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Enviro Programs Get the Budget Ax - Again

Thursday, May 19, 2005
A recent news item tells the story of where the environment and public health rank in Washington’s priorities -- just about dead last. The Washington Post delivers the bad news in a grim headline: House Panel Receives Detailed Spending Plan for ’06; Legislators Among Groups Marked for Increased Funding as Ax Falls on Environmental Programs.

When a straight news story starts off this way, you know it’s bad. Seems the House of Representatives needs more funding to keep up their work depriving Americans of clean air and water, so they're planning to increase their own operating budget by 4.9 percent. And while the President’s not getting everything he wants for “foreign operations," he’s still getting an extra $11 billion. Agriculture takes a modest blow since its unchanged dollar allocation means an inflation-adjusted cut.

But the real cuts, according to the story, come at the expense of water. “The Interior Department and other environmental programs would be cut below current levels by 2.2 percent, or $595 million. Aides said the Environmental Protection Agency, especially its clean water grant program, is in the most trouble." Not only is this an unacceptable development, but the comment itself betrays a Beltway myopia that allows our representatives to make so many bad decisions. They’re concerned for the “program," but where’s the concern for the water and the Americans who drink it? Sometimes our representatives get so involved in the game they forget who they play for – us! Read about Americans’ drinking water woes and make sure your Congressional reps are on your side.

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