. At a time when we are faced with the need to reduce 
funding in many areas of government, I thank the committee for 
preserving the budgetary assistance to American Samoa.
  I want to thank the chairman for his kind words and continued 
leadership,

[[Page H4939]]

and I look forward to working with him to ensure that the territories 
are given the same opportunity as the States.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Grothman

  Mr. GROTHMAN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this act may 
     be used to regulate the location of the placement of a 
     monitor of pollutants under the clean air act in any county 
     provided such county has at least one monitor.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from Wisconsin and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin.
  Mr. GROTHMAN. Mr. Chairman, right now, the Environmental Protection 
Agency makes the determination whether a county is what they call a 
nonattainment zone based on readings, the amount of ozone that various 
monitors come up with. If you are a nonattainment zone, it results in 
problems for both individuals and business.
  Individuals in counties in my area have two problems. First of all, 
if you are nonattainment, you might have to have gasoline that is 
probably a little bit inferior in quality, as well as more expensive.
  I always think the price of gasoline is an important thing because it 
doesn't matter; either wealthy or poor, it is something you have to be 
able to afford. If you are knocking up your price of gasoline by 5 or 
10 cents a year, that can be a very damaging thing for someone who 
doesn't have that great a salary.
  Secondly, if you are a nonattainment zone, every car has to be 
checked for emissions. Maybe there are some wealthy environmentalists 
that it is no big deal--if their car fails the emissions test, they can 
afford to spend another $900 on a catalytic converter or something 
wildly more expensive. For somebody not well off, it maybe puts you in 
a position which you have to buy a whole new car.
  It is another problem for businesses. Manufacturing is very important 
to this country. If you crack down on a business and say that you have 
to do different things to affect the amount of ozone that may be 
emitted from your factory, it can be very cost prohibitive and put 
American business at a competitive disadvantage.
  These determinations are made by air monitors. In every county, the 
amount of ozone that is detected by these monitors may vary greatly 
from one part of the county to another part of the county.
  It is our opinion that sometimes in the past, in my district, if you 
put an air monitor right on Lake Michigan, due to the effect the sun 
has on the water, you might get disproportionately high readings and 
wind up having to put your individuals and businesses in a situation 
which they are in nonattainment.
  This is particularly onerous because, sometimes, whether or not you 
have a high ozone rating or not has nothing whatsoever to do with 
anything that is going on within your county.
  My district, for example, is maybe 70 miles from Chicago, where most 
of the pollutants come from; so here you are, stuck trying to make your 
air cleaner and cleaner, and there is very little you can do to affect 
it anyway.
  In any event, it seems fair that you should be able to put an air 
monitor anywhere within that county. You shouldn't have a situation in 
which, in the past, an air monitor was placed at an area where you got 
a disproportionately high reading.
  The purpose of this amendment is to say that the Environmental 
Protection Agency, that I am sure has a budget tight as a drum, should 
not have to waste any time worrying about where that air monitor is and 
where we are determining whether or not we have an ozone problem in a 
county.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1930

