Volume 115.10| June 14, 2018
US Senate Appropriations Committee Adopts FY 2019 Funding for EPA and NIST
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee adopted 30-1, the FY 2019 appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce, Justice and Science totaling $63 billion.

The bill provides a total of $1.04 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a cut of $161 million below the fiscal year 2018 level and $408 million above the President's request.

The bill again contains language preventing the Justice Department from interfering with states that have medical marijuana laws, ensuring that the prescribing and dispensing of medical marijuana in those states is both legal and regulated.

The US Senate Appropriations Committee has also adopted the FY 2019 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. The Senate provides the Environmental Protection Agency with $8.058 billion, equal to the FY2018 enacted level. The House provides EPA with $7.958 billion for FY 2019.

$6.29 billion was provided to the US Forest Service and includes investments in funding for improved health and management of our nation’s forests, as well as increased funding to fight wildfire. A $5 million increase for hazardous fuels reduction is provided to help prevent catastrophic wildfires, particularly in the wildland-urban interface.   

$4.345 billion was provided to fight wildland fire, representing fire suppression funding at the 10-year average and $900 million in additional funding in anticipation of regular suppression funding being insufficient to cover the costs of fighting wildfire. The bill includes $724 million for the Forest Service and $176 million for the Department of the Interior.

The bill fully funds Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) at an estimated $500 million. PILT provides funds for local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties. Without
congressional action, many rural communities could face huge budget shortfalls impacting public safety, education, and other local government responsibilities.

TODAY, USDA's Farm Service Agency released a Notice with instructions to State FSA Offices for establishing crop data for the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP). To review the Notice click here .
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