"It's clearly a budget," President Bush once said, "It's got a lot of numbers in it." The problem is there just aren't nearly enough numbers in the president's FY 2006 budget to cover important domestic programs. That's certainly the case with environmental protection, where gigantic spending cuts hurt all Americans who prefer to breathe healthy air, drink clean water, treasure our natural heritage and enjoy wildlife. Securing environmental protection in America is critical to our nation's well-being.
Indeed, our environmental security forms the basis of policies that protect public health, manage natural resources to ensure our nation's long-term wealth, and foster America's energy independence.
While the administration proposes reducing domestic discretionary spending for all federal programs (excluding defense and homeland security) by less than one percent, environmental funding is targeted for a punishing 10.4 percent cut. Whacking environmental funding by $3.3 billion – down from $31.3 billion in the last budget to just $28 billion – represents the largest cut in environmental protection ever proposed by this White House.
The proposed cuts spread the pain widely across a range of environmental programs, including:
• The Environmental Protection Agency's clean water projects (-$700 million)
• Land conservation, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (-$1.1 billion)
• Ocean and coastline restoration, under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (-$333 million)
• Amtrak, with funding zeroed out despite serving 23 million Americans a year in 47 states
• The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where drilling is based on dubious accounting gimmicks.