Congress is working overtime before the holidays to orchestrate last-minute deals on spending and tax bills. With limited time left to finish their work, some members of Congress are holding the legislation hostage in order to push through controversial anti-environmental provisions.
Marty Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation at Earthjustice, says that Congress should be completing its work, not loading up bills with unrelated provisions that will harm public health and the environment.
"We oppose these attacks on clean air, clean water, public lands, and wildlife. Congress should not be using must-pass legislation to launch sneak attacks on environmental protections."
Some of these provisions - or riders, as they are called - would cripple our nation's fundamental environmental protection laws. Among the long-standing laws on the negotiating table is the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The law is our nation's safety net for plants and animals on the brink of extinction.
Hayden points out that in protecting plants and wildlife, the ESA also protects resources that humans depend on.
"Riders that could be attached to the spending omnibus bill would weaken protections for air, water, lands and wildlife. These proposals would benefit special interests and big polluters, and ignore very real and dangerous health consequences to people. Americans deserve more from Congress than an end-run around our environmental protections."
Lawmakers are trying to get the final legislation through both chambers and signed by President Barack Obama before the end of the year.
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