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Op-Ed: Provisions in House’s Environment Spending Bill Promise a Wet, Hot, Dirty American Summer

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By Daniel J. Weiss and Arpita Bhattacharyya

RISMEDIA, July 26, 2011— This week, the House of Representatives plans to vote on the Interior Environment FY 2012 Appropriations bill, H.R. 2584, which is chock full of more than 40 provisions that would prolong pollution of the air, water, oceans, and lands of your favorite vacation destinations enumerated in the slideshow, “Wet, Hot, Dirty American Summer,” released by the Center for American Progress. The sum effect of these and other pollution provisions in the House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill threaten clean air and clean water throughout the nation, exposing our children to sewage, dirty drinking water, mercury, smog, pesticides, and other pollutants.

Some of the impacts to a few of America’s favorite vacation spots include:

• One million acres around the Grand Canyon would be opened up to uranium mining, threatening the pristine canyon and polluting the drinking water source for more than 25 million Americans. (Sec. 445)

• Drastic cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund would stall efforts to acquire and protect land adjacent to Grand Teton, putting the picturesque area at risk for real estate or other unsightly development. (Title I)

• H.R. 2584 would slice the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative nearly in half, hindering pollution cleanup, wetlands restoration, and efforts to fight invasive species. (Title II)

• The Chesapeake Bay Program faces more than $4 million in funding cuts that could slow reductions of nutrient pollution, chemical contaminants, and air pollution. (Title II)

• The bill threatens to obscure visibility and pollute the air in the Smokies by preventing the EPA from monitoring and improving air quality in national parks and wilderness areas under the Regional Haze Program. ( H. Rept. 112-51, p. 72)

• A 40 percent funding cut to sewage treatment programs will leave California beaches contaminated with human waste and industrial pollutants. (Title II; Sec. 433)

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