Green Scissors 2.0: Broad coalition launches tool to cut wasteful spending and protect environment

Green Scissors 2.0: Broad coalition launches tool to cut wasteful spending and protect environment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid congressional conflict over year-end appropriations, the Green Scissors Coalition released a new interactive database that identifies nearly 80 cuts Congress could make to save taxpayers more than$259 billion over  ten years — all while helping the environment.

The Green Scissors Coalition includes the progressive environmental group Friends of the Earth, non-partisan budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense and free-market think tank R Street Institute. For more than two decades the Green Scissors Coalition has been working to eliminate government spending that is both economically wasteful and harmful to the environment.

“Throwing free money at polluters is a ridiculous waste of resources,” said Ben Schreiber, Climate and energy program director at Friends of the Earth. “This database will allow campaigners across the political spectrum to pinpoint corporate welfare in the federal budget and mark it for termination.”

The new database identifies subsidies to cut from federal energy, agriculture, transportation, insurance, public lands and water programs that either directly or indirectly place American land, air or water resources in jeopardy. Only those programs that all three coalition members agreed upon were included in the list, guaranteeing its appeal and usefulness to all sides of the debate.

“With the end of year appropriations battles still waging and a new Congress on the horizon, releasing this information is more important than ever,” said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The Green Scissors database provides lawmakers of all political stripes an easy way to identify billions in taxpayer savings and help the environment.”

To make cutting waste and protecting the environment more accessible, the Green Scissors team describes each of the database’s items in detail, along with its one-year and ten-year cost to taxpayers. In addition to categorizing each subsidy by issue area, the site allows users to sort the data by subsidy type. As a whole, Green Scissors cuts could provide significant savings over the next ten years in each of the issue areas:

  • $136 billion from energy programs,
  • $79 billion from agriculture programs, 
  • $11.5 billion from public lands programs, 
  • $12.7 billion from water programs, and
  • $6.3 billion from transportation projects

“Big government isn’t just bad for freedom, it’s also bad for the environment,” said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute. “Excessive, wasteful spending not only destroys free markets, it also damages the air we breathe, the open spaces we cherish, and the water we drink. The conservatives who now control both houses of Congress should pay attention to ways they can both shrink government and save the Earth.”

Note to editors: Since 1994, the Green Scissors Campaign, founded by Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers for Common Sense, has been working to make environmental and fiscal responsibility priorities in Washington. The new database is available at  along with previous versions of Green Scissors reports.


Lukas Ross, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0724, [email protected]
Michael Surrusco, Taxpayers for Common Sense, 202-546-8500 ext. 102
Nicole Roeberg, R Street Institute, 202-525-5717

Related News Releases