INDIAN LAKE - Rep. John M. McHugh has announced the Omnibus Appropriations legislation that passed the House of Representatives included funding for three acid rain monitoring programs that directly benefit New York State, particularly in areas such as the Adirondacks.
Congressman McHugh led the House effort to restore funding for acid rain programs, including fighting against proposed cuts. Two of the programs were in jeopardy after the original budget for Fiscal Year 2009 proposed to completely eliminate funding.
"This was an important victory in the continued fight against acid rain, which has historically had a severe and detrimental impact on large parts of the United States, particularly in New York. We need to continue to take action to understand and fight this problem, which these three acid rain programs do. I am extremely pleased that the House carefully considered the tremendous value these monitoring programs have, and chose to include funding in the Omnibus legislation that funds the rest of the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2009," said McHugh. "I will continue to fight to ensure that this critical funding is included when we begin to consider Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations over the coming months."
"Once again, those who love the Adirondacks owe a debt of gratitude to Congressman John McHugh. For the second consecutive year, he has led the effort to defeat plans to cut the federal budget for acid rain research in the Adirondack Park," said Brian Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council, a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting the park's ecological health and wild character. "Like he did in last year's budget debate, Congressman McHugh led a bipartisan effort to restore the funding in the House of Representatives. He was instrumental in keeping these vital, long-term research programs alive through the end of the Bush Administration. New Yorkers can now point to nearly three decades of uninterrupted scientific information on the impact of acid rain on the Adirondack Park's air, soil and water. This is the proof we have needed to compel the federal government to continue cutting air pollution. As EPA's recent progress report shows, those pollution cuts are producing real results. These monitoring programs are measuring those results."
McHugh organized members of the House of Representatives to request that the Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET), Temporary Integrated Monitoring of Ecosystems (TIME), and Long-Term Monitoring (LTM) programs continue to receive their historic levels of funding of $3.9 million for CASTNET and $800,000 combined for TIME/LTM. The Committee on Appropriations allotted $3,951,000 in funding for CASTNET and $720,000 combined for TIME/LTM in the FY 2009 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. Additionally, unlike last year, the bill specifically appropriates funds for these programs.
Acid rain, which is principally caused by nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), destroys forests, kills fish, and poisons water. Furthermore, scientific studies have identified a relationship between the elevated levels of the fine particles that cause acid rain and increased illness and premature death from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis. Established in 1987, CASTNET is the nation's primary source for atmospheric data on dry acidic deposition, rural ground-level ozone and other forms of atmospheric pollution that enter the environment as particles and gases, such as mercury. Currently, the CASTNET program is at 86 sites in over 40 states, including three sites in New York.
TIME and LTM are the only extensive networks in the Eastern United States that evaluate the status and potential recovery of sensitive ecosystems, which are particularly vulnerable to further damage from acid rain. However, the Administration's current Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposes to eliminate these critical programs, Catskill Parks.
The Omnibus Appropriations legislation will now be sent to the Senate and then the president for approval.
For more information on acid rain in the Adirondacks, contact John Sheehan with the Adirondack Council at 432-1770.