The budget deal slows innovation and slashes rail, green jobs, and cleanup programs
The Republican slash-and-burn budget accepted by President Obama to avoid a government shutdown will put our fragile economic recovery in jeopardy. Moreover, the cuts are ideologically motivated, preserving massive subsidies for fossil fuel polluters while knocking out support for a cleaner, more innovative economic future. The cuts [PDF] and funding prohibitions from Obama’s budget request include:
- Environmental Protection Agency: $1.6 billion, including $50 million from science and technology programs, $110 million from environmental programs and management, $4 million from buildings, $10 million from Superfund, $797 million from the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds program, and $223 million in other state and tribal assistance grants
- High-speed rail: $1.4 billion
- Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program: $860 million (worth $18 billion in loans)
- Wildland fire programs: $735 million
- Defense Environmental Cleanup: $584 million
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy: $550 million
- National Science Foundation research: $444 million
- International Clean Technology and Strategic Climate Funds: $400 million
- Land and Water Conservation Fund: $318 million
- Department of Energy Office of Science: $252 million
- Department of Interior Climate Programs: $116 million
- Green jobs innovation fund: $40 million
- No funds are allowed to be used to establish the NOAA Climate Service
High-speed rail strengthens cities, takes money from oil companies, and provides a strong base for high-paying unionized jobs. The staggering cuts in high-speed rail reflect the Tea Party agenda to keep America locked in fealty to Big Oil.
Due to the strength of the outcry over Republican efforts to deny global warming and block EPA regulation of carbon pollution, the EPA budget will not restrict protections against greenhouse pollution. Instead, the cuts to the EPA budget [PDF] emphasize a major drawdown in the federal funding for state-level clean water projects, which threatens state efforts to limit drinking water pollution from natural gas fracking, industrial agriculture, and other polluters.
These cuts will not only ensure our continued dependence on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels, keeping gas prices high at the pump while poisoning our air, land, and water, but will also kill investment in the new technologies and new industries that could restore our economic health.
Get Grist in your inbox