Policy Plate: Drought Package Bad for the Environment
Environmental Working Group is urging members of Congress to oppose the drought package under consideration by the House because it would make deep cuts in voluntary conservation programs.
Taking an additional $256 million out of conservation is shortsighted and wrong. These programs help mitigate the effects of drought. Moreover, the proposal before the House would slash more from vital conservation programs than is required to boost drought assistance.
Next Monday, EWG and Defenders of Wildlife will release Plowed Under, a new report that underscores the need for Congress to reject efforts to slash funds for programs designed to reduce water pollution and restore native habitat. Using a sophisticated mapping program, the report will show that tens of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands have been plowed under for commodity crops.
Plowed Under follows up on an EWG analysis last April, in which maps produced by EWG showed how expanding crop production was driving the loss of native lands in the “prairie pothole” region of the Midwest.
In a bipartisan letter, Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and more than 150 members of Congress are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to protect consumers, livestock producers and the economy from tightening corn supplies and rising food prices caused by the drought.
In a New York Times op-ed, Professor Colin Carter of University of California-Davis urges lawmakers to suspend the standard, which he says, “was unwise from the start.”
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