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Government Funding Package Could Cut Into Biden’s Green Agenda

A new government funding bill released Sunday includes numerous provisions intended to rein in the Biden administration’s climate agenda.

The bill includes language designed to fend off additional burden on leasing federal land, extend emissions regulation exemptions for certain farmers, decrease funding for certain federal programs and more. Lawmakers will need to pass the appropriations package by Friday in order to avoid a partial government shutdown.

One section of the bill extends a provision that prohibits the Department of the Interior (DOI) from proposing to add the greater sage-grouse to the list of species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The sage grouse is a small bird, but it carries huge significance for oil and gas leasing on federal lands: the Bureau of Land Management, a DOI subagency, has considered overhauling protections for the species on tens of millions of acres of Western land and make it more difficult to extract oil, gas and minerals from affected territories, according to E&E News.

The Obama administration added new protections for the sage grouse in 2015 before the Trump administration rolled some of them back in 2019, according to E&E News.

The appropriations package also rejected a Democrat proposal to replace the vehicles fleets of the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce with electric vehicles (EVs), according to a fact sheet published by Republican appropriators.

The funding bill also prolongs a provision prohibiting federal agencies from mandating American farmers disclose the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their manure management systems, according to its text. The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a regulation that would require publicly-traded corporations to disclose climate risks as they would other material risks, as well as the emissions produced by their operations.

The bill proposes funding several key Department of Energy (DOE) offices and programs at levels significantly lower than the levels requested by President Joe Biden. The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would receive $3.46 billion in funding, more than $300 million below what Biden asked for, while the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations would see a $39 million cut to its fiscal year 2023 budget and receive $165 million below Biden’s request, according to the fact sheet released by GOP appropriators.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which operates under the auspices of the DOE, would receive $460 million for fiscal year 2024 if the bill becomes law. That funding level would represent a $10 million decrease from fiscal year 2023 levels and come in $190 million below what Biden had requested, according to the fact sheet released by Republican appropriators.

Other notable climate-related language wedged into the bill include provisions to prevent the future sale of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) to Chinese entities and another that would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s fiscal year 2024 budget by about $976 relative to fiscal year 2023 levels.

The bill also would allocate more than $1.68 billion to the DOE for the agency to expand nuclear power and related infrastructure projects, according to its text.

The White House, the DOE and the DOI all did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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