Anti-Environment Riders

The major environmental battle in 1999 was the fight to strip several anti-environment riders attached to the Interior Appropriations bill by Republican leaders in the Senate. These riders are a backdoor attack on our environment and an attempt to protect special interests profiting from our public lands at the expense of taxpayers. Special interests are using these riders to circumvent the normal legislative process and avoid public scrutiny.

As a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership, I fought to delete these anti-environment riders when the bill was before the Senate. With the support of President Clinton, we were able to eliminate or water down many of the most harmful riders. Unfortunately, due to the vigorous lobbying of special interests, we were unable to delete all of these riders. Our experiences with these riders demonstrates the difficult challenges facing environmental advocates given the composition of the current Congress. The most controversial riders included the following: