Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Some Wins for the Environment
In March 2018, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, otherwise known as the 2018 Omnibus Bill into law. At $1.3 trillion in total spending, it’s the largest omnibus funding bill in U.S. history.
Plenty of topics were covered in the massive 2,232-page document, including many measures that will have a surprisingly positive impact on the environment. While the Trump Administration isn’t known for it’s eco-friendly nature, many programs crucial to the health of the planet received funding that appeared to be in limbo. However, these wins were offset by a freeze of the base funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
5 Environmental Highlights of the 2018 Omnibus Bill
In total, the fiscal year 2018 Interior and Environmental Appropriations bill — covering the Department of the Interior, the EPA, the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and several other independent and related agencies — provides $35.2 billion in funding. Take a look at the spending breakdown.
Wildland Firefighting and Prevention — $3.8 Billion
The 10-year average for the wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest service were fully funded. Beyond that, an extra $500 million was provided for Forest Service suppression operations.
EPA — $8.1 Billion
As noted above, the EPA’s base funding was frozen at the fiscal year 2017 level. The Agency’s regulatory programs took a $23.5 million hit, following a reduction of 650 positions over the last year. On a positive note, the 2018 BUILD Act — Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2018 — was passed. This will assist the Agency’s efforts to clean up contaminated sites, which will make the communities they’re located in healthier and can help strengthen their local economies.
National Park Service (NPS) — $3.2 Billion
A reason to celebrate, the NPS received a funding increase of $255 million. This includes an extra $53 million in funding for park operations and an additional $185 million to handle longstanding deferred maintenance needs.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) — $1.6 Billion
The FWS saw a $75 million boost to its budget. The bill places a priority on funding to decrease the endangered species delisting backlog and refuge maintenance log, combat invasive species, prevent illegal wildlife trafficking, and stop the closure of fish hatcheries.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — $425 Million
LWCF programs received a funding increase of $25 million. More than half — 53% — of the money has been allocated to the NPS State Assistance, Forest Legacy, American Battlefield Protection, and Highlands Conservation Act programs.
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