NJ Senators: Bush Environment Budget 'Toxic For Garden State'

NJ Senators: Bush Environment Budget 'Toxic For Garden State'

New Jersey lawmakers release analysis of Bush budget impact on Garden State environment

Washington - United States Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today released their assessment of the Bush environment budget and its impact on the Garden State. Their analysis uncovered budget cuts to critical programs geared toward protecting New Jersey's natural resources, as well as the Bush administration's plans to slow down their clean-up of Superfund sites, of which New Jersey has the most in the nation.

"President Bush is clearly willing to sacrifice everything in the federal budget to afford massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans," Menendez said. "However, those tax cuts won't be worth much when there is no clean water to drink, no clean air to breathe, and no pristine environment to enjoy. Despite the Bush administration's misguided budget priorities, I will fight these cuts every step of the way to ensure we aren't sacrificing our long-term environmental outlook."

"President Bush's budget would slash the EPA budget by almost half a billion dollars, cut vital environmental grants, and clean up fewer Superfund sites. It is a dangerous recipe that will cause additional damage to our environment and hurt the health and safety of New Jersey families," said Lautenberg. "I will use my positions on the Budget, Appropriations, and EPW Committees to fight for more funding to protect our environment and support proposals to keep our air clean, our drinking water safe, and to free contaminated sites in our state from dangerous toxic materials."

President Bush's proposed budget has the lowest level of overall funding for natural resources and the environment since 2001, and the Environmental Protection Agency's budget would be cut by $400 million from 2006 levels. New Jersey and other states are hit particularly hard by major cuts to EPA's grant programs, which are essential for ensuring that our communities have safe water, clean air, and are free from hazardous waste.

While New Jersey has the most Superfund sites in the country, the Bush administration has dramatically slowed the pace of cleaning them up. In the late 1990's, over 80 sites were finished each year. The Bush administration proposes to clean up only 30 sites nationwide this year, and is now saying it will only be able to finish 24 sites in 2007, barely more than half of what they originally proposed.

The budget slashes the Clean Water State Revolving Fund by nearly $200 million from 2006 levels, which would cut funding to New Jersey by $8 million. These critical funds help communities upgrade their infrastructure and ensure water used for drinking, swimming and other recreation are free of untreated sewage and other contaminants.

Menendez and Lautenberg, both members of the Senate Budget Committee, pledged to work within the Congressional budget process to ensure New Jerseyans are not forced to endure the major cuts proposed by President Bush.

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