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Aug 092011

Green Right Now Reports

Instead of cutting programs that help assure a healthy environment for Americans, Congress should end the billions of subsidies it hands out to Big Oil, the leaders of 12 top environmental leaders said in a letter to Congress on Tuesday.

The environmental groups were appealing to the new bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to remember the health of Americans when making spending cuts.

Echoing President Obama, Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke also called for a “balanced approach” that cuts wasteful spending and also raises revenues. “Any other approach is quite simply a decision to dismember vital programs that keep our air clean, our water safe to drink, and preserve our natural heritage.”

The coalition of environmentalists offered a list of ways to cut spending, while preserving protections for nature and human health. Some of the suggestions for cuts:

  • Eliminating tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, which could save taxpayers $100 billion over 10 years.
  • Reducing subsidies to corporate agriculture interests and eliminating ethanol tax credits, which could save taxpayers $50 billion over 10 years. (Ethanol, unlike newer generation biofuel programs, has been shown to be more carbon intensive than first thought.)
  • Reducing public land grazing subsidies for livestock operators and cutting wasteful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water projects, which could save taxpayers hundreds of millions more.

For additional information see Beinecke’s blog about debt reduction.