Statement by Heather Taylor, NRDC's Deputy Legislative Director

Washington, DC (December 21, 2005) -- The U.S. Senate today narrowly approved a budget deal stripped of all anti-environmental provisions, which were largely controversial and could not gain broad support, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Following is a statement by NRDC's Deputy Legislative Director Heather Taylor:

"The lack of any environmental provisions in the final budget report shows that the people behind these narrow, special interest giveaways were overreaching, plain and simple. The fact that they couldn't pull it off shows just how out of step they are with the American mainstream.

"The biggest victory was turning back the massive giveaway of public land across the west and in the nation's capital to developers and energy companies. We also beat back attempts to strip environmental safeguards from oil and gas projects on public lands, and piling on even more federal subsidies for destructive energy projects.

"Unfortunately, a lot of good things were sidetracked along with the bad, including very popular and highly effective energy conservation programs that boosted production of energy and biofuels on America's farms.

"And we are obviously very disappointed that the controversial plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that was stripped from the budget bill was instead tacked on to an important defense package instead. The Senate needs to vote to defeat this attempt as well, in order to mark a victory for responsible legislative action that reflects the priorities of ordinary Americans and protects our nation's financial and environmental security."