Congress Passes Budget: Fight for Clean Air and Water Far From Over

Congress passed a budget agreement after a high-stakes showdown to fund the federal government through September.  The measure passed 260-167 in the House and 81-19 in the Senate.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:

“The Sierra Club applauds President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for standing their ground against attempts by corporate polluters and their allies in Congress to hijack this must-pass federal spending bill with controversial riders that would have threatened our health, our air and our water and important protections governing mountaintop removal.

“Unfortunately, the story isn’t all roses and sunshine.  As we have heard in the last few days, the budget agreement includes drastic cuts to essential programs that protect Americans from toxic pollution.  In a cynical and irresponsible move, the final package also included two riders with no place in the debate over federal spending.  One attacked the Department of the Interior’s authority to protect our wildlands, and another undermined important protections for wildlife.

“Congress’ removal of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list not only threatens to undo the tremendous progress made in bringing wolves back, but it also moves dangerously away from the science-based management practices that have brought animals back from the brink of extinction. Congress should ensure that the wolf does not become the first of many.

“Looking towards the next budget battle, we are under no illusion that polluters and their friends in Congress to be satisfied – as we have seen in the House Leadership’s budget proposal, they are already geared up to further slash funding to vital programs and protections for the American public. 

“The American people won’t stand for it, and the Sierra Club will fight against any attempts to gut the Clean Air Act or handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting the public health.”

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