Details of environmental cuts in Bush’s budget emerge

Now that the nation’s water is all cleaned up, the Bush administration has proposed sharply cutting a federal assistance program designed to help modernize aging sewer systems and prevent toxic runoff into streams and rivers — from $1.35 billion in 2004 to $730 million. And now that the nation is no longer dependent on foreign oil, the Bush budget proposes a roughly 4 percent cut in Department of Energy funding for efficiency and renewable energy. With the oceans spic and span, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration faces proposed cuts of around 8.3 percent, hitting heaviest in those parts of the agency that work on ocean preservation and overfishing. The budget “limits and tames the spending appetite of the federal government,” said President Bush, who has never vetoed a spending bill, and whose Medicare prescription drug benefit is now set to cost more than twice his projection of $534 billion over 10 years, a difference that could restore all the aforementioned cuts and leave several hundred billion dollars left over.