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NWF irked by proposed budget cuts

April 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM

WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) -- Most of the riders in the U.S. budget resolution killing funding for the environment failed, but billions in conservation funding could be gone, advocates warn.

Washington passed a continuing budget resolution that funds the federal government through September. The National Wildlife Foundation said the bill rejects so-called riders that would have cut funding for many environmental programs, but many more are at risk.

"While the most extreme pro-polluter riders to gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act failed, our clean air and clean water remains vulnerable to death by a thousand budget cuts," Adam Kolton, executive director of the NWF's advocacy center in Washington, said in a statement.

The NWF said a final bill set for a vote next week includes $143.5 million in cuts to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than $4 billion in cuts to the Forest Service Operations and $1.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Republican lawmakers have complained the EPA is made up of unelected bureaucrats bent on undermining efforts to increase domestic energy production.

Kolton, however, said the proposed budget cuts harm efforts to protect and restore sensitive ecosystems in the United States.

"It is appalling that this budget protects billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies while taking a budget ax to the programs that protect America's wildlife, our public lands and clean water," said Kolton.

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