  Ms. PINGREE. Mr. Chair, I claim the time in opposition to this 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Maine is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. PINGREE. Mr. Chair, the amendment offered by the gentleman from 
Wisconsin would prohibit funds for regulating the location of air 
monitors in counties.
  The Clean Air Act requires every State to establish a network of air 
monitoring stations for criteria pollutants, using criteria set by the 
EPA for their location and operation.
  EPA's ambient air monitoring network assessment guidance provides 
States and counties with information about the assessment of technical 
aspects of ambient air monitoring networks. The guidance is designed to 
be flexible and expandable. It does not dictate specific locations for 
placement for air monitors.
  The amendment would block EPA oversight of air quality monitoring, 
making possible a scenario in which counties could game the system by 
locating monitors in places that show the lowest amount of pollution 
rather than where they get the best representative data.
  Let us look no further than today's paper to understand why we need 
to ensure the proper collection of air quality data.
  A headline in the Wisconsin Ag Connection reads: Canadian Wildfires 
Prompt State to Issue Air Quality Notice.
  The article reports that the Department of Natural Resources has 
issued an air quality notice for all 72 Wisconsin counties this week. 
State air quality monitors are recording elevated concentrations of 
fine particles at several locations around the State, particularly 
across northern and western Wisconsin.
  And some sites are recording values in the ``unhealthy for 
sensitive'' category, which includes children, elderly people, 
individuals with respiratory and cardiac problems, and people engaged 
in strenuous activities for prolonged periods of time.
  This amendment would stop a transparent, science-based process to 
locate monitors where they will provide the most useful information 
about air quality.
  Mr. Chairman, I don't think it is appropriate to dictate a nationwide 
moratorium on air quality monitoring in response to what appears to be 
a local issue perhaps in the gentleman's State of Wisconsin.
  This amendment is harmful to local governments that depend on EPA's 
technical expertise when determining the best location for an air 
monitor placement. I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GROTHMAN. Mr. Chair, first of all, the gentlewoman from Maine 
makes a point not about this amendment specifically, but about the 
overall program.
  And that is you have a situation right now in which, apparently, the 
Department of Natural Resources is making a determination that we have 
unsafe air based upon fires that are hundreds of miles away that the 
local people can't do anything about.
  Secondly, the gentlewoman says it is tying the hands of local units 
of government. That is not true. Under this amendment, the local units 
of government have more flexibility.
  The question is can the Federal Government tie the hands of local 
units of government, which they shouldn't be able to do.
  So it is a good amendment. I think it is something that is going to, 
in the long term, benefit American business and, even more, benefit 
American individuals, particularly poor people, who don't have a lot of 
extra money, are stuck spending a lot more money on their cars because 
of determinations made by Federal bureaucrats in far-away cities who 
probably have enough money to be able to afford to deal with these 
problems anyway.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. PINGREE. Mr. Chair, I will just reiterate the points I made 
before and urge a ``no'' vote.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Grothman).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. GROTHMAN. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

[[Page H4940]]

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin 
will be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Sanford

  Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:

 limitation on use of funds for oil and gas lease sale 260 in leasing 
                                program

       Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used for oil and gas lease sale 260 included in the Draft 
     Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing 
     Program for 2017-2022 (DPP), or in any subsequent proposed or 
     final iteration of such Program.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from South Carolina and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from South Carolina.
  Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Chair, I rise in utter respect for my colleague from 
California and his colleagues and the Interior bill that they created 
and all the good that it does.
  This is, in essence, just a very small refining amendment that, as 
was described in the reading, would simply prohibit the Department of 
the Interior from moving forward on sales within block 260. I think 
that this is important for a number of different reasons that I will 
enumerate.
  But I want to be clear. This is not an amendment about a belief in 
there being dangers with regard to technology that is used and employed 
offshore. I have been quite impressed in all the studies I have done in 
the technological advancements that have taken place.
  Nor is it an amendment about the belief that we shouldn't be using 
fossil fuels. I think that fossil fuels are very important in the mix 
with regard to energy independence in this country.
  What this amendment is simply about is the age-old notion that 
Washington doesn't always know best, that the Founding Fathers were 
really deliberate in their belief in this notion of Federalism; that 
they divided power not only laterally, but vertically; that there was a 
Federal Government, but there was also a State and a local government; 
and those municipalities or those States should have a voice, too.
  It is about recognizing that there is a difference between comment 
and control. And what municipalities, what people back home in South 
Carolina along the coast, are saying is: We want to have more than just 
a comment. We want to have control over our destiny in the way that the 
coast develops.
  For that reason, nine communities in my district alone as well as 65 
communities up and down the eastern seaboard have added comments, 
saying: We want to push the pause button here.
  And, indeed, that is all this amendment does. It says: Let's pause so 
that we can do a cost-benefit analysis going forward. I think that this 
is important, given the large context.
  You know, we are talking about 4 percent of the oil reserves within 
the Continental U.S. We are talking about a 5-month supply. These 
communities are saying a 5-month supply versus a lifetime impact in a 
place like Saint Helena Sound.
  If you look at the ACE Basin, it has been nationally recognized as a 
treasure. It is about 250,000 acres on the coast of South Carolina. The 
Federal Government put a lot of money into preserving it, as did State 
and private interests.
  And what people are saying is: Given the amount of industrialization 
that has to take place to support the offshore rigs, do you bring those 
pipes and that supply in through a place like Saint Helena Sound?
  Again, what people have said along the coast of South Carolina is: 
Let's pause and reflect on that. And that is what this amendment does.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chair, I must rise in reluctant opposition to this 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is the mirror opposite, as 
the gentleman knows, of the Hudson amendment that is currently pending 
via a rollcall vote.
  The Hudson amendment would allow lease 260 to move forward under the 
Department of the Interior's next 5-year offshore leasing plan for 2017 
through 2022.
  The Sanford amendment would prevent lease 260 from moving forward 
under the next 5-year plan. And given the competing amendments, I must 
oppose this amendment, since we accepted the other amendment last 
night.
  So I would ask for a ``no'' vote on this amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Chair, again, I respect the Solomon's wisdom that 
would be required by the chairman and others on the committee in 
dividing the different interests, and that is why I think the Founding 
Fathers had it right.
  They said that, ultimately, nobody in Washington can have Solomon's 
wisdom when you talk about local perspective and local interests, that 
there was a real value to local voice, those nine communities.
  If you think about Saint Helena Sound as the example that I just 
cited, the little town south of there, Beaufort, drew up a resolution, 
and the county and the city council moved forward, saying: We don't 
want to move forward with this.
  The little town to the east, Edisto Beach, moved forward with the 
resolution citing the same. The larger town to the north, Charleston, 
did the same.
  Those local inputs, those local people, have said: We have seen what 
might or might not come here. We think it is worthy of a pause. Again, 
that is all this amendment does.
  It doesn't say: We will forever not have offshore drilling in sale 
260.
  What it says is: For the next 5 years, why don't we allow for more 
public input and more voice, given the fact that there are lifetime 
impacts and really long-lasting impacts in certain pristine and/or 
developed areas along the coast of South Carolina or other coastal 
areas along the block of 260.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chair, I will just restate my opposition to this 
amendment. And I would hope that the gentleman could work with his 
colleagues in South Carolina and work all this out. But I must oppose 
the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. PINGREE. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. SANFORD. I yield to the gentlewoman from Maine.
  Ms. PINGREE. Mr. Chair, I just wanted to rise in support of the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from South Carolina.
  I was here last night and had a chance to speak against the Hudson 
amendment for the very reasons that he is articulating.
  Coming from Maine and being from a State where people take very 
seriously our waterfronts, our fisheries, our livelihood that we make 
on the water, there are deep concerns about the challenges that might 
come up with oil and gas leases.
  And I think everyone in many coastal States wants to just make sure 
we go through the most thorough process possible. So I heartily support 
the concerns that he is raising, and I support this amendment.
  Mr. SANFORD. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Sanford).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from South 
Carolina will be postponed.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Minnesota is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, there are many of us here in Congress who 
want to build a better America, a stronger America, a healthier 
America. And there are many of us here who are willing to work and 
fight to move our country in that direction forward,

