Commentary

NC congressman: EPA employees should not be allowed to fly on business trips

Richard HudsonHo hum, another day, another embarrassing action from a member of North Carolina’s mostly reactionary congressional delegation.

Natasha Geling at Think Progress has the details on the latest nutty proposal — this one from Congressman Richard Hudson (pictured at left) of suburban Charlotte:

“Congress is getting ready to dole out funds for the Environmental Protection Agency, with the House Rules Committee meeting Monday night to go over the more than 140 proposed amendments for this year’s $32 billion dollar EPA-Interior funding bill.

And if a North Carolina congressman gets his way, EPA officials may find themselves taking more buses and trains than planes for official business: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) has proposed an amendment that would ban EPA officials from using funds to pay for official travel by plane.

Hudson also introduced a second amendment that would prohibit EPA officials from carrying firearms — something that a small number of employees do for enforcement purposes. As Grist points out, however, Rep. Hudson does not appear to believe in gun control writ large, calling President Obama’s proposed ban on AR-15 ammunition part of the president’s “liberal gun control agenda.”

The EPA has a criminal enforcement program that focuses on pursuing people that have committed serious environmental crimes. The agency has long argued that it is critical that members of this program be allowed to carry firearms, but the program is controversial among some lawmakers who believe that officials with the agency should not be allowed to possess weapons as part of their job. Elected officials have tried previously to strip the agency’s ability to carry firearms, but those proposals have been largely ignored.

Hudson’s amendments are far from the only proposals that seek to limit funding for the EPA and the Department of the Interior. Other amendments include one that would block funding for the implementation of the Well Control Rule, a proposed rule that seeks to prevent the kind of major offshore oil spill seen in 2010 during the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Another amendment prohibits any funds from being used to stop Arctic drilling leases for the 2017-2022 leasing program. Another amendment blocks the Department of the Interior from using any funding to implement the Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands rule, which seeks to regulate how fracking can occur on federal and tribal lands.”

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