Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is urging House Republican leaders not to use a budget bill to rush through 19 separate environmental rollbacks that would make it harder to stop air and water pollutions.
"The Republicans are using the budget bill that will keep the government operating to try and push through 40 years of bipartisan environmental regulation," Pingree said. "These provisions are a handout to big corporate polluters, would endanger public health and would do nothing to reduce our budget deficit."
The 19 "riders" are attached to a spending bill that would keep the government operating for the remainder of the year, and include provisions that would block the EPA from enforcing regulations to regulate greenhouse gas and other toxic air pollutants and protecting certain endangered species.
Pingree has written a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, which has been signed by over 50 of her fellow Democrats, urging him not to include the anti-environmental provisions in the Continuing Resolution budget bill.
"We would like to work with you to find common ground on a CR to fund the government for the remainder of FY11, but we would have very strong reservations about supporting a long-term CR that limits the Administration's authority to protect air, water, and environmental quality, and its Supreme Court-mandated duty to protect public health," the letter says.
Full text of the letter
March 31, 2011
The Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232, U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
As Democratic Members of Congress who voted for a recent, clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue funding for the government, and who would like to avoid a shutdown of essential government operations, we write to strongly urge you not to include anti-environmental policy "riders" in the long-term CR for Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11).
The appropriations process and the authorizing process are two important, but distinct, congressional responsibilities. We feel strongly that these policy provisions, which would significantly jeopardize the protection of American communities and ecosystems, should not be included in a bipartisan budget bill.
H.R. 1, which was passed by the House of Representatives in February 2011, contained 19 anti-environmental riders that would negatively affect air, water, and environmental quality, through a wide range of provisions, including preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, implementing or enforcing any regulations on stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions, limiting toxic emissions, preventing the EPA from restoring certain waterways, and preventing the Administration from protecting wilderness areas and certain endangered species. These anti-environmental riders would roll back 40 years of bipartisan efforts to strengthen environmental protections. As you know, the U.S. Senate refused to consider this legislation.
The two recent short-term CR's that were passed into law did not include these policy riders. The most recent of these measures passed the House on February 19 and the Senate on March 17, and will keep the government funded until April 8. Fifty-four House Republicans voted against this short-term CR, and we were among the House Democrats that voted for one or both of these measures, which also passed the Democratically-controlled Senate. We believe that the next, long-term CR will need to attract similar bipartisan support.
The push amongst some in the Republican Conference to include anti-environmental riders in a long-term CR is greatly concerning. While these riders do not reduce federal spending, they would precipitously alter 40 years of environmental statute. A budget bill is not the appropriate venue to make significant policy changes without going through the proper hearing and markup process in committees of authorization. We would like to work with you to find common ground on a CR to fund the government for the remainder of FY11, but we would have very strong reservations about supporting a long-term CR that limits the Administration's authority to protect air, water, and environmental quality, and its Supreme Court-mandated duty to protect public health.