GOP senators pack anti-environmental pork into huge spending bill

Powerful Republicans in Congress fought valiantly against the “do nothing” label yesterday by trying to do an awful lot for their industry cronies. A number of senators endeavored to attach various anti-environmental provisions to a must-pass government-funding bill, including measures that would (take a deep breath) strip wilderness status from Georgia’s Cumberland Island, ease grazing permit rules, exempt big dairy and livestock operations from having to report on toxic emissions, give the Army Corps of Engineers billions for environmentally (and fiscally) questionable water projects, and clear the way for commercial fish hatcheries and oil drills on some federally protected parcels in Alaska. “This is a pork-barrel extravaganza,” said David Conrad of the National Wildlife Federation. “It’s one of the worst I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this 25 years.” No word yet on which pork rinds will make it into the final package and onto President Bush’s desk.