Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who needs an "environment" anyway?

We're getting the details of the budget measure that was agreed to last weekend and it is not a pretty sight. Forget, for a second, all the goodies for the rich and the pointy-stick-in-the eye for everyone else that are contained in that foggy piece of legislation. For now, let's just concentrate for a moment on some of the things that it does to the environment around us and to the sciences related to that environment.

To quote the Times story about the agreement, "There are myriad restrictions and budget cuts for environmental initiatives in the proposed budget." Here are just a few:

- $49 million would be cut from programs related to climate change.
- $438 million would be cut from programs supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- $638 million would be cut from environmental cleanup efforts by the Defense Department.
- $997 million would be cut from funds through which the Environmental Protection Agency provides money for local water treatment and pollution cleanup programs.

In another awesome bit of overreach, this belligerently know-nothing Congress which seems totally inimical to anything based on science or proven facts, has decided to remove an animal from the Endangered Species List. This is a first and it establishes a dangerous precedent for political influence to override scientific findings regarding a species. In a sop to the ranchers and hunters of Montana and Idaho, a rider to the budget agreement would take wolves in those states off the endangered list.

The damage that this government presently in power has done and is continuing to do to the environment is inestimable. But, who cares? Wolves don't vote, and, anyway, only sissies need an "environment"!

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