[[Page H4941]]

which is the direction the American people want to go.
  For most Americans, for families and communities all across this 
country, protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink is an 
essential role of government. The American people expect Congress to 
protect the public's health from polluters who are all too willing to 
reap larger and larger profits as they pump poison into our air and 
water.
  We hear all too often the cries of ``burdensome regulation'' from 
those who defend the polluters. But rarely do we hear the cries of 
``burdensome asthma'' or ``burdensome cancer'' from average Americans 
who all too often suffer in silence when they are sick because the air, 
water, or land they need has been poisoned.
  My Republican colleagues are very content to cut funding and place 
riders on the enforcement of environmental standards to make life 
easier for the polluters.
  But what about the families and the communities put at risk? What 
about the children who are at risk because avoiding environmental 
regulations to pump up profits is more important than public health?
  The role of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect the 
public, to protect our health, to protect our water, to protect our 
air, to protect our land from polluters who are all too willing to cut 
corners, enabling them to reap larger profits.
  Investing in environmental regulation to protect the American people 
is a government function that is not burdensome. It is essential.

                              {time}  1945

  We should all want to protect the public's health and the vital role 
that the Environmental Protection Agency plays on behalf of the 
American people, but this bill fails to protect the American people. It 
fails to protect the public's health, and it fails to provide the tools 
necessary to hold polluters accountable for poisoning our air, our 
water, and our land. If this bill ever finds its way to the President's 
desk, President Obama will veto it.
  Mr. Chairman, this is an important bill, and the investments we make 
together in this Interior-Environmental Appropriations bill speak to 
our values as a nation. We are the stewards of a bounty of resources, 
the inheritors of a nation of natural treasures; and there are 300 
million Americans who depend on this Congress to ensure those 
resources, including our clean air and clean water, are protected.
  Sadly, Mr. Chairman, very sadly, this bill lets them down. So I will 
urge my colleagues at the end of the day to vote against final passage, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Palmer

