Washington, D.C. (RELEASE) November 6, 2023 — The House of Representatives passed an Interior Department appropriations bill – the 7th appropriations bill passed by the House. The bill represents a 35% reduction in spending from FY2023 levels, expands access to critical minerals, forces oil and gas lease sales, and cuts burdensome regulations. In addition, it fully funds the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and prioritizes funding for Tribes and Wildland Fire Management. Finally, it incorporates two of Rep. Hageman’s key priorities, delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) population of Grizzly Bears from the endangered species list, and prohibiting finalization of the Bureau of Land Management’s Rock Springs draft Resource Management Plan.
Representative Hageman stated, “This is the most conservative, responsible, and pro-western values appropriations bill ever passed by the House of Representatives. Not only does it cut spending, but this bill actually reduces funding to below FY2018 levels. Despite this aggressive cut, core functions of the Department of the Interior are supported while programs such as “eco-grief” seminars, DEI and CRT courses, and the budget for the Wuhan Institute of Virology are defunded.
“One of the greatest features of the bill is that it repeals Biden’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation and reins in regulatory overreach by the EPA.
“Of specific importance to Wyoming, the appropriations bill includes an amendment I offered which prohibits the BLM from finalizing and implementing the Rock Springs draft Resource Management Plan, a plan that was designed to severely restrict grazing, mining, energy production, recreation, and other activities on 3.6 million acres in southwestern Wyoming.
“The BLM’s draft RMP is one of the largest land grabs we’ve ever seen. If approved, it would block the use of millions of acres of land for pipelines, power lines, roads, grazing, recreation, and economic development activities. The alternatives laid out in this plan would destroy Wyoming’s local economy. I am grateful that my colleagues in the House chose to support my amendment which would prevent any funds from going towards finalizing and implementing this monstrosity of a plan.
“Another priority included in this bill is the delisting of the GYE population of Grizzly Bears from the endangered species list.
“Earlier in this Congress I introduced a standalone bill to delist the grizzly, with Congressmen Ryan Zinke, Russ Fulcher, Pete Stauber, and Matt Rosendale as cosponsors. As Interior Secretary under President Donald Trump in 2017, Rep. Zinke moved to delist the grizzly, but this action was overturned by an activist court. With Rep. Zinke now on the House Appropriations committee, he was able to insert my standalone bill into the bill that we passed today. I’d like to thank him for his hard work to have such a critical Wyoming priority included.
“The grizzly bear has been listed as threatened (but not endangered) since 1975, and its original recovery goal was 500 bears. Today, we have nearly 1100 bears in this ecosystem. The population of bears has become so large that they now pose a serious and deadly threat to people, wildlife, and livestock in Wyoming. Further, US Fish and Wildlife found that the grizzly population has exceeded recovery goals for over 20 years.
“I urge the Senate to pass this fiscally responsible bill without delay.”