The House passed the 2019 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which included several of Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Utah) provisions that are critical for Utah.
Specifically Rep. Stewart’s amendments do the following:
Solution to Wild Horse Overpopulation – This bill included Rep. Stewart’s bipartisan amendment to address the overpopulation of Wild Horses. This amendment will give the Bureau of Land Management legislative authority and a 15 million dollar increase to manage horse populations.
Emergency Funding for Drought – The ongoing drought in West is devastating. My legislation encourages the Bureau of Land Management to work with the state of Utah through the Watershed Restoration Initiative, to develop water resources to benefit the public, wildlife, endangered species, permittees and other users.
Funds the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program – Rep. Stewart fought for a $35 million increase for the PILT Program. The program provides compensation to local governments for the loss of tax revenue resulting from the presence of federal land in their county or State. Two-thirds of Utah is owned by the federal government.
Promotes Healthy Forests and Wildland Fire Management – Rep. Stewart added provisions to make our forests healthy again by addressing forest devastation caused by the bark beetle. For far too long the BLM and the Forest Service have been constrained by onerous federal laws – laws intended to protect the environment, but are now killing our forests. In total, the bill funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at $3.9 billion, fully funding the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service, and providing robust additional funding – $500 million– for Forest Service suppression operations. The legislation also includes $655 million for hazardous fuels management, which is $30 million above the fiscal year 2018 level.
“I am pleased that the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill passed the House today. This bill includes several of my amendments that are critical to Utah’s interests. We we’re able to increase PILT’s funding, a critical program for Utah’s rural counties. It addresses the wild horse overpopulation issue that is prevalent in the West. And it focuses on maintaining healthy forests’ and helps fund more wildland fire protection. I’m grateful for the support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who helped these amendments make it into this final legislation.” – Rep. Chris Stewart
The Interior and Environment Appropriation Bill also includes:
Prevention of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting closures on federal lands
Repeals the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. Rule