President's budget on the environment: More of the same misplaced priorities

Putting special interests ahead of America's families

provided by Nancy Pelosi


utting the interests of mining, timber and oil companies first, the Bush budget calls for a $1 billion sell-off of 800,000 acres of public lands over the next five years. Putting the interests of oil companies first, the Bush budget calls for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge – one of the nation’s last pristine, untouched wildlife refuges. Putting the interests of polluters first, the budget once again abandons the principle of “polluter pays” for Superfund site cleanups – making American taxpayers pay instead.

    Democrats believe that we must pursue new policies that take our country in a different direction. The Bush Administration's FY 2007 budget fails on that score; it continues with more of the same wrong priorities that have taken our country in the wrong direction. It puts special interests first and the American people last. It is fiscally reckless, adding trillions to the deficit over the next 10 years, and morally irresponsible, slashing funding for key priorities critical to America's middle class. Democrats are fighting to restore fiscal responsibility and to bring real solutions to the American people, along with economic prosperity, a strong national defense, affordable health care and energy, and strong public schools.

Cuts overall environmental programs by 8 percent


    For the sixth year in a row, the Bush budget proposes significantly cutting funding for programs that protect public health and the environment. The budget provides $27.9 billion in appropriations for these programs - which is a cut of $2.4 billion, or 8 percent below the FY 2006 enacted level.

Cuts EPA funding by 4 percent


    The Bush budget cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by $304 million, or 4 percent below this year's enacted level, which would impact all of EPA's important functions, including enforcement of key environmental statutes. If the Bush budget is enacted, the EPA budget would have been slashed from $8.4 billion in FY 2004 to $7.3 billion in FY 2007 – a cut of 13 percent in three short years.

Calls for $1 billion sell-off of our public lands


    President Bush includes two new proposals to sell off public lands in his FY 2007 budget - estimated to raise $1 billion. Under the Bush budget, 300,000 acres of National Forest lands and 500,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands over the next five years would be put on the auction block.

Assumes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


    For the sixth year in a row, the Bush budget assumes opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration – something which the Congress has repeatedly rejected. The Bush budget assumes $4 billion in ANWR lease bonuses for the Federal Treasury over the next five years.

Abandons the principle of “polluter pays” for Superfund toxic waste site cleanups


    One in four people in America lives within four miles of a major toxic waste site on the “Superfund” list, but the number of annual Superfund cleanups has dropped by almost 50 percent since the beginning of the Bush Administration. The Bush budget is proposing only $1.26 billion for Superfund cleanups in 2007, which will continue the slow pace and continue to shift the cost of these cleanups onto the taxpayers.

Slashes Clean Water funds by 22 percent and essentially freezes funding for safe drinking water


    The Bush budget slashes funding for the states’ Clean Water revolving loan funds, which help improve wastewater treatment facilities, by $199 million – a 22 percent cut. If the Bush budget is enacted, Clean Water funding would have been slashed from $1.3 billion in FY 2004 to $688 million in FY 2007 – a cut of 49 percent in three short years. The Bush budget also essentially freezes funding for states’ Safe Drinking Water revolving loan funds at this year's enacted level – providing $842 million, an increase of 0.6 percent.

Cuts Environmental Justice funding by 28 percent


    The President's budget cuts funding for environmental justice programs by $1.7 million – or 28 percent – below this year’s enacted level. Environmental justice programs protect the health and welfare of low-income and minority communities from environmental toxins related to industrial pollution.

Cuts National Parks funding by $100 million or 4 percent


    Despite all of the unmet needs of our national parks, the President's budget cuts funding by $100 million or 4 percent, including a cut of $72 million in the construction and major maintenance fund. The proposed cut of $100 million comes on top of a $59 million cut the Republican Congress enacted last year.

Underfunds Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) programs by $815 million or 91 percent


    The President not only fails to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at the authorized level of $900 million, but also continues the trend of significant cuts seen in past budgets. For FY 2007, the President claims to provide $533 million for the LWCF, yet in reality the budget provides only $85 million for LWCF purposes. Indeed, the Bush budget completely eliminates LWCF's State Conservation Grants. For the last forty years, this grant program has provided state and local parks and recreation directors desperately needed funding to help them preserve open space and develop recreational facilities.

Underfunds combating groundwater contamination


    The President's budget provides only $72.8 million for Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) funding, a cut of 4 percent below this year's funding – despite the fact that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes $400 million a year and the LUST Trust Fund is estimated to have a balance of over $2.7 billion.

Underfunds brownfields cleanup and assessment grants


    The Brownfields Revitalization Act that President Bush signed in 2002 authorizes $200 million a year for brownfields cleanup and assessment grants, a priority for the nation's mayors. And yet the budget requests only $89 million in FY 2007, plus $23 million in administrative costs - only 56 percent of the $200 million authorized level. The $89 million request for grants is 35 percent below the President's request for FY 2006.

Cuts farm conservation programs


    The President's budget cuts vital Farm Bill conservation programs that help farmers and ranchers protect and enhance natural resources by over $450 million. This is on top of the $249 million in farm conservation cuts enacted in the GOP reconciliation bill signed into law in February.

Slashes funding for clean oceans


    The 2003 report by the US Commission on Ocean Policy found that the oceans are in crisis and new investments are needed. And yet the Bush 2007 budget slashes NOAA's budget for fisheries and ocean and coastal science and management by about $275 million below this year's funding.

Cuts energy efficiency programs

    The President's budget cuts energy efficiency programs by 13 percent from last year, even though DOE research on core efficiency programs has been cut by 32 percent in real terms since 2002. [American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 2/7/05].  

    Office of the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi,