Received today from EarthJustice (the nonprofit law firm for the environment, representing—without charge—hundreds of public interest clients, large and small) regarding the unimaginably immoral, "Take from the Needy, Give to the Greedy" budget legislation under consideration now by the House of Representatives.
A final vote is long overdue on the the federal budget for fiscal year 2006, which started on October 1, 2005. House leadershp cancelled a vote again today in what the New York Times called an embarrassment to the Republicans.
Election Day 2005, which was two days ago, clearly and strongly repudiated the Bush Administration and everyone who supports its bankrupt agenda. Republican House members want to be reelected in 2006, yet many believe a vote for this budget package is the death knell of their Congressional careers.
Good. I fervently hope it is.
To: Earthjustice Supporters
From: Buck Parker, Executive Director
Re: Nightmare Budget Still Threatens Wild Lands and Our CourtsArctic Refuge and coastal drilling set aside -- for now
Dear Deborah ,
We did it!
Last night, language that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and America's off-shore waters to oil drilling was stripped from the House version of the budget reconciliation bill. Then, this afternoon, House leadership cancelled a planned vote on the budget bill, conceding that they still did not have enough votes to pass the misguided package.
Millions of Americans wrote, emailed, and telephoned their House members asking them to oppose oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Public support, along with the leadership of strong Arctic Refuge champions on both sides of the aisle, led to the current victory.
Earthjustice will remain vigilant against any efforts to open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling. But it's not over yet.
The budget reconciliation bill is still bad for America. The bill could return to the House floor as early as next week, and Earthjustice remains very concerned about the impacts it could have on the environment, particularly on our most special public lands.
The budget bill still seeks to:
Sell off millions of acres of public lands currently protected by the federal government – including parcels around Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon national parks – at bargain-basement prices, solely for the gain of private mining corporations. This would be one of the largest land giveaways in our nation's history.
Deem as "adequate" an as-yet-unwritten environmental impact statement for oil shale development. State and local governments, Indian tribes, and citizens would be deprived of the opportunity to voice their concerns about oil shale exploitation, and its impacts on clean air, safe drinking water, and vulnerable ecosystems.
Split the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in two, isolating California and Hawaii from other Western states. Anti-environmental interests want to "judge-shop," where they hope new judges would look the other way when environmental laws are violated.
Cut important Farm Bill programs that help farmers and ranchers protect and enhance natural resources on their land. The bill also eliminates the budget for popular and effective federal programs that support farm-related energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
When the House takes up the bill next week, we hope that they will reject this budget. If Congress can't pass a bill that protects the environment, they shouldn't pass a bill at all. If you haven't already, please take action to ask your representatives to oppose this nightmare budget.
Thank you for standing with us. We'll keep you updated.
Vawter "Buck" Parker