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Wasserman Schultz, Deutch urge Boehner to reconsider EPA cuts

In a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Democrats expressed their concerns with anti-environmental policy “riders” in the forthcoming continuing resolution that would fund the government for the remainder of 2011. #

The House’s Spending Bill, which was passed in February, contains 19 anti-environmental riders, some of which would prevent the EPA from implementing policies affecting water, air and toxic emissions. Some of the policies, like the EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria, would directly affect Florida. According to many environmentalists, the lack of them could be detrimental to both public health and the livelihood of marine flora and fauna. #

The reps argue that the riders could “significantly jeopardize the protection of American communities and ecosystems” and would “roll back 40 years of bipartisan efforts to strengthen environmental protections.” #

The letter, sent yesterday, was signed by 53 House Democrats, including Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Ted Deutch. #

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson also took a strong environmental stance this week, signing onto a resolution calling for continued implementation of the Clean Air Act. #

“With polluters and their allies in Congress trying to hijack a must-pass government funding bill this weekend with an all-out assault on the air we breathe and the water we drink, Sen. Nelson, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Congressman Deutch’s leadership is critical,” said Environment Florida’s Sarah Bucci, in a press release. “We urge Congress and President Obama to follow their lead and reject attacks on Floridians’ health and our environment, and instead stand up for cleaner air and a healthier future.” #

Read the full letter below: #

March 31, 2011 #

The Honorable John A. Boehner

Speaker of the House of Representatives

H-232, U.S. Capitol Building

Washington, D.C. 20515 #

Dear Speaker Boehner, #

As Democratic Members of Congress who voted for a recent, clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue funding for the government, and who would like to avoid a shutdown of essential government operations, we write to strongly urge you not to include anti-environmental policy “riders” in the long-term CR for Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11). #

The appropriations process and the authorizing process are two important, but distinct, congressional responsibilities. We feel strongly that these policy provisions, which would significantly jeopardize the protection of American communities and ecosystems, should not be included in a bipartisan budget bill. #

H.R. 1, which was passed by the House of Representatives in February 2011, contained 19 anti-environmental riders that would negatively affect air, water, and environmental quality, through a wide range of provisions, including preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, implementing or enforcing any regulations on stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions, limiting toxic emissions, preventing the EPA from restoring certain waterways, and preventing the Administration from protecting wilderness areas and certain endangered species. #

These anti-environmental riders would roll back 40 years of bipartisan efforts to strengthen environmental protections. As you know, the U.S. Senate refused to consider this legislation. #

The two recent short-term CR’s that were passed into law did not include these policy riders. The most recent of these measures passed the House on February 19 and the Senate on March 17, and will keep the government funded until April 8.

54 House Republicans voted against this short-term CR, and we were among the House Democrats that voted for one or both of these measures, which also passed the Democratically-controlled Senate. We believe that the next, long-term CR will need to attract similar bipartisan support. #

The push amongst some in the Republican Conference to include anti-environmental riders in a long-term CR is greatly concerning. #

While these riders do not reduce federal spending, they would precipitously alter 40 years of environmental statute. A budget bill is not the appropriate venue to make significant policy changes without going through the proper hearing and markup process in committees of authorization. #

We would like to work with you to find common ground on a CR to fund the government for the remainder of FY11, but we would have very strong reservations about supporting a long-term CR that limits the Administration’s authority to protect air, water, and environmental quality, and its Supreme Court-mandated duty to protect public health. #

Sincerely, #

Reps.** **Jay Inslee, Steve Israel, Rush Holt, Jared Polis, Gerry Connolly, Chellie Pingree, Chris Van Hollen, Jim Moran, John Sarbanes, Allyson Schwartz, Ben Ray Luján, Mike Quigley, Mike Doyle, Susan Davis, Shelley Berkley, Lloyd Doggett, Lois Capps, Fortney Pete Stark, Martin Heinrich, Adam Schiff, Gary Ackerman, Theodore Deutch, Eliot Engel, Steven Rothman, Louise Slaughter, Jim Langevin, Diana DeGette, Andre Carson, Jackie Speier, G.K. Butterfield, David Price, Kurt Schrader, Peter Welch, Brad Sherman, John Carney, David Wu, Chris Murphy, Bill Pascrell, David Cicilline, Anna Eshoo, Mike Thompson, Niki Tsongas, Carolyn McCarthy, Brian Higgins, Gary Peters, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Peter Defazio, Joe Courtney, Tim Bishop, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Perlmutter, John Larson, Jim Himes #

#

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