Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rough Trade: The GOP-Driven Budget Manhandles The Environment

And that's putting it politely. TPM has a summary article about the size and targets of the cuts. Here's a bit of the environmental depredation:

One of the hardest hit institutions is the Environmental Protection Agency, whose power Republicans have sought to curtail in recent years through a variety of legislative means. The agency will receive $1.6 billion less in funding than current levels, a 16 percent drop, including a $49 million reduction in climate change programs and $149 million cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In a press release, Senate Appropriation Committee Democrats noted that the EPA cuts, while tough, were nearly $1.6 billion less than Republicans' original proposal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also saw a $142 million reduction in funding and is prohibited from creating a Climate Service.

In addition to programs protecting the environment, programs aimed at boosting energy efficiency for power plants and transportation also were major targets. Energy efficiency and renewable energy were cut by $438 million while fossil energy R&D was reduced by $226 million and nuclear energy funding was cut by $56 million. Funding for high speed rail, all $2.9 billion of it, was zeroed out entirely. In the wake of the Japan disaster, energy security appeared to catch a reprieve -- the National Nuclear Security Administration actually saw an increase of $697 million in funding.

As long as Obama and his Congress allow the kind of blackmail we saw last week, this will continue to happen. And if you think it can't get worse, you aren't thinking clearly. What kind of "compromises" (cave-ins) will come with the raising of the debt ceiling?

The problem as I see it is that Obama & Co. are trading permanent irreversible environmental changes for temporary economic changes. As we are discovering, many of GeeDubya Bush's policies are turning out to be effectively irreversible, simply because executive power never decreases from one president to the next. It is no surprise to see Obama assuming the powers Bush stole over the civil liberties of Americans, but I confess I did not expect Obama to give away the store on environmental matters. More fool I, I suppose.

If we are to survive the changes in our government perpetrated mostly over the past ten years, we are going to have to reverse some of those changes. Forbidding NOAA from creating a Climate Service is not going to do a damned thing to delay global climate change. And the wealthy are not immune: all the gated communities in the world will not suffice to stop the onslaught of floodwaters, storm surges, rises in sea level, etc. And the longer we burn fossil fuels as our primary energy source, the quicker we will approach and overtake the tipping point; the climate doesn't give a damn what Congress, Democrats, GOPers or even the almighty Obama thinks.

The only way to begin is to begin. Somebody has to draw a line. Somebody has to say NO, more than once and not so faintly, to the BPs of the world. And there isn't much time in which to do it.

Will life on Earth survive the reign of America? Life is amazingly adaptable, and some forms of life (yes, cockroaches among them) will survive even the worst we can do. But humanity will not. If we want humankind to survive, we have to stop pissing away our environmental future. As it is clear that Daddy O is not going to take away the credit card, we must somehow persuade most Americans, on their own initiative, to restrain their environmentally destructive inclinations. What's the incentive, where's the motivation for them? I don't know. Maybe, just maybe, they'd like to see their grandkids survive to adulthood...


  1. Yes but God will provide -- just ask any of the idiots proposing this you-know-what!

  2. Kay, there's an old two-liner I've had quoted at me a few times: "God answers every prayer. Sometimes God's answer is 'NO'."

    I believe there are a couple of things one could add to that...

    Sometimes God's answer is "That reminds me of a joke..."

    Sometimes God's answer is "You've GOT to be bullshitting me!"

    I wonder why the tighty-righties don't ever seem to hear that last reply. God knows they need to...

  3. I'd like to think God would ask, "Didn't I make a commamdment about that?" or "Didn't you get the message when my kid kicked out the money changers." Then again the latter might apply to us' we need to get rid of the money changers NOW!

    One of my favorite country songs is Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers" -- it's a good message.



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes