Congress Snubs Climate Change Policy in Budget Bill
Washington, D.C. – The $1.1 trillion 2015 Fiscal Year Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by the U.S. Senate Saturday to keep the U.S. government running for another year has all kinds of riders snuck into it including some that compromise environmental policy especially impacting efforts to reduce global climate change.
Prior to the opening of the G-20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia earlier this year, President Obama pledged $3 billion support to the Green Climate Fund. According to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, investments from the UNFCCC help developing nations to “leapfrog some of the dirty industries that powered our development” and move straight to a clean-energy economy.”
President Obama took the lead among developed nations in making his pledge in November, hoping to spur other countries to respond to global warming. However Congress is not allowing this pledge to be fulfilled.
The Sierra Club calls the budget “a direct attack” on clean air, clean water and safe communities. In a statement issued Tuesday, Sierra Club Federal Policy Director Melinda Pierce said, “This budget rolls back the Obama Administration’s climate action plan and their vital efforts to end taxpayer financing of coal plants overseas, opening up the door for American dollars to once again be wasted on dirty fuels abroad that contaminate our climate and threaten our safety at home.
According to the EPA, “globally, the agriculture sector is the primary source” of methane emissions, a major greenhouse gas contributor. However, the bill prohibits the EPA from requiring farmers to report on “greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.” In addition, it strips the EPA’s ability to require ranchers to obtain permits for “methane emissions” produced by bovine flatulence and belching.
Additional ways the budget bill impacts efforts to reduce climate change include:
The bill makes a $60 million cut from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget bringing it down to its smallest budget since 1989. According to the Center for Effective Government, these cuts will result in “the lowest EPA staffing levels since 1989, at a time when the president’s climate change initiative is entering a critical stage.”
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More Ways the Appropriations Bill Impacts Environmental Issues: