This morning, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies moved to slash the FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations budget by 18 percent.
The bill zeroes out the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program designed to protect and expand parks, while falling short of restoring years of budget cuts to the National Park Service. It also blocks progress on clean water and climate. Environment New York Field Organizer Eric Whalen issued the following statement:
“This bill is an atrocious attack on our parks, water, and the future of our planet.
“New York's parks represent our commitment to protect the very best of our natural legacy for future generations – and this bill throws that commitment in the garbage. Gutting the Land and Water Conservation Program puts New York's tourism and outdoor recreation industries and some of our most beloved landscapes at risk.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been consistently underfunded. In last year’s budget, this enormously successful program was only funded at a third of its intended budget, leaving many park improvements and expansions unfinished. Enough is enough. It’s time to give our parks the resources they deserve.
“This bill doesn’t stop at eviscerating parks funding; it also blocks the cleanup of our waterways. From the Hudson River to the Finger Lakes, too many of our waterways face runoff and sewage pollution when it rains. More than 97% of New York's drinking water comes from streams that are vulnerable to pollution and development. The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee bill would block the Obama administration from tackling stormwater pollution and restoring protections to all of our waterways.
“Finally, after New Yorkers sweltered in record-breaking heat, this bill would block measures to cut global warming pollution. We are tired of watching U.S. House leaders fan the flames of global warming by allowing carbon pollution to spew without limit from the smokestacks of dirty power plants.
“It’s hard to imagine a worse attack on our parks, waterways, and the future of our planet. It’s time to stop staging this political theatre with our environment and start implementing real solutions to the pollution that plagues our air and water. The subcommittee should jettison this bill and start over."