With the budget battle in Washington still raging, Defenders has been working hard to protect investment in sound conservation programs, as well as suggesting areas where the federal budget should be cut.This week, Defenders along with 34 other conservation organizations delivered the Green Budget 2012 to Congressional offices. The document is a blueprint for how we can cut spending and sift out the areas where investment continues to be the wise decision.
For example, each year oil and coal companies receive $60 billion through tax subsidies, despite the fact that they continue to make record profits. Cut!
On the other hand, programs that keep our wildlife and wild places healthy underpin an outdoor recreation industry that contributes $730 billion to our economy each year. Investing in those areas is, as Defenders President Rodger Schlickeisen says, “not only a personal and moral responsibility but an economic no-brainer too”.
…they are using the budget deficit as an excuse to advance an extreme ideological agenda.
But while the budget battle takes center stage, an effort mounted by U.S. House leadership could potentially do untold damage to our environment. And even more troublingly, they are using the budget deficit as an excuse to advance an extreme ideological agenda.
The spending bill passed by the House and currently being deliberated by the Senate (H.R.1) also contained numerous anti-environment amendments, totally disconnected from budget issues. These bad policy riders contain body-blow attacks on core environmental laws we need to keep our air and water clean.
One bad policy rider blocks all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding for greenhouse gas pollution control. Another prevents EPA from protecting and restoring waterways in over 20 million acres of wetlands and habitat.
And as it stands, the bill includes attacks on the Endangered Species Act that would effectively remove all protections for most wolves in the Northern Rockies and deprive California’s Bay-Delta of a sustainable life-giving water supply.
Everyone understands that money is tight and tough choices must be made if we are going to reduce the budget deficit. And we need Congress to make sure that the cuts they make are smart cuts. But exploiting this budget process to advance a long-held anti environment agenda? That’s just wrong.