Just after 4:30 a.m. this past Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed arguably the most anti-environmental piece of legislation in history. H.R. 1, which would fund the government through the rest of federal Fiscal Year 2011, eviscerates programs that protect our drinking water, clean up polluted rivers, and safeguard land and wildlife for future generations.
Not only does the bill slash funding for priorities that are vital to our health and safety, but it also contains dozens of extraneous “riders,” like a provision blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting small streams, from which 117 million Americans get their drinking water. There’s also the section of the bill that gives corporate polluters a free pass by waiving the Endangered Species Act in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, one of America’s Most Endangered RiversTM. And there’s the amendment that blows up the Klamath Settlement Agreement, a deal struck between American Rivers and Indian tribes, farmers, fishermen, and conservation groups to solve the decades long crisis on the Klamath River. And of course there is the rider that prevents the EPA from addressing climate change.
Those are just a few of the many short-sighted back-door legislative attacks contained in H.R. 1, which was supposed to be a budget bill. One of the most disturbing things about this bill is that the riders blocking the EPA from protecting our water and our air won’t save us a dime. At the same time the Republican majority defeated amendments that would have done away with billions of dollars in government subsidies for the oil and gas industries.
Protecting handouts to Big Oil is a priority, but protecting clean water and air for our children isn’t? I think the House majority is out of step with America.
American Rivers is going to fight these attacks, but we cannot do so alone. Members of Congress and Senators are spending this week in their districts. Now is the time to contact them and demand that they protect our rivers and clean water.
Please call or visit your elected representatives and urge them to oppose this dangerous bill.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.