Let’s Get Fiscal
President Bush’s $2.4 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2005, released today, gives the environment the shaft. The budget does propose funding increases for a handful of high-profile enviro projects (mostly in electoral swing states), including Superfund cleanups, conservation grants to private landowners, maintenance and construction in national parks, and salmon restoration. In many cases, however, those increases come at the expense of other environmental programs; funding for the U.S. EPA as a whole is cut by more than 7 percent, and funding for the U.S. Forest Service is cut by 7.6 percent. Two details particularly nettlesome to enviros: Money for endangered-species recovery efforts is reduced by $9.8 million, and the budget revenue projections for 2006 include $2.4 billion from oil-lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Congress has repeatedly refused to approve. “This budget not only shortchanges our environment, it challenges our nation’s role as a global environmental leader,” said Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.).