Barbara Lee

Opposing Cuts in FY12 Interior Appropriations Bill - July 15, 2011

Barbara Lee
July 15, 2011— Washington, D.C.
House committee speech
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I rise in strong opposition to this bill. It literally terminates air quality, land, water, and conservation funding that will impact all communities in our country, particularly in my state of California. Page by page, the bill takes aim on the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the environment we live in.

As a person of faith, I believe there is a moral and an ethical responsibility to protect the natural resources provided by our creator. This bill undermines the Clean Air Act’s ability to crack down on air pollution, damaging the Act’s ability to protect the public health. This will threaten the quality of life for our children, our families, and our communities.

Far too many of our communities still suffer from poor air quality. Too many families and children, particularly those of lower income and in the most vulnerable communities in our country, face the impact of toxic air pollution each and every day. Far too many of our children, our seniors, people with asthma, cardiovascular and lung disease, diabetes, live under added threats to their health from breathing polluted air and the impact of global warming. The dangerous budget cuts and the anti-environmental riders will just lead to more polluted air and less protected water.

This bill also includes significant cuts to our national parks. By crushing the land and water conservation fund, this bill would eliminate funding for important park and conservation projects throughout California and across the country. The bill also cuts funding to green economy work which creates jobs, paralyzing the EPA’s ability to work with businesses to identify and implement cost-effective and more efficient strategies that advance environmental protection, job creation, and economic progress. Species extinction will also be accelerated by this bill. I just don’t understand why any one of us would want to kill off endangered animals that scientists are telling us need protection. I’m really at a loss for words this morning, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank our ranking chairman, Mr. Moran, for his work on this bill. I look forward to working with all of you, and all of my colleagues, to reverse these losses and to protect the gains that we have made so far as this bill moves forward. But again, we have to remember this could be really a moral and an ethical issue that we are dealing with under this bill because, truly, we are the preservers of this planet, and we have a duty and a responsibility to do what is right.