New Federal Spending Proposal Halts Crucial Wildlife Funding

Appropriators take an axe to vital public lands, wildlife conservation and public health programs while continuing to subsidize Big Oil.

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The House Appropriations Committee this week passed its fiscal year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. According to the National Wildlife Federation's Adam Kolton, "the policy riders and extreme cuts in this proposal mark a radical departure from America's longstanding national commitment to protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink. Our families will bear the costs, while polluters will reap the profits."

The bill slashes investments for agencies charged with providing clean water, protecting public health, and safeguarding wildlife. This includes an 18% cut in investments for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a 7% cut in investments for the Department of Interior. 

In addition to these deep cuts, harmful provisions tacked onto the bill seek to: 

  • Endanger the survival of countless species of wildlife, fish and plants by cutting of all investments to list endangered species or provide listed species with "critical habitat."
  • Rollback pending protections for river otters, cutthroat trout, waterfowl and other species by blocking the EPA's effort to restore Clean Water Act protections for millions of acres of wetlands, lakes, and streams.
    Polar bears on ice
  • Put the health of people and wildlife at risk by hamstringing the EPA's court-ordered responsibility to control carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and oil refineries for one year.
  • Threaten polar bears, seals, walruses and other Arctic species by pushing aside the federal Clean Air Act permitting process to allow Shell Oil to rush forward with "exploratory drilling" in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off of Alaska's coast.
  • Threaten salamanders and other freshwater species by blocking environmental regulations of mountaintop-removal coal mining.
  • Allow coal ash to pollute groundwater by preventing the EPA from regulating the toxic substance as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. 

Learn more at www.nwf.org/news.

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