Senate Appropriations Committee Approves 2008 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Bill

On Thursday, June 21st, the Senate Appropriations reported out the 2008 Interior appropriations bill today, adopting the subcommittee report with the following amendments.

MMS 98/99 Leases

A Domenici amendment striking the provision that would have prohibited MMS from issuing new leases to holders of leases that do not have limitations on royalty relief. The amendment was passed by a vote of 15 and 14.

Polar Bears

A Reed amendment prohibiting the issuance of permits needed to allow the importation of polar bears or polar bear parts passed by voice vote.

Managers Package

The Managers package was adopted that included numerous technical changes, report language direction, and one funding adjustment. The funding adjustment reduced funding for FBMS by $1.0 million to provide $1.0 million for the Eisenhower Commission.

In addition, the following amendments were discussed, but not adopted. These amendments may be raised in floor action.

Secure Rural Schools

Craig withdrew his amendment to extend Secure Rural Schools funding through 2011.

Net Receipts Sharing

Bennett indicated that Domenici (who had to leave the mark up) had intended to propose that the provision re-establishing nets receipts sharing be stricken. The amendment was co-sponsored by Bennett, Allard, and Stevens.

Tsongas Forest

Stevens withdrew an amendment that would have limited the timeframe for filing a lawsuit in opposition to the Tsongas Forest Management plan (Forest Service).