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Feature: Anti-Environmental Riders

A significant assault on health and environmental protection is underway in Congress.  Lawmakers must pass 12 spending bills for fiscal 2012 to fund the government, and some House Republicans are seizing this opportunity to jam through unpopular anti-environmental policies that have nothing to do with spending.  These anti-environmental provisions are called “riders” because they ride along on spending bills even though they do not cut federal spending one cent.  They are bad policies pushed forward through a bad process. 

Riders are an end-run around Congressional procedures; they are designed to limit scrutiny and to push through policies that would otherwise never make it into law.  Riders generally are not subjected to hearings or full debates.  And by adding riders, Republicans are trying to take the spending bill hostage.  They are saying to the Senate, “Go along with these anti-environmental policies, or we’ll keep the government from getting funded.” 

On the final spending bill for 2011, House Republican leaders and Tea Party legislators attached 19 riders to block protections for clean air, clean water, wilderness lands and wild life. Because of this broad assault on the environment, the House 2011 spending bill was branded “the worst environmental bill in history.” Thanks to resistance from Senate Democratic leaders and President Obama, most of those riders didn’t make it into law.    

Now, Congress is starting to consider spending bills for 2012, and the Republicans in the House are at it again.  This page will track what riders are being added, their impact on the public, and who’s responsible.

From NRDC President Frances Beinecke: The Choice Is Clear: Public Health vs. Polluters

Latest blog posts about Anti-Environmental Riders:


The Republican Blueprint for the Environment

Posted September 3, 2014 by Scott Slesinger in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Over the past 3 years, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed literally hundreds of provisions that would roll back laws and standards that protect our climate, our drinking and surface water, our air, and our public lands.  The press...continued

Don't be a Stooge: What's at stake in the Republican assault on environmental protection

Posted July 28, 2014 by David Goldston in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Congress’ departure from Washington for its annual August recess is a traditional time to take stock of what our legislators have been up to.  In recent years, this has too often degenerated into mere lampooning, obscuring how deadly in earnest...continued

What does the Republican Party have against elephants?

Posted July 8, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Every once and a while, House Republicans really make me scratch my head. I’m used to the endless anti-environmental “riders” attached to bills that fund the federal government, just one part of a systematic assault on environmental protection that has...continued

Paperwork Reductions or Life-Saving Standards?

Posted April 15, 2014 by Scott Slesinger in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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EPA priorities: Does this make sense to anyone? Appropriators and the Administration need to decide what is more important -- health and the environment or paperwork reduction. The hazardous waste industry has been working over a decade to replace its...continued

Screwing Around with Efficiency: Congress' Cheap Light Bulb Stunt Could Be Costly for Consumers, Jobs and the Clean Energy Economy

Posted January 17, 2014 by Kit Kennedy in Curbing Pollution, Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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The $1.1 trillion-dollar budget bill just passed by Congress will avoid a government shutdown and fund the government until October, but it includes a couple of screwed-up provisions – called “riders” -- as concessions to conservative House members. One affects...continued

The Debt-Ceiling Hostage Situation

Posted September 30, 2013 by Evan Feeney in U.S. Law and Policy

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You would not expect an environmental organization like NRDC to be engaged in the current debt-ceiling fight. But this is a cross cutting issue that will impact a number of issues that NRDC engages on.  We are fighting the attempt to...continued

Congress Returns: A Road Map for Environmental Progress

Posted September 4, 2013 by Franz Matzner in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Congress returns from its August recess next week with a historic opportunity to make real progress on the nation’s environment and health.  Lawmakers will face critical choices on whether to advance a common-sense agenda that can help to protect our...continued

House Republicans: Riding Roughshod Over America's Air, Water, Land, Wildlife, and Public Health in the 113th Congress

Posted August 8, 2013 by Scott Slesinger in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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What’s worse than a do-nothing Congress? It’s a do-something-bad Congress. That’s what we see today from the House GOP majority. While much media attention has focused this year on congressional gridlock—how Congress hasn’t been able to pass a Farm Bill,...continued

May/June 2012 Threats to the Endangered Species Act

Posted June 29, 2012 by Elly Pepper in Saving Wildlife and WIld Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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Salmon On May 10, the House passed an amendment to the 2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 5326) that would prevent restoration of the San Joaquin River and its historic salmon runs.  Specifically, the amendment, which was offered...continued

House Bill Underfunds EPA and Interior While Bill is Loaded with Riders

Posted June 22, 2012 by Scott Slesinger in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, Reviving the World's Oceans, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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As the House of Representatives continues its onslaught on our nation’s environmental standards, the House Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment passed a funding bill for the Departments of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and related agencies that would derail...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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