The United States Congress last week passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.
The bill, which passed 240 to 177, would provide $35.4 billion in FY16 spending – $29 billion for the Department of Energy and $5.6 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The Energy and Waters Appropriations Act provides critical infrastructure funding for our nation’s many projects and programs, including our energy grid, waterways, and infrastructure projects,” Congressman Don Young said. “This legislation represents much needed funding for continued operations and maintenance of our harbors and ports, many of which require constant dredging.”
The bill also works to significantly reduce executive overreach by barring the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing its proposal to redefine the term “navigable waters” for the purpose of expanding which bodies of water are subject to Clean Water Act permit requirements.
The bill would also bar funds from being used to:
- Implement two of the National Ocean Policy’s most concerning components: Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and Ecosystem-Based Management,
- Enforce a ban on firearms on Corps land, as long as the possession of the firearm is in compliance with state law,
- Modify the definition of “fill material” or actions constituting the “discharge of fill material.” This is an effort to ensure the definition is not changed to include “mine waste.”