Congress to Consider Supplemental Disaster Appropriations & EPA Nominee

On Tuesday afternoon, January 15 the U.S. House Rules Committee is scheduled to debate the rules for floor consideration of H.R 268, making Supplemental Appropriations for necessary expenses related to flood mitigation, disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure in areas that received a major disaster designation as a result of Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, and of wildfires, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018. Below are highlights of some of the programs impacted categorized by their respective Departments and Agencies: 

Department of Agriculture

  • $1.1 billion for the Department of Agriculture which shall remain available until December 31, 2020, for necessary expenses related to losses of crops (including milk), trees, bushes, and vines,
  • $480 million additional for Emergency Forest Reforestation Program,
  • $125 million additional for ‘Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations for Emergency Watershed Protection Program,
  • $150 million additional cost of grants for rural community facilities programs, and
  • $600 million additional for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for disaster assistance.

 Of note: Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) has introduced two amendments. If accepted the amendments would:

#11 Make the federal cost share 90 percent for debris removal costs related to disasters declared as a result of a wildfire in 2018, and

#12 Clarify that winegrape growers whose crops were tainted by smoke from a 2018 wildfire are eligible for assistance under this Act, even if the damage is discovered after the grapes have been removed from the vine.

Department of Commerce

  • $120.6 million for National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration for facilities, maintenance and Operations,
  • $150 million for mitigating the effects of commercial fishery failures and fishery resource disasters declared by the Secretary of Commerce.

Department of Justice

$28.4 million for federal prison system building and facilities,

$15 million for Legal Services Corporations.

Department of Defense

  • $200 million for US Marine Corp operations and maintenance,
  • $400 million for Air Force operations and maintenance,
  • $715 million for US Army Corp of Engineers for construction of flood and storm damage reduction, including shore protection, projects which are currently authorized or which are authorized after the date of enactment of this Act, and flood and storm damage reduction including shore protection, projects,
  • $225 million for Corps of Engineers projects that address emergency situations along the Mississippi River and Tributaries including damages to Corps of Engineers projects, caused by natural disasters,
  • $245 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to cover the Federal share of eligible operation and maintenance costs for coastal harbors and channels, and for inland harbors.

Department of Interior

  • $15.5 million for Bureau of Reclamation for fire remediation and suppression emergency assistance related to wildfires in 2017 and 2018,
  • $50 million to U.S. fish and Wildlife Services to be used to restore and rebuild national wildlife refuges and increase the resiliency and capacity of coastal habitat and infrastructure to withstand storms and reduce the amount of damage caused by such storms,
  • $50 million available through 2022 for completion of compliance activities required by the National Historic Preservation Act) and costs needed to administer the program,
  • $78 million to National Park Service for construction repairs,
  • $72. 3 million for US Geological Survey for costs related to the repair and replacement of equipment and facilities damaged by disasters in 2018.

Environmental Protection Agency

  • $261,000,000 shall be for capitalization grants for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds under title VI of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and of which $239 million shall be for capitalization grants under section 1452 (establishing the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

U.S. Forest Service

  • $1 million for Forest and Rangeland Research,
  • $2 million for State and Private Forestry,
  • $63.9 million for the National Forest System,
  • $36 million for capital improvements and maintenance,
  • $720.3 million for wildland fire management through Sept 30, 2022.

Department of Transportation

$1.65 billion for the Federal Highway Administration to reimburse states and territories for damage from natural disasters to roads and bridges in the National Highway System, and

Department of Housing and Urban Development

$1.16 billion for Community Development Block Grants for disaster recovery assistance in communities rebuilding housing, businesses, and public infrastructure in the most impacted and distressed areas affected by major natural disasters.

U.S. Senate Committee Considers Andrew Wheeler For Administrator EPA

Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Even amidst a government shutdown that impacts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on Wednesday, January 16 the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on President Trump’s nominee, Andrew Wheeler to be Administrator of the EPA.


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