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SEPTEMBER 3, 1998   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 rider.

By delaying for two years the reform of outdated and inadequate mining regulations, the mining rider would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars next year and prolong the devastating impacts that mines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.



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