NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

"Green Scissors" Proposes Billions in Cuts to Federal Giveaways

August 29, 2011

Eliminating $380 billion in subsidies to industries that damage the environment could go a long way toward resolving U.S. budget challenges, a coalition of groups from across the political spectrum said in a new study, reports the Environment News Service.

The report, "Green Scissors 2011," identifies cuts to "wasteful spending that harms the environment," that would save $380 billion over five years.

  • That amounts to about a quarter of the savings the new congressional Super Committee has been charged with achieving, in half the time, the groups point out.
  • The groups propose cutting many fossil fuel, nuclear and alternative energy subsidies.
  • Other targets include giveaways of publicly-owned timber, precious metals, oil and natural gas; "poorly conceived" road projects; and a host of "questionable" water projects planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The three other organizations behind Green Scissors 2011 are the environmental group Friends of the Earth, consumer watchdog Public Citizen and free market think tank the Heartland Institute.

As proposed in the report, the federal government could end these programs and save the United States a significant amount of money:

  • Highway Trust Fund: $72 billion for general revenue transfers.
  • Crop insurance: $30 billion.
  • Oil and gas royalty relief: $4.82 billion.

The programs and policies identified in the report not only "cost Americans up front, but also create additional financial liabilities down the road and threaten our nation's fragile land, air and water," the groups warn.

Source: "'Green Scissors' Proposes Hundreds of Billions in Cuts to Federal Giveaways," Environment News Service, August 24, 2011.  Eli Lehrer, Autumn Hanna, Benjamin Schreiber and Tyson Slocum, "Green Scissors 2011: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending," Green Scissors Coalition, August 2011.


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