April 14, 2011

Environmental Impact of Budget Cuts

We are now starting to learn the environmental impacts of the latest budget deal. 

Our elected representatives have declared that the wolf is no longer an endangered species.  

"A bipartisan measure to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Montana and Idaho undermines the scientific integrity of the 37-year-old law and could open the door to removing safeguards for other species and their habitats, environmental groups said."

The EPA's budget of $8.7 billion has been cut by $1.6 billion or 18%. Of those cuts, $1.19 billion will be passed on to states which will have funding removed for local drinking water projects and cleaning up polluted bodies of water including the Great Lakes. 

It also cuts $82 million designed to reduce air pollution.

The Interior Department has been prohibited from implementing the Wilderness Policy to protect roadless areas of our wilderness. This change in effect reinstates Bush's Wilderness Drilling policy. Bush's policy was known as the "No Wilderness" policy. 

The Land and Conservation Fund, the main vehicle for acquiring new federal lands and protecting species - has been cut from $450 million to $300 million. 

Climate change related funding has been reduced by $49 million including eliminating the Climate Change Advisor position within the EPA, recently held by Carol Browner. It also blocked funding for the establishment of a National Climate Service, a budget neutral office, that had been established to consolidate climate related work within the EPA. 

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