State-by-State Conservation Cuts
WASHINGTON – September 22, 2008. Today, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a follow up report to Congress Poised To Cut Conservation Funds That Aided Farm Bill’s Passage that details the proposed conservation program cuts on a state-by-state basis. The initial report released from the EWG Midwest office in Ames, IA describes the bait and switch tactics used by Democratic lawmakers working behind the scenes to cut the very conservation increases that helped pass the subsidy laden farm bill. After the farm bill vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi boasted that the farm bill would represent “historic new investments” in programs to protect water quality and wildlife. The new EWG State-by-State analysis shows that 14 states are poised to lose more than $6 million each from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) alone. Chesapeake Bay states will lose over $16 million (EQIP), while key Mississippi River Basin states; major contributors to the Gulf ‘Dead Zone’, are set to see cuts near $48 million (EQIP). In addition, the Congress Poised To Cut Conservation Funds That Aided Farm Bill’s Passage report spurred the Des Moines Register editorial page, in the heart of subsidized corn country, to summarize: “Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has worked hard to build environmental and soil-conservation measures into the farm bill, so it's sort of odd when his own party comes along and strips them out. This is especially troubling at a time of high commodity prices, when farmers have every incentive to plow and plant every available acre, whether it is environmentally wise or not. Now is the time for Congress to increase incentives for conservation to protect farmland, not reduce them.” Reaction to the EWG conservation cuts report has some in Congress claiming that increases in food prices have forced them to cut conservation programs in favor of nutrition programs with strained budgets. Yet the $5 billion per year in automatic “fixed-direct” taxpayer funded subsidies to wealthy farm operations at times of record crop prices and record farm incomes are off the table for cuts. “EWG has a long history of steadfast support of domestic nutrition programs. Congress should have added the disclaimer ‘unless we can afford it’ to their promised increases in conservation and nutrition funding that greased the wheels for the bloated farm bill’s passage,” said Craig Cox, EWG Midwest Vice President and author of both reports. “Congressional leadership has the power to keep the promises they made to increase conservation and nutrition funding,” Cox concluded. Go to for the state-by-state analysis. Go to for the initial report.
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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.