Campaigners take ‘green scissors’ to US budget
A coalition of green Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and consumer groups has earmarked billions of dollars in potential budget cuts to help balance USA books while reducing the country's environmental impact.
Their report, Green Scissors 2010, targets four main areas for cuts: energy, agriculture and biofuels, infrastructure and public lands.
It says a number of subsidies and government programmes in these areas are a waste of tax dollars and damaging to the environment.
Ben Schreiber, Friends of the Earth climate and energy tax analyst, said: “For far too long, the federal government has incentivised practices that destroy our environment.
“This is particularly true with energy. In the fight to combat global warming, we cannot continue to subsidise the harmful practices that have forced us into this dire predicament.”
The report identifies billions of dollars of tax savings its authors say would help the USA’s bottom line and the environment.
Anna Aurilio, of advocacy organisation Environment America, said: “With record deficits, it is outrageous that both Congress and the administration continue to waste money on programs that poison our air, foul our water and destroy pristine public lands.
“It’s time to save taxpayer dollars and the environment.” Taxpayers groups represented in the coalition behind the report said large corporations and industry-backed lobbies had too much influence in Washington, and had managed to push through a series of policies that helped them to line their own pockets while harming the environment.
Tyson Slocum, director of energy at Public Citizen, a not-for-profit consumer advocacy organisation, said: “We need to reform a system that allows corporations to charge their pollution to taxpayers’ credit cards.”
Friends of the Earth launched the Green Scissors campaign fifteen years ago to identify and eliminate environmentally harmful, wasteful federal projects.
This year’s report can be viewed online by clicking here.