Debt-ceiling deal blasted as congressional ‘give away to corporate polluters’

The president of the Wilderness Society today skewered the current debt-ceiling compromise and budget-slashing deal worked out in Washington over the weekend, saying its reductions in spending on environmental and conservation policies “threaten to damage our water, our air and our lands beyond repair.”

“Congress doesn’t deserve to thump its chest for reaching a debt ceiling compromise on a mess it created,” The Wilderness Society President William H. Meadows said in a release. “This assault is part of a larger effort by some in Congress to give away our great outdoors to corporate polluters and developers, and it’s creating an environmental debt that we can’t repay.”

Meadows is a critical of Congress for rushing to reach an agreement ahead of the August recess, “abandoning” its work on an Interior Department appropriations bill until lawmakers reconvene in September. Congress will then have to fund Interior using the “debilitating limitations” of the new deal, Meadows added.

“This deal leaves huge, wasteful and unnecessary tax subsidies for the oil and gas industries untouched,” Meadows said.

ExxonMobil last month announced second quarter profits of $10.68 billion, representing a 41 percent increase. Shell saw second quarter profits of $8 billion, up 77 percent.

ExxonMobil suffered a public relations black eye last month for its pipeline spill into the Yellowstone River in Montana, an event that didn’t adversely impact its best quarter for profits in three years.

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., a freshman who has relentlessly championed stripping away the regulatory authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this week defended his vote for a House debt-ceiling bill later rejected by the Senate.

“Just this week, I voted for a plan that would cut and cap discretionary spending immediately, cutting $22 billion in spending next year, and saving $917 billion over 10 years, and raise the debt ceiling by less – up to $900 billion – in order to avoid default,” Gardner said in his weekly newsletter released on Sunday. “This plan achieves nearly 70 percent of the discretionary spending cuts that were in the House-passed budget and calls for a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment as a condition of further debt ceiling increases.”

His Democratic challenger in the energy rich 4th Congressional District, Colorado Senate President Brandon Shaffer, blasted Gardner today for his vote on the House debt-ceiling plans.

“After walking door-to-door this weekend, I can tell you most Coloradans are scratching their heads wondering exactly what is going on in Congress,” Shaffer said. “Quite frankly, this whole episode has been an embarrassment, and embodies what people hate most about politics.

“Our economy still isn’t on track and job losses are still looming. Meanwhile, Rep. Gardner joined the radicals in Congress in voting yet again to effectively end Medicare. It’s time to put a stop to this nonsense and bring common sense Colorado solutions to Congress. That is what I plan to do.”

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