The "Most Anti-Environmental" Bill in 40 years?

| Wed Mar. 9, 2011 2:51 PM PST

If you're following the budget fight, Wednesday marked a new round of debate over what it will look like. With no resolution yet reached between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate debated and voted on two separate options for the seven-month spending plan, known as the continuing resolution, neither of which mustered the 60 votes needed to move forward.

It's worth revisiting just how bad the House-passed CR is when it comes to environmental matters. It would block the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward on greenhouse gas regulations, which has drawn quite a bit of attention already. But it also specifically bars the EPA from acting on a number of other regulatory issues—like coal ash, toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants, emissions from cement kilns, and particulate emissions.

On top of those specific riders, it cuts the EPA's budget by a third—effectively limiting its ability to uphold basically every environmental law in this country. Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council has a recap of what he calls the "most anti-environmental bill to come before Congress in the last 40 years."

The Democrat's budget plan includes some cuts to environmental programs, but nothing close to what the Republican version calls for. But since both versions failed, senators will have to take another stab at negotiating something, which means major cuts to environmental programs are still in play.

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