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House passes Continuing Resolution that includes most sweeping cuts and policy changes to environmental protections since Gingrich era proposals

WASHINGTON (02/19/2011) -

The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen in response to the passage of the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) by the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The House-passed Continuing Resolution takes a meat axe to a budget-cutting task that should be carefully done instead with careful surgery. Among its many wrong-headed provisions are the most sweeping cuts and policy changes to clean air, clean water, and land and wildlife conservation programs since the much-vilified “Gingrich” 104th Congress (1994-1996). But to add insult to injury, the House has shielded some of the worst actors on the environment from any cuts at all.  The legislation makes clear that Big Oil and other rich, polluting industries will still have their favored place at the federal trough even as vital conservation programs get the axe. Clearly, this is about a lot more than budget cutting; this is about the extreme Right’s ongoing ideological crusade to dismantle environmental protections opposed by the nation’s major polluting industries.

“There appears to be no area of environmental policy that the House-passed bill doesn’t attack. It blocks EPA programs that protect the air we breathe, and severely limits efforts to help our nation adapt to the threats posed by climate change.  By removing necessary funding, another provision eliminates EPA’s ability to protect communities and wildlife under the Clean Water Act against even the most egregious proposed mountain top mining projects.  And the bill slashes key conservation funding streams like those feeding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and State Wildlife Grant programs, and takes a swipe at the vital Endangered Species Act. Among other things, this recklessness jeopardizes California’s Bay Delta water supply and effectively boots the Northern Rockies gray wolf off the list of endangered wildlife, leaving them at the mercy of states poised to undertake massive wolf killing programs. In all, the bill reads like an anti-environmental lobbyist’s ‘wish list’ – one that when enacted would leave the American people to pay the price with their health, welfare and natural heritage.

“Do we need to get our fiscal house in order? Of course. But we shouldn’t be pursuing a shortsighted, ideologically-driven agenda that not only represents an amateurish and incomplete approach to dealing with our federal deficit, but also uses false arguments for fiscal responsibility to create what would be a massive conservation deficit for our children. Congress shouldn’t be coddling special interests while jeopardizing our natural heritage and the health and well-being of our nation’s citizens and future generations.”

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William Lutz, (202) 772-0269
Jessica Brand, (202) 772-0239