  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:

       Sec. __. (a) Limitation on Use of Funds.--None of the funds 
     made available by this Act may be used for grants under title 
     VII, subtitle G of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
       (b) Corresponding Reduction in Funds.--The aggregate amount 
     otherwise provided by this Act for ``Environmental Protection 
     Agency-State and Tribal Assistance Grants'', and the amount 
     provided under such heading for grants under title VII, 
     subtitle G of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, are each hereby 
     reduced by $50,000,000.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from Alabama and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Alabama.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, my amendment limits the funding of the EPA's Diesel 
Emissions Reduction Program. The Diesel Emissions Reduction Program is 
part of the National Clean Diesel Campaign. This grant program was 
created in 2005 as a short-term effort to assist States and local 
government to meet new diesel emissions standards for older diesel 
engines.
  According to the Obama administration, the overall impact of the 
program has been marginal. Currently, there are 14 grant and loan 
programs at the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, 
and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, plus three tax activities 
that have as a goal reducing mobile source diesel emissions. In 
addition, each of the 14 programs, according to the GAO, overlaps with 
at least one other program in the specific activities they fund, the 
program goals, or the eligible recipients of funding.
  GAO also identified several instances of duplication where more than 
one program provided grant funding to the same recipient for the same 
type of activities. One example identified by GAO showed a nonprofit 
organization received $1.1 million from EPA's Diesel Emissions 
Reduction Act program to install emission reduction and idle reduction 
technologies on 1,700 trucks, as well as $5.6 million from a State 
infrastructure bank established under DOT's program to equip trucks and 
truck fleets with emissions control and idle reduction devices--
essentially the same thing.
  Mr. Chairman, the Federal Government has become so large, it is 
impossible to grasp its true size and scope to pay for its cost. With 
the country facing unprecedented levels of debt, taxpayers expect the 
Federal Government to run more efficiently, guarding against careless 
waste of precious resources. It is essential that Congress, the 
administration, and Federal agencies do everything in their power to 
cut spending, reduce duplication, and rein in waste, fraud, and abuse. 
My amendment does just that, and it would have an annual savings of $50 
million.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentleman's 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I know a lot about the DERA program, obviously, from 
southern California, probably the most controlled air quality area in 
the United States, and there are a lot of things in EPA that don't 
work. There are a lot of things that EPA does to regulate, to create 
paperwork, and to create headaches for small- and large-business 
people. We have included a great number of policy provisions to address 
this EPA regulatory overreach in this bill. We have cut the EPA budget 
dramatically, as the gentlewoman just referred to. However, I believe 
this specific amendment targets a program that actually yields great 
benefits.
  Many counties across the Nation are currently in nonattainment with 
EPA's existing standards for the particulate matter and ozone. We are 
not talking about the standards that are being talked about. We are 
talking about the standards that were put in place in 2008.
  In many instances, these counties have been in nonattainment for 
years, and those communities need help to improve their air quality. 
The Diesel Emission Reduction Program, or DERA, is a proven, cost-
effective program that provides grants to States to retrofit old diesel 
engines. So it is a program that supports manufacturing jobs while 
reducing pollution.
  Another benefit is that these grants are highly leveraged, producing 
$13 of economic benefit for every Federal grant dollar. Today's newer 
engines produce 90 percent--let me say that again--90 percent less 
toxic emissions than the older diesel engines. Remember, I have 
experience with trucks, and these independent truck drivers, those who 
have those trucks, get a lot of miles out of those trucks, sometimes 
well over a million miles off a truck. However, only 30 percent of the 
trucks and heavy-duty vehicles have transitioned to cleaner 
technologies, typically because especially these small truck companies 
just can't afford to get this new technology. We need to follow the 
science and accelerate the replacement of older engines with these new, 
clean engines, which, by the way, get better mileage and, at the same 
time, clean up the air considerably.
  This is a program that is actually working. We have seen 
significant--I know the Obama administration doesn't like this program. 
They don't like programs that actually work. They want to get rid of 
the programs that work and have money be put into these esoteric 
climate change studies and so forth and so on, and I can tell

