Conservation programs are a teeny tiny slice of our overall budget. We won’t balance our budget on the back of our environment, but you’d never know that watching the budget fight in Congress.
The 2012 budget, like the 2011 budget just a few months ago promises to be another fight to protect proven conservation and environmental programs – and the priceless benefits like clean air, clean water, and better lifestyles that come with them – from rampant cost-cutting across the board.
The bulk of the environmental and conservation programs are contained in the Interior and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which was released this past week to the chagrin of everyone who cares about wilderness and wide open spaces. The bill contained draconian cuts to programs with long histories of success, and worse, came with attached instructions and legislative language – called “riders” for the way they piggyback on larger, harder to veto legislation – that threaten to poison our air, foul our drinking water, and threaten the welfare of iconic wildlife species like bighorn sheep.
Some of the highlights – or lowlights – of the bill are:
- Funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund was cut more than 70% percent.
- More cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget – $1.8 billion in total from the President’s request – coming from programs that guarantee clean water and help states ensure clean air.
- An overall cut of $1.2 billion from the Department of Interior – money that could be used for research and on-the-ground climate preparedness to protect communities from the effects of climate change.
- A rider that would lower air quality standards across the US – allowing polluters to dump more pollution in the air and threaten the health of people across the country.
These assaults on our health, our environment, and our wild places are coming on all fronts and The Wilderness Society is pushing back hard against them. We’re also taking this fight to Twitterverse – and can use your help!
Follow The Wilderness Society on Twitter (@wilderness) and like us on Facebook and follow our updates as we fight to keep our air, land, and water safe from degradation and destruction. We’ll be asking Members of Congress directly to stand up for conservation and you can too. Share with your friends and help put pressure on Congress to do the right thing and protect our open spaces.