This Isn’t Your Normal Bill to Gut the EPA

There’s cutting funding, and then there’s Rep. Sam Johnson’s EPA bill.

April 30, 2015, 8:25 a.m.

Plenty of Republicans hate the Environmental Protection Agency and want to gut its climate change programs and regulatory offices. Texas Republican Rep. Sam Johnson doesn’t want to stop there. He’s introduced a bill to wipe out the whole agency.

Johnson’s bill, introduced this week, would eliminate funding for the EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from power plants, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate plan, plus the regulation of emissions from vehicles. It also would wipe out the greenhouse gas reporting program. And the agency’s environmental justice work. And climate research, regulation of ozone, the clean diesel campaign, and all EPA grant programs.

That’s on top of closing the EPA’s 10 regional field offices and leasing or selling all of the agency’s underutilized properties.

“As a fiscal conservative, I believe Washington should be respectful of taxpayers’ dollars and live within its means,” Johnson said in a statement. “American taxpayers certainly don’t need to be paying for the EPA’s empty and unused buildings and its wasteful programs.”

Citing the Heritage Foundation, Johnson said the “Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act” would save taxpayers more than $7.5 billion over the next decade.

Although House Republicans are expected to chip away at funding for the agency’s power plant rule and other climate efforts, Johnson’s bill isn’t likely to be a framework they’ll follow. The House Appropriations Committee has proposed a more modest $246 million cut in the top-line budget figures for the EPA and Department of the Interior, setting aside $30.17 billion for its interior and environment bill.

An EPA spokesman declined to comment on the potential impact of the bill.

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