Bush’s ‘balanced’ budget forgets environment, again
The 2008 federal budget proposed this week smells both of “here we go again” domestic policy and blatant contradictions to the State of the Union speech President Bush gave just weeks ago.In summary, for the second year in a row, our president is proposing the sale of public lands to fund education which, as we wrote a year ago, badly misses the point. Both are in dire need of help, not more enemies.While Bush is proposing an increase in funding of national parks – a $5.14 million boost in Colorado alone – the potential of more land sales are much larger threats to Summit County’s national forest land, which lost more than 100 acres in last year’s “land for books” sale. And, with oil and gas giants leasing thousands of acres of BLM land in Western Colorado, our public land is being attacked statewide by both public and private interests, a scary thought to those of us who live in rural Colorado to avoid messy overdevelopment.The other proposed jaw-dropper is the funding cut for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which prompted Colorado Democratic Rep. Mark Udall to call the president himself, “all talk.” At the same time, Bush proposed a 38 percent increase in nuclear energy funding, which is already proven to be a poisonous, antiquated industry compared with wind, solar and biomass technologies. Frankly, this makes no sense if the president is serious about ending our dependence on fossil fuels anytime soon.In this budget, Bush stuck to the bottom line, promising a balanced budget in five years without raising taxes. We don’t think this is accurate, nor plausible, based on what he has outlined. Certainly, selling our public land and cutting renewable energy studies is a significant tax, whether we call a “tax” or not.
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