LETTER: Environmental Community Regarding Initial H.R. 3354 Amendments

September 6, 2017

Dear Representative,

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we urge you to oppose H.R. 3354, which does not responsibly or adequately fund the federal government or the hundreds of programs and thousands of civil servants tasked with implementing our nation’s landmark environmental laws that protect people in this country and our air, climate, water, wildlife and treasured American landscapes.

In advance of floor votes on amendments being considered to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration; State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS); and Homeland Security divisions of H.R. 3354, please find voting recommendations for some of the currently submitted amendments.

                                            

We urge NO votes on the following amendments:

Division H: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Budd #32: This amendment would slash needed investments in rail capacity in the traffic-congested northeast corridor, in exchange for slightly boosting spending on transit New Starts. However, New Starts would be increased by less than half the amount swiped from the northeast corridor, leading to a net reduction in badly needed funding.

Brooks #48: This amendment eliminates Amtrak funding for the national network. In doing so, it undermines a critical transportation mode that millions of Americans and businesses rely on to connect economic hubs.

Division E: Homeland Security

Zeldin #77: This amendment would allow fishing for Atlantic striped bass in federal waters between Montauk, New York, and Block Island, Rhode Island, by preventing the Coast Guard from enforcing the current moratorium on fishing in this area. Fishing for striped bass in these waters has been prohibited since the 1990s to prevent overfishing and to allow the stock to rebuild. Permitting fishing in these waters will endanger the health of the stock and the sustainability of the fishery.

We urge YES votes on the following amendments:

Division B: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Cicilline #21: This amendment removes a harmful provision that undermines federal agency coordination with states. The harmful provision that this amendment seeks to remove would have unintended consequences, leaving states without the help they need to move forward on shared ocean priorities and address regional management challenges like clean water with the Department of Agriculture.

                                            

Additionally, we want to note our disappointment by the choice of an offset to boost funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Funding FEMA is critical, particularly as the severity and intensity of extreme weather events are made worse by climate change. Disaster relief work however should not come at the expense of other unrelated and valuable programs, particularly those that aid in reducing carbon pollution. The bill makes further cuts to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program (ATVM). ATVM has a solid track record of helping manufacturers like Ford modernize their facilities and build cleaner cars and has created or saved tens of thousands of jobs. The recent Water Resources Development Act already cut the program by $300 million, and further cuts to this program are simply irresponsible.

Thank you for your consideration, and please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Alaska Wilderness League

Clean Water Action

Defenders of Wildlife

Environment America

Friends of the Earth

Green For All

GreenLatinos

Hip Hop Caucus

League of Conservation Voters

Natural Resources Defense Council

Oceana

Restore America’s Estuaries

Sierra Club

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