What stayed in the budget bill?
The EPA dodged Republican attempts to hobble it this week– the continuing resolution on the budget bill is going forward without the riders that would forbid the agency to regulate greenhouse gases. But environmental protections still took some hits. What environmental insults have hung on in the continuing resolution?
Interior blocked from enacting a “wildlands policy”: This policy would have allowed the Bureau of Land Management to designate areas as protected “wildlands.” “Wildlands” are more flexible for energy exploration than “wilderness,” but Republicans apparently view any attempt at preserving nature as a slap in the face to their oil exec buddies. Now any “wildlands” designation will have to be approved by Congress, and you know how much they love nature.
Salary cut for “climate change czar”: Silly Republicans, czars are imperialists! They don’t get a salary. Oh, you mean those presidential advisors, office directors, special envoys and so forth, to whom you choose to apply a meaningless yet faintly pejorative blanket term just because you don’t care for the president? Well, joke’s on you, because the “climate change czar” already resigned.
Prohibits funds for a NOAA climate change service: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association proposed a service that would allow them “to provide a reliable and authoritative source for climate data, information, and decision support services.” Well THAT doesn’t sound very important! Maybe a clearinghouse for authoritative data was too much of a threat to the whole “nobody knows about climate change because scientists can’t agree” canard.
Transportation cuts: Cuts to "wasteful" transportation (who needs to get places, amirite?) could have been worse, but they were still pretty profound. On the block: $1.5 billion from high speed rail, $5.8 million from various transport research projects, and $280 million from the New Starts program for metropolitan transit (which funds projects like light rail, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail).
You Can Open Your Eyes Now: Budget Deal Spares Transpo the Worst, Streetsblog DC.