Environmental and Regulatory Provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2016


The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2822) is divided into several divisions, reflecting separate appropriations acts. A cursory reading of this massive legislation discloses a few environmental and regulatory provisions of interest:money

  • Almost all of these appropriations bills included language specifically forbidding the use of federal funds by the agencies to indirectly lobby the Congress on legislative actions;
  • $200,000,000 is appropriated to the Corps of Engineers for the administration of its permitting and regulatory programs regarding navigable waters and wetlands;

  • The Corps of Engineers is not permitted to use any appropriated funds during this fiscal year to define “fill material” or “discharge of fill material” for Clean Water Act purposes;
  • No federal funds are to be used to require a Clean Water Act permit for the discharge of dredged or fill material for activities identified at 33 U.S.C. 1344(1)(A)and (C)—normal farming and ranching operations;
  • The Financial Services appropriation, addressing the budgetary needs of the Treasury Department, the District of Columbia and the Executive Office of the President, provides that none of the funds appropriated by this particular act are to be used to pay the expenses of non-federal parties intervening in regulatory or adjudicatory proceedings funded in Division E, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2016;
  • Moreover, none of the funds appropriated in this legislation are to be used to pay the salaries and expenses of the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change;
  • The Department of the Interior appropriations bill establishes annual fees for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) inspections;
  • No federal funds may be used to issue a proposed rule regarding the listing of the Sage-Grouse as being protected under the Endangered Species Act;
  • EPA is forbidden to use appropriated funds to promote or oppose any legislative proposal—communication with members of Congress should adhere to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1913;
  • The President must prepare and submit to the Congress a comprehensive report describing all federal funding for climate change programs;
  • No appropriated funds are to be used to promulgate or implement any rule regulating the emission of CO2 and methane generated by biological processes associated with livestock production;
  • No federal funds are to be used to implement a rule requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions associated with manure management operations;
  • No federal funds are to be used to regulate the lead content of ammunition or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act; and
  • Of special interest to Houston, Texas, there is a provision in the Transportation budget that no federal funds are to be used to construct a light rail system on Richmond Avenue west of South Shepherd Drive or on Post Oak Boulevard north of Richmond Avenue unless the affected voters specifically approve such a project and the language of the ballot complies with the language set forth in Section 164(a) and (b) of Title I of Division L of the Consolidated Appropriations Act.