April 04, 2018

Cortez Masto: Omnibus Delivers Funding for Enhanced Environmental Protection, Blocks Yucca Mountain Funding

Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement on the spending agreement that passed in the Senate, highlighting its increased or matched funding for environmental and science programs despite the Trump administration’s calls for spending cuts to advance the president’s anti-science agenda.

“Despite the administration’s repeated calls to cut funding for environmental and science programs, I am pleased that the omnibus will deliver critical resources to help us tackle the threat of climate change, protect the environment and our public lands. This omnibus contains absolutely zero funding for the reopening of Yucca Mountain, and it protects the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program so our local governments can continue to provide essential services to Nevada’s rural communities.

“Nevada families deserve clean air, clean water, and the opportunity to enjoy our state’s vast and beautiful public lands. I will continue to fight for federal money for the people of Nevada and fight to make sure Yucca Mountain remains dead.”

BACKGROUND

The omnibus spending package passed last week in the Senate:

  • Matches the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2017 funding of $8.1 billion despite Trump administration’s call for more than a 23 percent cut.
  • Funds EPA’s state and regional grants in full.
  • Protects EPA Staff, including scientists, from Administrator Pruitt’s requested funding for large-scale buyouts.
  • Boosts the Department of Energy’s (DOE) funding for energy programs.
  • Increases the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy by 14 percent, receiving a total of $2.3 billion.
  • Increases funding for DOE's Office of Science to a record $6.26 billion, a 16 percent increase over current spending.
  • Rejects the Trump Administration’s proposed funding for Yucca Mountain.
  • Raises National Parks Funding by 8 percent, including a roughly $150 million increase to address the National Park Service's $11.6 billion maintenance backlog.
  • Awards more money to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs, more than both current spending levels and against the administration's recommendations.
  • Maintains $60 million for “greater sage-grouse and related sage-steppe conservation activities,” equal to the current spending level.

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