[[Page H4942]]

the gentleman, from experience, that this had significant impacts in 
the South Coast Air Quality District where I live in, an area that has 
probably been impacted with all the problems of air quality more than 
any other region in the United States of America.
  Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge Members to vote ``no'' on the 
gentleman's amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I thank my distinguished colleague from 
California for his remarks, and I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, since 1984, the EPA has lowered the amount of 
pollutants from diesel engines by more than 98 percent. Since 1980, 
despite the fact that the gross domestic product has grown by over 460 
percent, vehicle miles have increased by 94 percent, the population has 
grown 38 percent, energy production 32 percent, emissions have gone 
down 50 percent. In regard to the impact of these programs, you have 14 
programs that the GAO has identified as overlapping. It will do little 
harm to the overall effort for air quality to eliminate one program 
that is clearly a duplication in several instances identified by the 
GAO.
  In addition, Mr. Chairman, in regard to air quality, while air 
quality has improved dramatically--emissions are down 50 percent since 
1980--respiratory illnesses such as asthma have gone up, and that is 
largely a byproduct of income. So I would commend to you that we need 
to reduce the number of regulations, the cost of regulations, to allow 
more economic activity and provide better job opportunities for people, 
which will have a direct impact on their overall welfare, including 
their health.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume, 
and I thank the gentleman.
  Again, Mr. Chairman, I think this is a program that has worked, 
continues to work, and has had significant improvement in my area in 
California and, I know, throughout the United States, where we have a 
program that actually does work.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman 
from Minnesota (Ms. McCollum), my ranking member, who has a couple of 
comments.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentleman from 
California's opposition to this amendment.

  It has been used in my State and States all over to improve air 
quality, and, yes, pollutants have been cut. But as I just pointed out, 
Mr. Chairman, we still have a long way to go before we can turn to our 
children and say that we did everything we could to make sure that 
respiratory illness is decreased and that the air quality in this 
country is better.
  So I strongly oppose this amendment, and I thank the gentleman from 
California for his opposition to it as well.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I have one point because asthma has been brought up.
  When I was chairman of the Environment Committee a number of years 
ago, we had done significant studies on the increase in asthma. The 
gentleman is correct on income levels.
  The lower income folks are suffering from asthma at greater numbers 
primarily because of indoor pollution. One of the reasons, if we can 
get into the specifics of why that has occurred, is because we have 
carpets now and drapes and we don't use linoleum and so forth that we 
used to have, and so we have the growth of indoor air pollution, and 
kids don't get outside as much as they used to.
  So I think we sometimes blame other factors for asthma, and sometimes 
the other factors are more to blame. But this program, DERA, is a 
program that works, continues to work; and I know it has in my area, 
and I know it has in other areas throughout the United States.
  So, Mr. Chairman, I oppose this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I would just like to again point out that it was a 
study from the University of California, Los Angeles that pointed out 
that children from low-income households suffer disproportionately from 
asthma, and as we continue to overregulate our economy and reduce the 
economic opportunities for people, we are going to continue to see 
these high rates of respiratory illnesses.
  My final point is that we are not eliminating this clean diesel 
program. We are eliminating one program out of 14.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this amendment, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Palmer).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Alabama will 
be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Palmer

  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used by the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out 
     the powers granted under section 3063 of title 18, United 
     States Code.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 333, the gentleman 
from Alabama and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Alabama.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the Environmental Protection Agency spends more than 
$45 million a year to fund a criminal enforcement division that employs 
almost 200 armed Federal agents. These agents have been involved in a 
number of troubling raids in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, 
Massachusetts, North Carolina, and in my own State of Alabama.
  In Alaska, EPA agents wearing flak jackets and carrying M-16s showed 
up to review paperwork at a family-owned mining operation. In North 
Carolina, armed EPA agents visited Larry Keller after he sent an email 
to the regional administrator. In my home State of Alabama, armed EPA 
agents took over two waste treatment facilities in Dothan, Alabama. 
These agents were posted at each entrance to the plant and recorded 
identification information of all those going in and going out.
  Mr. Chairman, more than 70 Federal departments now employ armed 
personnel, most of which most Americans would never associate with law 
enforcement. These agencies include the EPA, the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Reserve Board, and the National 
Institutes of Health.
  Mr. Chairman, my amendment would prohibit funding for these 
activities at EPA. I urge my colleagues to support it, and I reserve 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I understand that we have taken a lot of shots at the 
EPA for their overreach, and I am one of them; however, this amendment 
reaches just a little too far. We may not always agree on where it is 
appropriate to draw the line on environmental laws and regulations. 
Some think standards are too stringent; others will say they are not 
tough enough. That is a fair policy debate, and we have it.
  Back in 1968 when the Environmental Protection Agency was created, we 
had rivers that would light on fire. We had air that was so thick, back 
when I played football, you couldn't see the other goalposts on the 
other end of the football field. So we have made a lot of gains.

