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Anti-Environmental Budget Riders

by Staff
Green and Save, January 6, 2012

A significant assault on health and environmental protection is underway in Congress.

House Republican leaders spent December trying to load up last-minute, must-pass legislation with anti-environmental riders. They tried to delay or repeal protections for air, water, health, lands and species by adding provisions to unrelated spending and tax legislation. If their efforts had succeeded, they would have reversed many years of environmental progress.

These provisions are called "riders" because they ride along on legislation that is entirely unrelated to the rider. The anti-environmental riders offered to the spending bill, for example, would not change federal spending by one cent. Riders are used to slip through legislation that would be difficult to pass on its own. Riders also result in the measures getting less scrutiny and in legislators avoiding responsibility for supporting them.

Fortunately, President Obama and Democratic leaders stood up to these efforts. As a result, the final version of the spending bill included very few riders, and all of the most damaging riders were blocked. The final tax bill is still pending. It includes one rider to short-circuit review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and House Republicans are pushing to add another rider blocking limits on mercury pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators.

The following posts describe where the riders battle currently stands:

BLOG: Stop the Riders: GOP Lawmakers Slow Down Bills with Anti-Environmental Attacks
BLOG: Republican Leadership Holds Tax Relief for American Families Hostage to Keystone Pipeline
You can read detailed blog posts about the Keystone amendment on NRDC Switchboard.

The following posts describe what was at stake as the spending battle was going on:

BLOG: GOP Lawmakers Hold Spending and Tax Bills Hostage with Anti-Environmental Riders
BLOG: House Bills Repeal, Gut Safeguards Against Mercury & Toxic Air Pollution from Cement Plants, Incinerators, Boilers
BLOG: More Pollution or We Will Shutdown the Government?
BLOG: House leadership plays politics with Keystone XL pipeline, pushing new legislation and discredited job numbers
BLOG: Approps Deal May Mean Bad Holiday Season for Wolves
You can read detailed blog posts about what was at stake on NRDC Switchboard.

Here's the list of riders the Republicans tried to get into law. Those in bold made it into the final spending bill.

Clean Water

Clean Air Energy Efficiency Wildlife Lands Climate Adaptation Nuclear Energy Oil Drilling Toxics
Anti-Environmental Budget Riders
Green and Save, January 6, 2012

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