Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Judy Chu
Date: July 25, 2011
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CHU. I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Westmoreland). The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. CHU. I rise today in strong opposition to the 2012 Interior appropriations bill, the most anti-environment bill I've seen on the House floor since I was elected to Congress.

If this bill passes, our air will be more polluted, our water will be dirtier, and we will know that much of what we love will disappear. This bill rolls back the clock to a time when big companies could poison our streams and rivers with impunity, when power plants could freely contaminate the air we breathe, and when our national treasures were destroyed by corporations, all for a bigger profit.

First, the bill slashes funding to the EPA by $1.8 billion, stealing funding that keeps our drinking water and wastewater systems clean.

Then it guts the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This program has done more than any other to expand local parks, recreational green spaces, and public lands enjoyed by hundreds of millions of Americans. This bill cuts this program by 80 percent, to its lowest level in history, nearly eliminating efforts to ensure that our treasured places are protected for families to enjoy for generations to come.

Then it abolishes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Service, which is crucial to understanding how the changes in our national climate affect our farms, coastal communities, and businesses.

Finally, it proposes crippling cuts to the development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, only making our Nation more dependent on importing oil and gas from foreign countries. But what's worst of all is that these cuts severely jeopardize the 12.5 million jobs that could be created as a result of American clean energy innovation and undermine growth in our Nation's clean tech industries.

Even though some are calling this a cost-cutting bill, it's really a bill to pad the pockets of big corporations and the worst polluters. Unbelievably, it gives away $55 million in subsidies to oil and gas companies and blocks the necessary increase in fees to inspect oil and gas stations from disasters like the BP gulf spill. That's not all.

The bill includes 39 different environmental policy bans that open up our natural resources to greedy polluters and keep our environmental agencies from doing their jobs to protect us from contamination. It allows more soot pollution in our air by blocking critical public health standards that ensure our air is very healthy for Americans to breathe.

It blocks the EPA from implementing greenhouse gas pollution standards for new cars in 5 years, jeopardizing 7,000 new jobs and the estimated 2.4 million barrels of oil a day saved in just two decades. It prohibits my home State of California from moving ahead with its own clean air standard. It exempts oil companies from complying with Clean Air Act standards for offshore drilling--again, protecting the special interests of Big Oil.

It puts the drinking water of 117 million Americans at risk by blocking EPA from keeping our water clean--half of America's streams and some 20 million acres of wetlands. It allows the unregulated discharge of pesticides directly into our rivers and lakes.

This bill is a direct attack, a declaration of war, on our air, water, wildlife, and wildlands. It is clear that this bill isn't about cutting spending. It is about cutting years off our children's lives by increasing their exposure to contaminants in the air and water. The Republicans are putting polluters ahead of the health and safety of the American people, so I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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