Bills to Oppose
Water Bills to Oppose
HR 3043-passed House
The Hydropower Policy Modernization Act, would make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the lead agency for all federal authorities related to dams including The Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Policy Act. It gives unprecedented power to FERC to set schedule for federal, state, and tribal resource managers to fulfill their statutory responsibilities. It also alters the definition of renewable energy to include all hydropower, regardless of impact on sustainable water flows or the hydrology of a specific, impacted river system. This bill will rush decision-making and set an aggressive licensing schedule potentially making it difficult to protect water quality, recover threatened and endangered species, and manage tribal-trust resources and public lands.
Hydroelectric licenses are granted for 30-50 years. The ability to influence one comes only once in a generation. Relicensing gives the public opportunity to ensure dam owners make necessary changes to comply with modern laws. If H.R. 3043 is enacted, it seeks to limit the amount of input and the participation of stakeholders. It will make it harder for states, tribes, and federal agencies to carry out their authority under the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Introduced bill HR 848 (not passed house or senate yet)
Legislation that provides the agricultural industry with an unprecedented legal shield against responsibility by limiting the ability of communities to sue companies that contaminate their air, land and water.
“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of [ZIP CODE]. I am calling today to express my concerns about proposed bill H.R. 848. I am opposed to H.R. 848 because it would limit the ability of communities to sue companies that pollute their drinking water. This bill is nothing more than an attempt to shield industrial agriculture operations from lawsuits that would force them to responsibly manage their waste. When industrial agriculture does not properly dispose of manure, the waterways and groundwater of communities bear the price. Because I believe that the health of communities is more important than industrial agricultural profits, I am asking you to oppose H.R. 848. Thank you.”
Assault against the Endangered Species Act
Introduced Bill(not passed house or senate yet)HR 717
The appropriate department is given the authority to preclude the listing of a species as threatened due to the likelihood of significant, cumulative economic effects that would result from such listing or from the likely resulting designation of critical habitat of the species. Once a petition is precluded due to those economic effects, the appropriate department may not reconsider that finding unless the department: (1) determines there is endangerment of extinction of the species; or (2) receives a new petition to add the species to the list that includes an analyses concluding that alternative actions are possible other than those resulting in significant, cumulative economic effects
Introduced Bill(not passed house or senate yet)HR 1274
This bill amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require the Department of the Interior or the Department of Commerce, as appropriate, to provide to affected states all data that is used as the basis of a determination on whether a species is an endangered species or a threatened species before making a determination.The appropriate department must use data submitted by a state, tribal, or county government in making such a determination.
Introduced Bill(not passed house or senate yet)HR 3131
Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act, this bill amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to replace the current standard for awarding court costs, including attorney fees, in citizen suits with the federal judicial code standard for awarding costs to a prevailing party.
Introduced Bill(not passed house or senate yet)HR 424
Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017, this bill requires the Department of the Interior to reissue two rules that removed protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for the gray wolf populations located in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes (all of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, as well as portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio). In addition, this bill prohibits judicial review of the reissued rules.
Forest Management Bills to Oppose
Passed House-The Resilient Federal Forest Act H.R. 2936
This bill would strike at the heart of the National Environmental Policy Act, the 1970 legislation that requires the federal government to undertake environmental impact reviews before undertaking major projects.
H.R. 2936 would exempt the Forest Service from conducting NEPA reviews for logging projects as large as 30,000 acres. It would undermine the Endangered Species Act, as well, by allowing the Forest Service to forego studying a project’s impact on protected species if the agency determines that an action “is not likely to adversely affect a listed species or designated critical habitat.”
It would also curtail the ability of citizens and interest groups to mount legal challenges against logging projects on national forests, instead requiring logging opponents to enter a binding arbitration process. The law stipulates that arbitration must be concluded within 90 days.
Introduced S. 1731 (not passed house or senate yet)
The Forest Management Improvement Act of 2017, Like H.R. 2936, Thune’s legislation would greatly diminish NEPA authority. It would allow the Forest Service to undertake logging projects as large as 10,000 acres without first conducting a thorough environmental review. Instead, the agency would be allowed to issue categorical exclusions.
Categorical exclusions, which are currently allowed for only minor projects, could also be issued for any project that purports to “improve” wildlife habitat. They would also be allowed for any logging project designed to create “early seral habitat,” which would include clearcuts.
The bill also provides for categorical exclusions for logging stands of trees that have been recently killed by wildfire, disease, insects or other large-scale disturbances. Studies show that stands of dead trees provide critical habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
S.1731 would also limit the ability of ordinary citizens to challenge Forest Service projects by establishing a pilot arbitration program.
Bill that could change non-profit rules
Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (H.R. 1)
- Remove the Johnson Amendment language (Section 5201) from the House tax bill. Section 5201 of the House bill would weaken the law that protects 501(c)(3) organizations from demands from candidates for public office and their supporters for endorsements and campaign contributions. Existing law, called the “Johnson Amendment,” has successful protected nonprofits since 1954. Section 5201 would allow churches to endorse candidates, actions that will likely result in massive hidden political spending, religious broadcasters becoming ever more partisan, expansion of corruption in the 501(c)(3) space, exploitation of “sanctuaries” for political gain, the undermining of public trust, and much more.
- Add a Universal deduction for charitable giving to the House tax bill to enable all Americans to get a tax benefit from giving back to the work of nonprofits in their communities. The House tax bill would nearly double the standard deduction and, as a result, shrink down to five percent the number of taxpayers who itemize their charitable deductions – likely shrinking charitable giving too. Ninety-five percent of taxpayers would receive no tax benefit for giving back to their communities. A solution is to allow all taxpayers, including those who take the standard deduction, to take a deduction for their charitable donations.
- Contact Congressman Labrador and Simpson
“The House tax bill is a disaster for charitable nonprofits. I ask that the Representative tell colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee to do two things to help fix it: 1) strike the Johnson Amendment language at Section 5201 from the bill, and 2) add a universal deduction to give a tax incentive to all Americans to give back to their communities. The House won’t get to amend whatever the tax committee comes up with, so the Representative needs to tell Ways and Means Committee members to protect nonprofits! Thank you!”