News Flash: Congress Still Full of Jerks
Enviros are gearing up for a fierce battle with congressional Republicans over dozens of anti-environmental riders that have been tacked onto must-pass government appropriations bills. The riders would, among other things, permit more logging and road-building on national forests without wildlife surveys; block proposed restrictions on grazing in national parks; delay a proposed tightening of wetlands rules; and bar stricter auto fuel-efficiency standards. The big showdown is expected in October or November, when Congress and the White House launch into negotiations on a stopgap omnibus spending bill. Meanwhile, the Senate this week is expected to approve a measure by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that would let oil companies get away with underpaying royalties for drilling on public land. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is leading the charge against Hutchison, who has received $1.2 million in contributions from oil companies in the last five years.