THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET:
A TWO-PRONGED ATTACK ON THE ENVIRONMENT
October 13, 1999
In the Administration's balanced budget for fiscal year 2000, President Clinton and Vice President Gore proposed significant new investments to protect precious lands, clean our air and water, restore endangered salmon and combat global warming. But the Republican majority in Congress is again waging a two-pronged attack on the environment and public health – cutting funding for these key priorities, while loading budget bills with special-interest "riders" that would roll back protections already in place. The President calls on Congress to fund major environmental priorities – without spending the Social Security surplus -- and to pass budget bills free of anti-environmental riders.
Shortchanging our Environment and Public Health
Protecting Precious Lands. The President's $1 billion Lands Legacy initiative would protect coastal resources and natural treasures – including the Everglades, Civil War battlefields, and the Mojave Desert – and provide communities with $434 million to protect, urban parks, farmland, forests, and other green spaces. But Congress has slashed the President's request by two-thirds.
Leading the Fight Against Global Warming. The President proposed $1.4 billion, a 34-percent increase, to research and develop clean energy technologies that save money and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Yet Congress is shortchanging these common-sense programs, as well as the Global Environmental Facility, an international fund that invests in clean energy and other environmental projects in developing countries.
Providing Clean, Safe Water. Congress is refusing to fully fund the President's Clean Water Action Plan, which helps communities, farmers, and other property owners curb dirty runoff and clean up waterways too polluted for fishing and swimming.
Restoring Endangered Salmon. The President proposed a new $100 million Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to help state, local, and tribal governments rebuild dwindling salmon stocks, and $60 million to begin implementing an historic salmon recovery treaty with Canada. Yet the Senate has provided nothing for the treaty, and the House nothing for either.
Rolling Back Protections through Backdoor Attacks
Once again, Congress has loaded up appropriations bills with special-interest riders that aim to block progress or roll back key environmental safeguards. Among other things, these riders would pave the way for more logging on national forests; cripple endangered species protections; rip off taxpayers by letting oil companies pay below-market royalties on oil produced on federal lands; ease restrictions on the dumping of mining wastes on public lands; and attempt to hamstring common-sense efforts to reduce global warming pollution.