Eleven days ago, I was relieved that the Administration stood firm on anti-EPA riders, but asked, “what will the level of EPA funding be? If Congress and the White House agree to serious cuts that starve the agency of necessary personnel, then the absence of a rider is a Pyrrhic victory.”
Well, now we know the answer:
One of the hardest hit institutions is the Environmental Protection Agency, whose power Republicans have sought to curtail in recent years through a variety of legislative means. The agency will receive $1.6 billion less in funding than current levels, a 16 percent drop, including a $49 million reduction in climate change programs and $149 million cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In a press release, Senate Appropriation Committee Democrats noted that the EPA cuts, while tough, were nearly $1.6 billion less than Republicans’ original proposal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also saw a $142 million reduction in funding and is prohibited from creating a Climate Service.
In addition to programs protecting the environment, programs aimed at boosting energy efficiency for power plants and transportation also were major targets. Energy efficiency and renewable energy were cut by $438 million while fossil energy R&D was reduced by $226 million and nuclear energy funding was cut by $56 million. Funding for high speed rail, all $2.9 billion of it, was zeroed out entirely.
These all seem designed to reduce action on climate as much as possible. It’s not about the money — these are paltry sums in the context of the federal budget, and the Defense Department got a $5 billion increase. This is just trying to melt the planet.
In a previous post, I pointed to a talk by Republican Congressmember Bob Inglis, who lost his seat to a Tea Party extremist and spoke here at UCLAW a couple of weeks ago. Inglis quoted the Australian Foreign Minister, who noted that our grandchildren will know in the future what we did, and that everything we do now is “on the record.”
Kids, your grandparents didn’t give a goddamn about you. If they were Republicans.