Environmental Protection Suffers Across-the-Board Cuts;
Drinking Water, Local Parks & Conservation Take Big Hits, Too

WASHINGTON (February 6, 2006) -- Less than a week after standing before Congress and the nation and talking about America's energy addiction, President Bush today introduced a budget for fiscal 2007 that spends more money on oil, and less on the technologies we need to reduce our dependence on it. (White House budget documents are available here.)

The following is a statement by Heather Taylor, Deputy Legislative Director
for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

"The budget punchbowl has been spiked again. It's another free happy hour for oil and gas companies, while the technologies we need to kick our petroleum habit and cut global warming pollution get no new investment at all. In fact the president's proposed budget for these urgent priorities is smaller than it was when he took office, and even smaller considering inflation.

"Instead of reducing our dangerous addiction to oil, the president's budget is begging for another fix with vast plans to drill for oil and gas throughout the West, and off some of our country's most beautiful coastlines. And despite decisive defeats in Congress and silence in his State of the Union Address, he's making another attempt to wring a few more barrels out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And the so-called 'Advanced Energy Initiative' touted in his speech turns out to be an elaborate shell game. This is not a forward-looking vision for our country.

"Critical initiatives that keep our air and water clean, and protect our wildlife and natural landscapes have been hacked down another 13 percent from last year. This includes a 4 percent, or $300 million, cut for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been whittled down by 7 percent over the past six years. Other agencies, except for Defense and Homeland Security, received on average a half percent cut in their budgets. Some of the biggest hits have been to efforts that keep streams and rivers clean and help improve badly needed outdoor recreation space.

"The president has started to talk a good game, but he's falling off the wagon before it even gets moving."