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Bush "Slash and Burn" Budget Would Subsidize Energy Companies at Expense of Environment and Public Health, Says NRDC

Analysis Finds Budget Would Weaken Nation's Energy Security

WASHINGTON, DC (February 5, 2001) - President Bush's new budget would provide billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to energy companies, threaten the environment and public health, and weaken the nation's energy security, according to an analysis released today by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). The proposed budget would slash overall spending for environmental and natural resources departments by $1 billion, or 3.4 percent, in fiscal year 2003 -- from $29.3 billion to $28.3 billion. Hardest hit would be energy efficiency and water resource programs.

"This budget provides an all-you-can-eat buffet for Big Energy, and crumbs for energy efficiency. It would enrich the administration's energy industry friends, foul our air and water, and do nothing to promote true energy independence," said Wesley Warren, NRDC senior fellow for environmental economics and former associate director for natural resources, energy and science at the Office of Management and Budget. "President Bush's energy policy would be less effective at ensuring our national security than cleaner, domestic sources of energy from renewable resources and energy efficiency." (NRDC's recent report Dangerous Addiction details ways we can reduce U.S. dependence on oil.)

While undercutting investment in our environmental future, the Bush budget attempts to hide the effects behind claims of new or expanded initiatives, which repeatedly fall short of their claims.

For example:

  • Bush's cuts to EPA's enforcement program would hollow out some of the most important air and water statutes in existence even while leaving them on the books.

  • Bush promised on the campaign trail to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but has filled it up in large part by just renaming other programs.

  • Bush also promised to eliminate the $4.9 billion national parks system maintenance and construction backlog in five years, but has only proposed trivial increases in funding.

  • Bush pledged $100 million a year for the bipartisan Tropical Forest Conservation Act, but only provides $50 million for fiscal year 2003.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Related NRDC Pages
The Bush Administration's Slash & Burn Environmental Budget
A Responsible Energy Policy for the 21st Century
Dangerous Addiction: Ending America's Oil Dependence

Additional Downloadable Materials for the Press
Environmental Spending Under the Bush FY 2003 Budget in PDF format, 191k

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