Clean air and water, environmental protections on GOP chopping block

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WASHINGTON (02/12/2011) -

WASHINGTON (February 12, 2011) – The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen in response to the release of the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) by the Republicans in the U.S House of Representatives:

“Budget cuts are the order of the day to help put the country’s fiscal house in order, but the public should be able to trust Congress to demonstrate a sense of fairness and rationality in the cutting process. The House leadership’s Continuing Resolution proves otherwise. Vital programs that keep our air and water clean and protect our wildlife and public lands have been axed while massive subsidies for big international oil corporations remain in place. Where’s the sense in that?

“It’s clear that the House leadership’s budget-cutting zeal is confined to programs that they oppose on ideological grounds, including environmental protection. Unwarranted taxpayer subsidies for the biggest special interests are left untouched.  Stewardship of our nation’s magnificent and unique natural heritage should rank far above fiscal handouts to the favored undeserving, but apparently not in the minds of this House leadership. If they have their way, future generations will have to pay for not only an enormous budget deficit but also a lost natural legacy. ”

“This legislation goes far beyond what is needed to keep our government up and running. It includes a slew of totally unrelated provisions that would gut America’s commitment to maintaining a healthy environment for future generations. Global warming is perhaps the greatest threat our civilization has ever faced, yet a provision to deny EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases would eviscerate our nation’s ability to meet those challenges head on. Another provision aimed at negating the expert opinion of government scientists would deprive California’s Bay Delta of a sustainable, life-giving water supply. Another would legislatively remove federal protections for gray wolves in most of the Northern Rockies—a blatant attempt to ram through the same bad delisting plan that has already failed twice in the courts.

“Do the American people want cuts? Yes. Decimation of our precious environment and natural resources? No. Clearly the new House majority is using the Continuing Resolution as an opening salvo in an extremely broad and dangerous attack on our country’s most important environmental safeguards. We can only expect the proposals to get worse when the measure comes before the full House.”

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Contact(s):

Jessica Brand, (202) 772-0239
John Motsinger, (415) 341-5285

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