|Moran Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup for the Interior & Environment Appropriations bill, FY2013|
Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. James Moran
June 27th, 2012
"Mr. Chairman, every bill this committee considers is important and the FY 2013 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill is certainly no exception. Literally, the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink depends on programs funded by this bill. Millions of Americans make their vacation plans based on their ability to enjoy the natural, scenic, recreational, and cultural resources whose protection is funded by this bill. This bill also provides a lifeline for millions of Native Americans, as well as a host of fish and wildlife programs that are vital to the survival of numerous plant and animal species.
"That is why I am so disappointed that as a result of Republican's blind adherence to the Ryan budget, which abandons the bipartisan budget agreement of last summer, the Interior and Environment Subcommittee is saddled with an unrealistic 302(b) allocation. The $28 billion allocated to the subcommittee is $1.2 billion below fiscal year 2012 and $1.7 billion below the President's request.
"I want to commend Chairman Simpson for the open and collaborative manner he has carried out his duties laboring under this constrained allocation. My working relationship with him has been first-rate, and he should be recognized for his work in chairing 16 budget hearings and receiving testimony from nearly 140 witnesses. Along with my colleague Tom Cole, he has been a true champion for Native Americans.
"Despite the high esteem I have for Chairman Simpson, I cannot support this bill. The deep funding cuts necessitated by the 302(b) allocation, as well as the various special interest riders and funding limitations that were included in the subcommittee bill, would cause real harm to the environment and to efforts to preserve America's natural and cultural heritage.
"When it comes to funding, there is little good news in this bill. I recognize and appreciate the efforts to protect funding for Indian programs. I only wish this protection could have extended to other portions of the bill.
"The list of cuts is long and deep. The Fish and Wildlife Service would be cut by $316 million below FY 2012; an incredible 21 percent cut in their budget, with a $42 million cut in endangered species programs and a $48 million cut to the National Wildlife Refuge System.
"The U.S. Geological Survey would take a $101 million cut, with many science programs taking a hit. The Ecosystems program would be cut by nearly $29 million, with the Natural Hazards program, which includes our earthquake and volcano early warning systems, taking a $27 million cut.
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund program would be funded at just $66 million, a cut of $279 million or 80 percent from FY 2012 and the lowest level since the fund's creation.
"The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would each be cut by $14 million below FY 2012. The $132 million provided to each would be below the FY 2008 funding level.
"Let's talk about the proposed cuts to EPA; $1.4 billion below FY 2012. Science and Technology programs would be significantly scaled back. Safe Drinking Water and Clean Drinking Water Revolving Funds would be cut by $866 million. These are important programs that protect our drinking water, prevent the spread of waterborne diseases and create jobs in our communities.
"I could continue to detail these cuts, but I think Members understand the magnitude of what we are facing with this bill. Compare these numerous and significant cuts with the increases proposed to such subsidized programs as grazing (+$2.6 million) and oil and gas operations (+$21.5 million). There are definitely some winners and losers in this bill.
"There is an old Dakota Sioux proverb that says "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." I, for one, do not want to follow the path laid out by this bill. The legacy we leave to the future should not be one of diminished air and water and exhausted natural resources.
"Mr. Chairman, we on the Democratic side do not plan to offer many amendments to the bill. Given the numerous shortcoming with the legislation, it would be like putting lipstick on a pig. Our few amendments however appear to be dwarfed by what our Republican colleagues are planning to offer. I have resisted using the word dump truck to describe this bill but with the amendments prepared by the other side, it looks like the trucks are lining up.
"Today's consideration of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill is just one step in a long process to enactment. I intend to continue to work closely with Chairman Simpson to resolve our differences on the bill with the hope that in the end we will have a product that we can both support. Thank you Mr. Chairman."