WASHINGTON (December 16, 2011) – A massive year-end spending bill has been agreed to by congressional and White House negotiators that should avert a government shutdown. The following is a statement by Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Thanks to President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders, dozens of anti-environment `riders’ sought by the radical Tea Party and the House Republican leadership have been kept out of the omnibus spending bill. That’s a victory for the American people. We’ve stopped the extremists from blocking restrictions on air pollution, fouling our waters, threatening endangered species and despoiling our public lands.
“Unfortunately, the bill still contains some damaging riders, including one that will weaken air pollution controls in the Arctic and another that will block funding to enforce new light bulb efficiency standards that were signed into law by George W. Bush.
“Meanwhile, negotiations are continuing on the payroll tax-cut extension bill, to which Republican leaders have attached two major anti-environmental assaults, one short-circuiting review of the Keystone XL pipeline and the other blocking mercury limits on industrial boilers.
“So the fight is not over. And all this was so unnecessary. If Republican leaders had just let Congress do its job of writing spending and tax bills, lawmakers could have completed their work weeks ago – without having put the country through another manufactured crisis.”