The GOP's response to climate change is an environmental disaster -

The GOP’s response to climate change is an environmental disaster

House Republicans on Wednesday introduced an appropriations bill for federal environmental agencies that would boost development of the same fossil fuels that are driving the myriad disasters that have rocked the Northern Hemisphere this year.

The legislation includes significant funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. It would force many additional oil and gas leases, both at home and abroad, and would fuel mining development, including in an area near Minnesota’s famous Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness where the Biden administration operates. banned such an extraction.

The legislation would also torpedo and impede protections for wild animals, eliminating more than $9 billion under the Inflation Reduction Act, the climate law signed into law by President Joe Biden that Democrats passed last year.

Wildfire management is among the few programs that will see a significant increase in funding under the plan. Funds for the three major agencies serving federally recognized tribes — the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Service — will remain about the same as last year.

With Democrats controlling the White House and a slim majority in the Senate, the GOP plan has almost no chance of becoming law in its current form. But it serves as a clear statement of the GOP’s environmental priorities in an era of accelerating climate change and biodiversity loss.

In an opening statement during Wednesday’s tribute, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Home Affairs and Environment Subcommittee, introduced the 14-year-old daughter of his chief of staff. He worried about her and her other children’s future – not whether they would have a known planet to live on, but what a failure to rein in government spending might mean for their retirement.

“I don’t know how you tell your children and grandchildren that Social Security and Medicare will be there for you,” Simpson said. “If we don’t control (spending), everything we do will be in vain.”

Rep. Chelly Pingree (Maine), the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, also spoke about the uncertain future facing children — though her comments did acknowledge the reality of the mounting climate crisis.

“I think one of our main goals as members of Congress is to make sure that we give (children) a safe and better future,” Pingree said. “Now, one of the most important things we can do is ensure they have a healthy planet, where they can live in the future, where they can lead productive lives.”

Pingree called the bill “aggressive against the environmentand “pro-pollution,” and said she would kill any chance of keeping that promise for future generations.

“All of our progress on climate will be reversed, and America’s ability to address climate change will be completely impaired,” she said.

Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) speaks during a subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., April 18.
Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) speaks during a subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., April 18.

Tom Williams via Getty Images

The effects of rapidly worsening climate change have been felt in recent weeks. In the United States alone, these included bedsores heat waves in the south, Flood in the northeast regularly Smoke waves of the Canadian wildfires and Standard water temperatures off the coast of Florida. The burning of fossil fuels is the primary driver of global warming.

However, the Republican bill seeks to open up more public land and waters to oil and gas development, and would require the interior to conduct fossil fuel lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska, in addition to quarterly onshore lease sales.

Meanwhile, the bill proposes taking over the nation’s largest environmental agencies, including a massive 39% cut to the EPA’s budget — which would put the agency at its lowest point since 1991. According to the justice of the landenvironmental group. Three agencies within the Home Office — the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service — will see cuts of 18%, 13% and 13% in funding, respectively. The Forest Service will see an 11% cut, while the Environmental Quality Council’s budget will be cut by 20%.

The House GOP is also looking to get key parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, including eliminating $7.8 billion for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which provides grants to start deploying clean energy infrastructure, and another $1.4 billion earmarked for environmental and climate justice.

Along with deep cuts to the EPA, the bill seeks to limit the agency’s power to regulate certain pollutants, reversing clean water protection measures that the agency ended late last year.

The bill is “full of drastic budget cuts and toxic pill dealers who take a vengeance on important environmental protections as well as job-creating investments that help combat climate change and environmental injustice,” said Raul García, vice president of policy and legislation at Earthjustice, books Wednesday.

Haze from smoke from wildfires in Canada envelops the New York City skyline as a man sits in a park on July 18 in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Haze from smoke from wildfires in Canada envelops the New York City skyline as a man sits in a park on July 18 in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Gary Hirschhorn via Getty Images

The plan would restore controversial wildlife protection measures that conservatives have seen as a proxy for federal expansion, especially in the West.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service will have to reissue its 2020 ruling removing Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf. Federal judge Restore the protection of the gray wolf across much of the country last year, in response to ongoing litigation.

The GOP’s proposed internal budget would also prevent the federal government from reintroducing bison to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, or reintroducing grizzly bears to the northern Cascade Mountains in Washington state. He describes these proposals as an “abuse” of the European Space Agency.

In fact, neither procedure is required by the European Space Agency. A small population of grizzlies actually lives in the North Cascades.

Robert Dewey, vice president of government affairs at Defenders of Wildlife, said: statement.

Notably, the plan also serves as a tool to take a stand on environmental injustices about culture and war and their questionable impact on agency budgets.

The Home Office will not be able to fund “environmental grief counseling,” which the agency does It said Employees upset about environmental threats were offered, or allowed to “evolve a critical race theory,” for example. The plan says only “appropriate flags” can be flown over the agency’s facilities – likely an attempt to prevent anyone from flying a Pride flag.

Some of the grievance proposals have Rep. Ryan Zinke’s fingerprints on them. Zinke – Republican from Montana violated The Department of the Interior governed his flag-raising ritual while serving as head of the agency during the Trump administration convicted Pride flags raised over government buildings. And in a tweet In February, he bragged that the environmental grief exercise would be “the first program” he would defund as a member of the appropriations committee.

The subcommittee considered and approved several amendments to the bill on Wednesday, including one to ban funding for the Bureau of Land Management to finalize the bill. proposed rule To put conservation “on par” with traditional uses such as energy development, mining, and cattle ranching.

The House Appropriations Committee finally introduced the bill by a 33-27 vote on Wednesday. It now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.