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1998 10:00 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - WAS EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:00 AM
CONTACT: U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Lexi Shultz, Kim Delfino or Liz Hitchcock at (202) 546-9707
|Anti-Environmental Riders Waste At Least $180
Million Of Taxpayer Money
|WASHINGTON - September 3 -Thirteen anti-environmental
riders on pending Interior Appropriations bills will cost the taxpayers at least $180
million, according to a report released by U.S. PIRG. These 13 riders are a subset
of the 22 anti-environmental riders attached to the Senate Interior Appropriations bill
that may be voted on as early as this week and at least 3 anti-environmental riders on the
House Interior Appropriations bill that was voted on last month.
These riders, if enacted would ransack our resources by letting the oil, mining,
ranching, and timber industries waste taxpayer money while destroying priceless public
resources, said Lexi Shultz, PIRG Staff Attorney.
The level of environmental destruction will be staggering, including massive
increases in logging, roads ripping through pristine wilderness areas, and crippled
efforts to protect and recover important endangered species, like salmon, added Kim
Delfino, PIRG Staff Attorney.
Key findings of the report include:
· Thirteen of the anti-environmental riders targeted in this report will cost American
taxpayers at least $180 million next year. Of this, 10 of the Senate Interior
Appropriations riders will cost between $167.8 million and $205.5 million, and the 3 House
Interior Appropriations riders will cost as much as $37 million.
· Several of the other riders, such as the mining and ranching riders, will cost hundreds
of millions of dollars more, but the exact amount could not be determined.
· The costs of the riders cannot account for the priceless natural resources that will be
lost if the riders become law. If enacted, the riders would damage more than 265
million acres of federal public land, an area one and a half times the size of Texas.
· Taxpayers would pay a single company, the Sun Valley Company, $15 million to build a
road over environmentally sensitive land to access a privately owned ski resort, under one
· By delaying for two years the reform of outdated and inadequate mining regulations, the
mining rider would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars next year and prolong the
devastating impacts that mines would have on public lands and rivers nationwide.
· The ranching rider would perpetuate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of subsidies
to the ranching industry by mandating the automatic renewal of below-cost ranching permits
regardless of the environmental impacts of the activities allowed by the permits.
· Another anti-environmental rider would cost taxpayers an estimated $20 million and
promote the destruction of the pristine Tongass National Forest in Alaska by requiring the
U.S. Forest Service to offer 50% more timber from this forest than last year, at prices
far below market value.
These riders are a prime example of polluter pork, where big business gets big
subsidies to destroy the environment in a big way, said Lexi Shultz. We
call on the Senate to oppose, and President Clinton to veto, any bill that contains any
anti-environmental provisions, including the riders spotlighted in this report.
These spending bills should be used to support programs that benefit the
environment, not to promote programs that run roughshod over our monetary and natural
resources, said Kim Delfino.
U.S. PIRG is the national lobbying office for the state
PIRGs. PIRGs are non-partisan, non-profit environmental and consumer watchdog
organizations that are active around the country.
THIS REPORT WILL BE AVAILABLE AT OUR WEB SITE TODAY