katrina parks public health

Common-Sense Republicans versus Lunatic Republicans
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Congress Must Not Adopt Extreme Proposals in Response to Katrina

Anti-Security, Anti-Health proposals have surfaced in Congress -- and confused legislators might vote for them just to show that they are doing something -- anything -- about the bungled Katrina disaster.

A Republican group -- yes, that's right, a Republican group -- has blown the whistle on this legislative fiasco.

Congress should not respond to Hurricane Katrina by adopting extreme proposals to sell off national parks to developers, expand our increasingly dangerous dependence on oil, or end funding for clean water projects, said REP America, the national grassroots organization of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

"We must move forward diligently with Hurricane Katrina recovery and rebuilding, but not by adopting extreme legislation that would endanger public health, weaken our nation's security, and squander our national parks heritage," said Jim DiPeso, REP America policy director.

Congressman Richard Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, has proposed budget reconciliation legislation that includes selling 15 national parks to developers, including Theodore Roosevelt Island, the Potomac River memorial that honors America's greatest conservation president.

Pombo's bill also would sell off spectacular Alaska wilderness parks and memorials honoring a Revolutionary War hero and other important figures in American history. The bill would require the National Park Service to sell advertising space on park vehicles and commercial naming rights to park museums, trails, and visitor centers.

"Pombo's extremism, if turned into law, would turn our treasured national park system into a tawdry carnival of advertising and fast-buck commercialism, squandering a priceless inheritance," DiPeso said.

Pombo's bill also would open protected offshore waters and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, perpetuating America's dangerous dependence on oil.

"Congress needs to face reality. Increased domestic drilling will not increase our energy security because it will not change the sobering arithmetic of our dangerous dependence on oil. We use 25 percent of the world's oil production. Yet we hold only 2 percent of world oil reserves. We are more dependent than ever on a highly stressed world oil market, which leaves us vulnerable to any event anywhere in the world that disrupts oil production - hurricanes, riots, bombings, labor unrest," DiPeso said. "If we tie our future to oil, we are leaving our nation exposed to increasingly dangerous risks."

"We have more control over oil demand than over oil supply. Controlling our energy destiny means reducing our demand for petroleum through fuel efficiency and diversifying our energy choices," DiPeso said.

Unfortunately, Pombo is not alone in pushing extreme legislation. Another House proposal calls for abolishing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which pays for sewage treatment construction and upgrades that keep dangerous bacteria out of the nation's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.

"Nothing is more basic for public health and a strong economy than clean water. As population grows, a shortsighted decision to cut off money for sewage treatment expansion will endanger public health and community economies nationwide," DiPeso said.

Also see:

GOP Group Rebukes Party Leaders for Post-Katrina Drilling Push
http://www.progress.org/2005/repa03.htm

Even Some Republicans Want Oil Independence for America
http://www.progress.org/2005/repa02.htm

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