Re: Oppose H.R. 3354, the vehicle for a harmful eight-bill appropriations package

Ariana Valderrama, Ariana_valderrama@lcv.org, 202-454-4554

United States House

Washington, DC 20515

 

Re: Oppose H.R. 3354, the vehicle for a harmful eight-bill appropriations package

Dear Representative:

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national priorities.  Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation.  The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.

LCV urges you to vote NO on H.R. 3354, the vehicle for a damaging eight-bill appropriations package. As its text now stands in the House Rules Committee print, this spending package would harm people’s health and the outdoors by slashing funding for many critical programs or by using radical policy riders to outright block environmental protections and other domestic priorities that benefit communities nationwide.

This spending bill echoes the Trump administration’s radical budget request in pursuing damaging cuts to programs that protect public health and fuel our outdoor economy.  It goes after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a cut of more than $500 million—7%—which would come on top of the 20% reduction the agency has sustained since 2010.   America’s best parks program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is slashed 32% below the enacted level and is funded well below the authorized level of $900 million.  And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reduced by $710 million, including a 19% cut to the agency’s climate research.

These and other harmful cuts come in the context of huge increases to defense spending in other House appropriations bills—breaking the longstanding, bipartisan parity principle between defense and domestic programs that communities depend on for their health and well-being.  What is urgently needed instead is for Congress to reach a budget deal that will raise the damaging sequestration spending caps equally for both military funding and other priorities for communities across the country.

Additionally, H.R. 3354 contains a slew of anti-environmental and other ideological policy riders, which have no place in a spending bill, will not save the country a penny, and are nothing more than giveaways to various corporate special interests. The egregious anti-environmental riders include measures that would allow the EPA to bypass the law and hide from the public the agency’s repeal of drinking water protections for 117 million people, delay and weaken smog standards that would exacerbate respiratory conditions among those who already carry the heaviest burden of climate change and are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, and eliminate protections for endangered species, such as the Gray Wolf.

The inclusion of $1.6 billion for the continued construction of a divisive and anti-environmental wall along the southern border of the United States may be the strongest example of a harmful and controversial policy proposal inserted into these spending bills. The border wall is a dangerous symbol of hostility toward immigrants and undercuts the civil rights of communities along the southern border. It would also increase the environmental and natural disaster risks to border communities, hurt wildlife, and waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an ineffective border security tool.

We urge you to REJECT H.R. 3354. We will strongly consider including votes on this bill in the 2017 Scorecard.  If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.

 

Sincerely,

Gene Karpinski

President

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