Environmental Groups to Congress: Cut Subsidies, Don’t Hurt Public

WASHINGTON (August 9, 2011) – Rather than cutting programs that protect Americans’ health and the environment, Congress should end hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tax breaks and other subsidies for Big Oil and other industries, environmental groups told House and Senate leaders Tuesday.

As congressional leaders prepare to create the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke and the leaders of 11 other environmental groups identified several areas where the committee could make cuts without endangering Americans’ health and environment.

“Any deficit deal must represent a balanced approach that focuses both on cutting wasteful subsidies that harm the public interest and raising significant revenues,” Beinecke and others wrote in a letter to House and Senate leaders. “Any other approach is quite simply a decision to dismember vital programs that keep our air clean, our water safe to drink, and preserve our natural heritage.”

Among the suggestions noted in the letter:

*Eliminating tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, which could save taxpayers $100 billion over 10 years.

*Reducing subsidies to corporate agriculture interests and eliminating ethanol tax credits, which could save taxpayers $50 billion over 10 years.

*Reducing public land grazing subsidies for livestock operators and cutting wasteful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water projects, which could save taxpayers hundreds of millions more.

For a copy of the letter from Beinecke and other environmental leaders please see: http://docs.nrdc.org/legislation/files/leg_11080901a.pdf

For Beinecke’s blog about debt reduction, please see: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/responsible_debt_reduction_sho.html