|Moran Statement at Subcommittee Markup for Interior & Environment Appropriations, FY12|
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jim Moran, Ranking Member of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee delivered the following remarks at the mark up of the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill.
"Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am almost speechless on this bill. Based on the subcommittee's 302(b) allocation, the funding allocations in this bill are not surprising but they are very disappointing. I recognize the difficulties you faced Mr. Chairman in crafting the bill and I appreciate your efforts to protect funding for Indian programs. I only wish that protection could have extended to other portions of this bill.
"But as bad as the funding in the bill is, what is most disappointing is the scope and extent to which the majority has filled this bill with legislative riders and funding limitations.
"This bill has managed to fall short of even minimal expectations.
"Mr. Chairman, this is not so much a spending bill as a wish list for special interests. Oil companies, cattle grazers, miners, as well as those who pollute our air and foul our water, all have their special provisions tucked away in this bill. It is, you know the term that applies, a "dump truck" of provisions for corporate interests.
"This bill picks up where H.R. 1 left off. It includes numerous and deep cuts in conservation or environmental protection programs while the extractive or consumptive uses of our public lands are shielded from cuts and given a pass from complying with this nation's landmark environmental laws. Laws that have come about after years of debate and deliberation are functionally repealed in this bill.
"The bill continues the majority's assault on the Environmental Protection Agency with deep cuts proposed in many EPA programs. EPA funding under the bill would reduce agency employees to 1991 levels -- a decade ago, before the threats to our environment were not nearly as severe as it is today. It provides $442 million dollars less than was provided to the EPA in 1999 when our colleague Jerry Lewis was chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the EPA.
"I must assume that with the deep cuts in Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water grant funds that many of the Republican governors who complain about federal spending will be happy with the deep cuts for clean water infrastructure grant funds to communities in their states.
"I am extremely disappointed by the majority's decision to prohibit funds for Endangered Species Act listings and critical habitat designations. Your Republican majority has gone to great lengths to complain about the Endangered Species Act but then they turn around and defund or underfund programs needed to recover endangered species or prevent their listing.
"Our national parks and forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and National Landscape Conservation System units deserve better than what this bill provides. As President Lyndon Johnson noted in 1964:
"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."
"And while the cultural activities and institutions are a small portion of the bill they are an important part of our communities and enhance our quality of life. Far from being a drain on the Treasury, these programs serve as economic engines in our local communities.
"Mr. Chairman, we have counted 26 legislative riders and funding limitations in the bill that either reopen controversies or start new ones. The list is long: NEPA waivers, limitations on judicial review, the blocking of pollution controls and even exposing that American icon, the Grand Canyon and millions of Americans who depend on the Colorado River for their drinking water to the long and well known hazards of uranium mining.
"Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the working relationship that you and I have, but as is obvious from my statement, I will not support this bill. Thank you Mr. Chairman."