Washington Watch: Conservationists Oppose Cuts to EPA, Interior

Washington Watch: Conservationists Oppose Cuts to EPA, Interior

The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV) is joining with other conservation advocates around the country to oppose cuts to the funding of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of the Interior.

The national League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Wilderness Society, and other citizen conservation groups are co-signing a letter to members of Congress in opposition to the proposed FY18 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill as proposed in the US House.

As pointed out in the groups’ joint letter, the proposed budget includes severe budget cuts to hamstring the EPA, other damaging agency reductions, as well as “nearly two dozen anti-environmental riders…that would undermine the country’s efforts to protect our clean air, water and oceans, weaken land conservation, and undercut endangered species and public health protections. These riders are aimed directly at reducing the efficacy of bedrock science-based environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. Critical funding legislation should not be held hostage by unrelated and damaging anti-environmental riders.”

The House’s proposed budget not only cuts the Interior Department’s resources; it also mandates specific decisions on endangered species that would override scientific analysis.

LCV’s Ernesto Vargas pointed out several of the bill’s other worst problems, including these: “The $528 million dollar cuts to the EPA mean more pollution that makes people sick, while slashing programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund hurts our thriving outdoor economy. Alarmingly, buried in the bill is an extreme provision giving the Trump administration carte blanche to withdraw the Clean Water Rule behind closed doors.”

Conservation advocates will fight this egregious proposal, and push for a clean spending bill that adequately funds natural resource conservation and environmental protection programs.

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