Muckraker: Grist on Politics

With President Obama expected to release his first federal budget plan on Feb. 26, environmental groups today pitched their ideas about what should be included. The proposed “green” budget, which comes from a coalition of 27 environmental groups, includes more than $72 billion for green projects.

The Green Budget 2010 [PDF] proposal seeks multi-billion-dollar investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water and land conversation programs that have been underfunded for the past eight years. The groups want to double the funding for the Federal Railway Administration to $3 billion, and invest $4.6 billion in other mass transit projects.

The plan also calls for funding coastal restoration programs that were not funded in this year’s budget — including projects in Louisiana and the Florida Everglades. It seeks to double the funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration (to $67 million), quadruple the money for Long Island Sound Restoration (to $16 million), and secure an eight-fold increase in funds for the Great Lakes Ecosystem Restoration Projects (to $665 million).

“Many of these programs have been systematically marginalized and ignored over the past eight years, and we must begin to restore adequate funding to them through the regular appropriations process, said Wilderness Society president Bill Meadows on a call with reporters on Wednesday. “Funding for individual land-management programs is low, and staff cuts have made it increasingly difficult for the agencies to achieve their mission on the ground.”

Some other highlights from the green budget:

  • $12.6 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • $2.5 billion for the National Park Service
  • $9.4 billion for the Federal Highway Administration for repairs and congestion mitigation
  • $4.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration
  • $3 billion for the Federal Railway Administration
  • $9 billion for state and tribal assistance grants for water projects, brownfields remediation, pollution control, etc.
  • $2.7 billion to fully fund conservation programs in the Farm Bill
  • $3.4 billion for Forest Service Programs
  • $30 billion for Department of Energy efficiency and renewable programs
  • $245.3 million for Army Corps of Engineer projects
  • $516 million for FEMA flooding programs
  • $306 million for the Bureau of Land Management
  • $62.8 million for Bureau of Reclamation Programs
  • $19.4 million for NEPA funding (currently zero funding)
  • $274 million for coastal Louisiana Restoration (currently zero)
  • $327 million for Everglades Restoration (zero now)
  • $94 million for FERC for hydropower relicensing

Here’s the list of groups that helped craft the proposal:

Alaska Wilderness League
American Lands Alliance
American Rivers
Audubon
Clean Water Action
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Coastal States Organization
Conservation Law Foundation
Defenders of Wildlife
Endangered Species Coalition
Environment America
Environmental Defense Fund
Friends of the Earth
League of Conservation Voters
Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Marine Fish Conservation Network
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
National Tribal Environmental Council
National Wildlife Federation
Oceana
Ocean Conservancy
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Save Our Wild Salmon
The Wilderness Society
The World Wildlife Fund