Of the groups watching the budget negotiations in Washington this week, environmentalists are among those most keenly interested.
A reported compromise between House and Senate negotiators to cut $32 billion from the remainder of fiscal year 2011 spending could hit environmental programs hard. As much as $3.6 billion in cuts to the Department of Energy and $4.4 billion in cuts to the Department of Interior could affect environmental enforcement, according to the Wilderness Society.
But many environmentalists are even more worried about so-called “riders” that could be attached to any final spending bill. The riders target EPA authority to regulate air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, mountaintop mining restrictions, climate science programs, and clean water programs.