League of Conservation Voters on House environmental cuts - "disgrace of epic proportions"

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The House of Representatives is expected on Tuesday to pass a measure that would extend funding for the government through March 18. The measure includes about $4 billion in spending cuts - it's being labeled as a down payment of sorts for the larger deal on appropriations that Speaker of the House John Boehner and his caucus hope to get for the 2011 fiscal year ending in September in a few weeks.

You may recall the House originally voted to cut a massive $61 billion out of the current fiscal year budget 10 days ago.  According to the League of Conservation Voters, the cuts to the environment in that particular bill were so egregious that it's compelled them to produce a "special edition" scorecard on the 25 separate votes on the environment, energy and public health contained in that bill.

In a conference call this morning, Kiernan Sittenfeld, the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for LCV,  called the legislation a "breathtaking assault"on the environment. Among the specific amendments the LCV condemns is one by Florida Republican Tom Rooney, who called for blocking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing the agency from implementing new water quality standards for Florida's lakes. Other amendments that were part of the CR was an amendment to eliminate the ability of presidents to retain advisers, or "czars." Several others would prevent the EPA from implementing parts of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Overall, it would cut the EPA's budget by 29%, and cut 48% from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.Among some of the amendments that the LCV considered positive (but were rejected by the House) included one from Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer to cap  agricultural subsidies at $250,000 and limit taxpayer giveaways that mostly go to factory farms. 86 members of Congress received a perfect score of 100 from the LCV on the continuing resolution, but only two from Florida.  Those were Democrats Kathy Castor in Tampa and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in South Florida.  74 members received a 0 ranking from the LCV on the bill, which included four Republicans from Florida: Hernando County's Richard Nugent, Polk County's Dennis Ross, Steve Southerland from Tallahassee and Bill Posey from Brevard County.  All but Posey are freshman representatives.

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