Democrats trying for massive federal land and water grab in lame duck

Politico reports that Democrats are scrambling to wrap over a hundred bills involving asserting federal authority over land and water usage into a massive omnibus bill:

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that she has given Reid a draft list of bills to consider. That evolving list is believed to include plans to provide protection to the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Lake Tahoe, the Gulf of Mexico and the San Francisco Bay.

“The issue is getting 60 votes, which we think we can,” Boxer said.

Boxer, most of the Democrats on her panel, Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) were among those who gathered with Reid off the Senate floor during a vote last Monday to talk options. More formal meetings were also held Tuesday.

Republicans aren't exactly ready to play ball with this plan:

Several Senate Republicans are cosponsors of individual bills that could be included but the GOP appears likely to object to the package as a whole.

“There’s no way a giant omnibus like that would gain support among Republicans,” said Robert Dillon, spokesman for Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “There’s bills in there we would like to see passed but not this way. We don’t have the time to fix all the problems.”

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is also objecting to one of the bills set to be included involving new environmental protections for the Chesapeake Bay because of the “unprecedented, scope of authority it grants EPA over state permitting programs.”

While tax cuts and other lame duck issues might be hoovering up most of the attention from the press this proposed land and water grab is a very big deal and bears watching closely. 

 

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