Andi Murray, 202/289-2420
But Bill Shortchanges Clean Water, Clean Air, Natural Resource Initiatives
WASHINGTON (March 29, 2006) -- The House Budget Committee late today approved a budget for FY2007 that is most notable for what it does not include -- oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a highly controversial sell-off of public lands. Unfortunately, it also does not provide adequate funding for critical initiatives to keep air and water clean, and protect wildlife and natural landscapes, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"Unlike their colleagues across the Capitol, the House Budget Committee refrained from undermining the federal budget process and kept Arctic drilling out of its spending plan," said Heather Taylor, NRDC's deputy legislative director. "Sadly, they also kept out enough funding for clean water, clean air and other public health and natural resources protections, which were cut by about 10 percent."
Facing significant opposition from Democrats and moderate Republicans, Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-IA) declined to include a budgetary sleight-of-hand that would have forced open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.
By contrast, the Senate approved a budget resolution March 16 whose sole reconciliation instruction was crafted exclusively to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge. The competing provisions set the stage for a showdown when the two bills reach a House-Senate conference committee.