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House Appropriators Slash Environmental, Health Safeguards

The 112th Session of the House of Representatives is at it again, doing what they do best: writing legislation to strike and block the clean air and clean water laws that keep us alive and healthy.

This morning, the House majority released its spending bill for the year 2012, and not to disappoint those who wish to live in a world with big corporations enjoying full freedom to foul our air and water without restriction, penalty or accountability, the bill manages to take direct aim at a handful of landmark environmental safeguards and a slew of major public health protections.

Legislating through appropriations is a back-door, manipulative move in its own right. It essentially means that instead of having to muster the votes required to pass new laws or take our current environmental and health safeguards off the books, House leadership is using a spending bill to simply stop and block all funding for these protections. The laws still stand as they are, they just can't be enforced. The way this House sees it, if the agencies can't get the money to enforce our current laws, there's no need to worry about what the laws actually mandate.

The 2012 spending bill that the 112th House introduced today is loaded with environmental and public health disasters.

If it were to pass, it would:

  • Stop all regulations of harmful climate change pollution in their tracks
  • Block important clean water protections for streams, rivers and waterways
  • Make it easier for coal companies to blow up mountains, practice mountaintop removal, and contaminate community water supplies in Appalachia
  • Ban the closing of any Bush-era loopholes that removed stream protections
  • Ban three federal agencies from working together in a new process to better coordinate mining permit applications and reviews
  • Ban the EPA from following current science on water protection with regard to surface mining
  • Prevent the EPA from using current science to implement safeguards for hazardous coal ash waste dumps
  • Block a major section of the Endangered Species Act and block critical protections for endangered species
  • Stop safeguards that keep toxic pesticides from polluting our waterways, allowing pesticide users to avoid restrictions of the Clean Water Act
  • Remove protections for the endangered gray wolf.

And this is just the beginning. We expect to see a feeding frenzy of anti-environmental and anti-public health amendments and additions to this bill over the next couple weeks.

Now is the time to call your House and Senate representatives and demand that they oppose any bill that aims to block critical and health- and science-based environmental safeguards.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask for your senators' and/or representatives' offices, and leave your message now! Tell them in no uncertain terms: Protect our environment and protect our health, or lose your job!