FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 18, 2017
CONTACTS: SUE WALITSKY 202-224-4524/TIM ZINK 410-962-4436
 
Filibuster-proof Number of Senators Urge Appropriators to Strip Environmental Riders from End-of-Year Spending Package
WASHINGTON – Forty senators, led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), are urging appropriators negotiating an end-of-year package to keep the spending bill free of dangerous environmental policy riders too often found in House appropriations. The letter, also supported by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), brings together more senators than have signed onto a letter of this type in recent history and more than the required number of votes needed to block any of these riders from moving forward.   
“As you consider Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills or a continuing resolution, we urge you to oppose any riders that would eviscerate the United States’ foundational environmental laws,” the senators wrote to Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “Unfortunately, many of the appropriations bills approved this year have included deeply divisive environmental policy riders that have no place in must-pass legislation and that complicate the bipartisan cooperation necessary to pass such legislation. To avoid these harmful outcomes, we write to you to express our strong opposition to any riders that would gut bedrock U.S. environmental laws and threaten our air, water, lands, and wildlife.”
The letter was signed by Senators Ben Cardin, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.). 
Examples of destructive policy riders added by the House of Representatives include:
·       House Interior and Environment appropriations. Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) rider would undermine a successful regional effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The amendment (House amend. 354) would run counter to federalism and hamper progress being made to clean up local waters.
·       House Energy and Water appropriations. A rider in this bill (Sec. 108) would allow EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to ignore public input in repealing the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill had a similar rider (Sec. 431).
·       Senate Interior and Environment chairman’s mark (p. 37). This language would potentially open up all American coastlines to the risks that come from offshore drilling. This amendment works in opposition to overwhelming public opposition.
·       House Interior and Environment appropriations. Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-Va.) amendment (House amend. 368) would keep the EPA from implementing the first-ever limits on methane pollution – a potent greenhouse gas – from the oil and gas sector. The health benefits of such safeguards are significant, while the costs would be low.
·       House Interior and Environment appropriations. Rep. Mullin’s amendment (House amend. 369) would ignore the costs of climate change, putting businesses, families and local communities at risk for billions of dollars for long-term property damage, health, food and other costs that would skyrocket when an extreme event hit.
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Chairman Cochran and Vice Chairman Leahy:
 
We understand that you are working to formulate multiple pieces of short-term or long-term legislation to fund the federal government. As you consider Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills or a continuing resolution, we urge you to oppose any riders that would eviscerate the United States’ foundational environmental laws.
 
Unfortunately, many of the appropriations bills approved this year have included deeply divisive environmental policy riders that have no place in must-pass legislation and that complicate the bipartisan cooperation necessary to pass such legislation. To avoid these harmful outcomes, we write to you to express our strong opposition to any riders that would gut bedrock U.S. environmental laws and threaten our air, water, lands, and wildlife. We urge you to bring forward legislation that is free of these harmful ideological riders. 
 
Instead of undermining this legislation with harmful environmental policy riders that have nothing to do with the nation’s spending certainty, we strongly urge you to bring forward legislation free of controversial provisions to fund the federal government through a short-term or long-term spending package.
 
Please oppose any riders that would gut America’s foundational environmental laws.
 
Sincerely,