The Unkindest Cuts
President Bush unveiled a budget yesterday for the next fiscal year that would slash spending on the environment and break a campaign promise he made to protect rainforests. In a campaign speech last August attacking then-Vice President Al Gore for a weak commitment on the issue, Bush pledged to set aside $100 million a year to forgive developing countries some of their debt to the U.S. if they agree to conserve rainforest land — but his proposed budget would provide only $13 million for the program, all of it diverted from the U.S. Agency for International Development. At the Energy Department, the proposed budget would make deep cuts in renewable energy (about a 50 percent reduction!), conservation, and fuel-efficiency programs. Money for cleaning up waste from producing nuclear weapons would be greatly reduced, while money for nuclear bomb-making would be boosted. The Interior Department budget would be cut 3.5 percent, and funding would be shifted to energy exploration; the U.S. EPA budget would be cut by 6.4 percent.