Industry-specific reviews of government subsidies have been much more common than analyses examining several natural resource sectors at once. Yet there is a great deal of overlap across sectors. Indeed, it is the combination of support provided by multiple levels of government and government programs, across numerous natural resource areas, that can accelerate resource depletion, pollution, or habitat loss in particular regions.
This report is the latest of a string of assessments produced over the past 18 years to identify and quantify federal subsidies that harm the environment as well as waste prodigious amounts of money. The exact coalition producing the reports varies a bit year-to-year, but the Green Scissors Campaign has always been a collaboration between budget and environmental groups aimed at eliminating wasteful spending that is harmful to the environment.
This year's Green Scissors report offers lawmakers and the public a starting place for spending reductions, including cuts to discretionary, mandatory and tax spending that also increase environmental protection. Perhaps even more importantly, Green Scissors 2011 offers a roadmap for how Congress can bridge the gap between ideologically diverse perspectives to begin moving towards deficit reduction in a productive fashion.
Adapted from the report's introduction:
Since its inception fifteen years ago, the Green Scissors Campaign has fought to make environmental and fiscal responsibility a priority in Washington. By eliminating subsidies and programs that both harm the environment and waste taxpayer dollars, the federal government can protect our natural resources while reducing the growth of government spending and making a significant dent in the national debt. Green Scissors 2010 identifies more than $200 billion in wasteful government subsidies that are damaging to the environment and harmful to consumers.
The Tasmanian forestry industries has received more than A$630 million in direct and indirect subsidies from 1997 to 2008. The study also found that despite the huge taxpayer funded subsides, which were intended to create jobs, that there have been steady job losses over the same period. The authors advocate a commercially-based industry, and that Forestry Tasmania deliver a commercial rate of return.
Leveling the Playing Field for Recycling: A Policy Report on Virgin Material Subsidies from the National Recycling Coalition
Prepared with the National Policy Workgroup of the National Recycling Coalition. September 1999. Analysis identifies and quantifies a number of direct and indirect subsidies that put recycled materials at a disadvantage to virgin materials.