House Votes to Slash Conservation: Tell the Senate not to follow

On Feb. 19, the House Majority — on a virtual straight party-line vote — passed an extreme budget bill, or continuing resolution,that if accepted by the Senate, will terminate funding for dozens of critical environmental programs and harm some of the nation’s bedrock conservation laws.

We need your help to stop these extreme cuts before they make it through the Senate.

The spending bill (H.R. 1) must pass to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. If the Senate passes this spending bill with the same funding cuts, which could happen as soon as March 18, we will see severe slashing of the EPA’s ability to limit greenhouse gases and the Bureau of Land Management’s new Wild Lands policy, which restores protections to millions of acres of wilderness  quality lands across the West.

Help us stop this severe assault on wildlands, wildlife, and the environment.  Urge your senators to stand firmly for the environment and to oppose the House spending bill.  If passed, this radical legislation would:

  • block the Interior Department’s new policy that restores protection to millions of acres of wilderness-quality public lands across the West;
  • cut the EPA’s budget by 30 percent and cripple the agency’s ability to reduce greenhouse gases that endanger public health and contribute to global warming;
  • slash the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 87 percent;
  • eliminate $1.2 billion in science funding needed to move away from fossil fuels towards sustainable, non-polluting sources of energy;
  • prohibit the EPA from enforcing Clean Water Act protections for thousands of American streams and wetlands;
  • eliminate the North America Wetlands Conservation Fund;
  • open up national forests to greater damage by ORVs.
  • cut 50 percent from current cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, Long Island Sound, Great Lakes and Lake Champlain;
  • eliminate all funding for the Forest Legacy Program, which restores ecosystems damaged by logging and other forms of development;
  • cripple Endangered Species recovery efforts;
  • prohibit the Forest Service from spending funds to manage and enforce off-road vehicle use on our national forests -- unmanaged ORV use was recognized by the Bush administration as one of the top threats to forests;
  • drastically reduce, by nearly 50%, crucial funding for the Forest Service to improve drinking water by removing old, unused logging roads from our forests and maintaining needed roads and trails.

Meanwhile, the bill leaves untouched $4 billion in annual oil, gas and coal subsidies!

These cuts will do little to change the federal deficit but represent a radical abandonment of a century of bipartisan support for conservation and environmental protection in America.

This is reckless and extreme.  Please, tell your senators to oppose the 2011 House spending bill. Click here to send your letter.

Itasca State Park in Minnesota. Photo by ruf_d, Flickr.