Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Environmental Educators Praise Congressional Leaders for Restoring Funding for Environmental Literacy; Bush Signs Funding Bill Into Law

To: National Desk, Environment Reporter
Contact: James L. Elder, 978-526-7768; or Marialanna Lee, 202-478-6187; both for the Campaign for Environmental Literacy
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Environmental educators today praised Congressional leaders from both parties for restoring $5 million in FY 2006 funding for environmental literacy programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The funds will provide grants for teachers, schools, students, and community groups to improve awareness and knowledge about the environment.
"This funding means that environmental education programs in schools will continue to thrive and teach students about the natural world that they inhabit," said James L. Elder, director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy. "We thank those in Congress who continue to support a program that benefits both children and their environment."
This funding is intended to support existing environmental literacy programs throughout the nation, and to encourage the development of new projects and partnerships-with a specific emphasis on kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. Its ultimate goal is to create an informed society armed with the environmental knowledge necessary for making complex social and economic decisions.
The Bush Administration's FY 2006 budget initially cut funding for this environmental literacy program. Fortunately, leaders from both parties in the Senate and House of Representatives worked to restore it. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chair and ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, were instrumental in restoring funding in the Senate Appropriations bill. In the House, Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), the chair and ranking member of the Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations Subcommittee, worked together to secure funding in the House.
In September 2005, Congress also approved $9 million in funding for environmental education programs under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That puts the total amount of FY 2006 appropriations specified for environmental literacy at $14 million, matching last year's funding levels.
"These programs have proven to be effective, and their overwhelming support by citizens shows how well they work," Elder said. "We urge Congress to build on this momentum by passing a comprehensive environmental education program in 2006."
The Campaign for Environmental Literacy exists solely to empower individuals and organizations to advocate for significantly increasing the amount of federal funding dedicated to environmental literacy.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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