The Council of States wants 2.3 billion for the environment

The Council of States wants 2.3 billion for the environment
The Council of States wants 2.3 billion for the environment
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Keystone-SDA

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May 28, 2024 – 1:47 p.m.

(Keystone-ATS) The Council of States wants more resources for environmental protection. In addition to the 2.2 billion francs planned by the Federal Council for the period 2025 to 2028, it voted on Tuesday, by 26 votes to 16, 100 million more for forests.

These additional funds are intended to finance measures to adapt forests to climate change, said Beat Rieder (Center/VS) for the commission. Daniel Fässler (Center/AI) recalled the importance of forests against natural dangers, as a wood resource, CO2 storage or simply recreational areas.

Thierry Burkart (PLR/AG) does not deny the need for measures for forests. But the financial situation of the Confederation has radically changed and the cantons should do more in this area, noted the president of the PLR ​​who is opposed to this additional credit, as is the Federal Council. In vain.

The total amount of these subsidies, i.e. 2.3 billion francs, is intended to support measures taken to preserve the environment, conserve biodiversity and protect the population against natural dangers. This funding continues for four years the program agreements with the cantons which have existed since 2008.

Floods, forests, purification

The areas of flood protection (481 million), forests (now 551 million francs), wastewater treatment plants (450 million) and nature and landscape (384 million) take up the lion’s share of the planned credits.

This is followed by protection against natural dangers (153 million), water revitalization (146 million), protection against noise (102 million), wild animals and hunting (32 million), as well as the sanitation of residual flows. (8000000).

The left failed to obtain an additional 40 million for the revitalization of waters so that the Confederation and the cantons achieve their environmental objectives. Beat Rieder stressed that this envelope is not reduced.

The government plans a credit significantly higher than that of the previous period (300 million) concerning support for wastewater treatment plants (450 million). A much higher number of projects are planned for the period 2025-2028 than during the previous period, including several large projects in German-speaking Switzerland.

The credit for wild animals and hunting now provides a focus on the wolf, in the form of financial aid to the cantons for monitoring the populations of this canid and for the implementation of measures enabling their management.

Contracts with the cantons

These financial resources are used within the framework of contracts concluded between the Confederation and the cantons for a period of four years. In these program agreements, the Confederation negotiates objectives in different environmental areas with the cantons.

The environmental commitment appropriations have so far been submitted to Parliament with the budget message. Given that they are around 2 billion francs, they must now be debated on the basis of a separate message, like the multi-annual financial orders on agriculture or training and research.

In the vote on the whole, the project was adopted unanimously. The National has yet to decide.

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