                              {time}  2000

  At the same time, as it has been discussed, I think the EPA has gone 
way too far. We get to the point where we start regulating smaller and 
smaller

[[Page H4943]]

numbers and making it very difficult; for instance, when we start 
talking about 70 parts per billion versus 60 parts per billion, we have 
gone a long ways.
  However, we do know that no matter where the line is ultimately 
drawn, there are individuals out there that are willingly and knowingly 
trying to find ways around the law. As such, EPA needs to have the 
ability to look into criminal activity, whether it is illegal dumping 
of waste, which unfortunately happens; negligent dumping of toxics or 
oil, which unfortunately happens; and the illegal transportation or 
importation of products from other countries by those who would choose 
to ignore U.S. law.
  We can debate the laws and what is appropriate, but we can't give 
criminals a free pass to ignore the law or the laws that are on the 
books.
  Again, I'm sorry. I must oppose the amendment and strongly urge my 
colleagues to do the same.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, with all due respect to my colleague from 
California, no one is in favor of allowing criminals to commit crimes 
at any level of the Federal Government or any part of the country.
  I do think it should be troubling to every Member of this body that 
we have gone over the line in regard to becoming what could be viewed 
as a police state.
  In regard to the raid on the Dothan wastewater treatment facility, 
that is a city facility; that is the Federal Government sending armed 
agents in full body armor with weapons to a municipal facility. I would 
beg the question: What was the threat assessment?
  This is going on in other parts of the country as well, and I think 
we have a responsibility to draw a line where law enforcement is 
involved. If there is a threat assessment that would indicate the need 
to have armed officers assist the EPA in an investigation or a raid, 
there is ample law enforcement available to do that.
  In that regard, I think this is an area where the EPA has overreached 
in respect to their responsibilities as regulators of the environment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, this is an important debate. I recognize 
that we have had Federal agencies that have had overreach and have done 
things that go beyond their training and possibly should be done by 
other agencies. I won't disagree with that; but doing this in an 
appropriation bill is not the right place to do this.
  The authorizers should have this debate, and we shouldn't be making 
these determinations with an appropriations bill which just broadly 
states that we are going to get rid of a whole swath of law 
enforcement, whether they are good or bad. It doesn't determine that 
because we can't do that in this type of legislative process.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentlewoman from Minnesota (Ms. 
McCollum).
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, if I may inquire how much time is remaining 
so I don't consume all the gentleman's time?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California has 45 seconds 
remaining.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I will just be short and sweet. I support 
the gentleman from California's strong objection to this amendment and 
would encourage people not to vote for it.
  Let me conclude with this: an EPA law enforcement official deserves 
the right to come home to their families safe at night, and so they 
should have the tools that they need in order to do that.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chair, I oppose this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have remaining?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Alabama has 2\1/4\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentlewoman from 
Minnesota's response. I, too, agree that every Federal official 
deserves to be able to go home safe and sound to their family.
  That, though, does not address the specific issue here in regard to 
what is going on with the EPA. If there is a need for armed 
intervention with a business or, in this case, with a municipality, 
there should be a clear threat assessment. There isn't any. There was 
no reason for anyone to think that they needed to go in, in full body 
armor, with weapons drawn.
  I think that that is part of what is going on here that a lot of 
American citizens are concerned about, is the overreach of the 
government and particularly in regard to 70 Federal agencies having 
armed agents in their employment.
  I agree with the gentleman from California; this needs to be a 
broader discussion. In that regard, I think we should have that.
  In respect to my amendment, I think we need to divert this funding 
away from this armed agency that the EPA is deploying, I think, without 
proper course.
  In that regard, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Palmer).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Alabama will 
be postponed.
  Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Rodney Davis of Illinois) having assumed the chair, Mr. Hultgren, 
Acting Chair of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the 
Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the 
bill (H.R. 2822) making appropriations for the Department of the 
Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending 
September 30, 2016, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution 
thereon.

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