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Follow the Money: Environmental Protection Loses Ground

The Bush Administration's hostility to environmental protection is not news. But seeing the numbers in black and white (or, as in this chart, in red and green) is startling. Created by the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, it shows that the President's budget for the Interior Department—which manages national parks, national wildlife refuges, and endangered species protection—was cut by a sixth in real dollars over the last eight years. By the same measure, EPA's budget has been cut by more than a quarter, and the Forest Service saw its budget aside from fire-fighting cut by more than a third.

On the other side of the ledger, discretionary spending has increased in some worthwhile areas (housing, education, the National Science Foundation, etc.). But one wonders if the U.S. would have needed to increase spending at the State Department by 40% if we hadn't needed to improve so America's image overseas.

And while any bureaucracy can probably be trimmed to reduce fat, this chart shows that when it came to environmental protection, the President was willing to cut bone and major organs.

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