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Budgeting Woes Likely To Hit The National Park Service

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With the U.S. House of Representatives, if not the entire Congress, determined to shrink the federal deficit as quickly as politically feasible, expect the National Park Service to take a pretty good hit.

Figures released by the House Appropriations Committee last week identified a $51 million cut in the Park Service's budget, and when President Obama's FY12 budget proposal comes out this week it very likely will show a decrease in the agency's funding.

With an overall budget of around $2.2 billion, $51 million might not seem like much, but remember that the Park Service has a maintenance backlog of about $9 billion, so any cut could be tough to handle.

According to the World Socialist Web Site, the president's budget will reduce the Park Service's construction budget and feature "reductions in battlefield preservation grants, Native American Graves Protection Act grants, and Heritage Area funds for the National Park Service."

With that writing on the wall, at least one park advocacy group, Friends of Acadia, is trying to rally public support to lobby Congress on behalf of the parks.

Specifically, the friends group is warning that cuts in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund could jeopardize efforts to buy a 37-acre tract with the boundaries of Acadia National Park.

Friends of Acadia and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have been working together to protect 37 acres of undeveloped land on Lower Hadlock Pond, to hold them until Acadia National Park can obtain funding to acquire the lands in February 2012. These undeveloped lands are within the Acadia’s boundary and important to the park because several trails traverse the parcel and the pond is important habitat for birds and aquatic species. Additionally, the lands help preserve the watershed for Mount Desert’s water supply.

Acadia National Park needs $2.35 million in order to purchase the entire 37 acres for inclusion in the park. President Obama’s FY 2011 budget included $1.76M for this project, and all four members of Maine’s delegation supported the project. However, Congress is operating under a continuing resolution through March 4, 2011, and has not yet taken action on the FY 2011 Interior Appropriations Bill. The House of Representatives recently released its FY 2011 appropriations recommendations, reducing LWCF levels to $348M, which would jeopardize the FY 2011 funding for Lower Hadlock Pond in Acadia. Please contact your Representatives today to encourage them to fully fund LWCF, including the $1.76 million for Acadia that was in President Obama’s FY 2011 budget.

 

To write to members of Congress, please visit: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

Meanwhile, over at Defenders of Wildlife, President Rodger Schlickeisen doesn't deny the need for fiscal control in Washington. But he does question some of the choices being made.

"The public should be able to trust Congress to demonstrate a sense of fairness and rationality in the cutting process. The House leadership’s Continuing Resolution proves otherwise," he said in a statement released Saturday. "Vital programs that keep our air and water clean and protect our wildlife and public lands have been axed while massive subsidies for big international oil corporations remain in place. Where’s the sense in that?

“It’s clear that the House leadership’s budget-cutting zeal is confined to programs that they oppose on ideological grounds, including environmental protection," continued Mr. Schlickeisen. "Unwarranted taxpayer subsidies for the biggest special interests are left untouched. Stewardship of our nation’s magnificent and unique natural heritage should rank far above fiscal handouts to the favored undeserving, but apparently not in the minds of this House leadership. If they have their way, future generations will have to pay for not only an enormous budget deficit but also a lost natural legacy. ”

Among the cuts he questioned were those aimed at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, efforts to maintain water flows into California's Bay Delta, and federal protection of gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains.

“Do the American people want cuts? Yes," said the Defenders president. "Decimation of our precious environment and natural resources? No. Clearly, the new House majority is using the Continuing Resolution as an opening salvo in an extremely broad and dangerous attack on our country’s most important environmental safeguards. We can only expect the proposals to get worse when the measure comes before the full House.”

Comments

OK folks, enough thread drift. We're shutting off the comments to this post as they're veering too far away from the issue at hand and getting too partisan.


Well Rick B, when the Party of Yes is the Party of Corzine of bankrupt MF Global and the missing $1.2 Billion of investor funds who a bragging VP Bieden preened that the administration went to him first to solve the country's economic problems.  This is not the exception here, Rick, it's the pattern.  In the history of mankind there has never been two years of spending (borrowed) money than by the Party of Yes (we can).  Of course, if one is the receiver of all the bounty and cycles just a portion back into the Party of Yes coffers, everyone in the party is just peachy.  Always has been some cronyism going on but what has been happening is way past spending on steroids but spending designed for a particular result and it's not prosperity for the country.   I'm not much anymore on just debating for the sake of venting.  It's so beyond that.  So, yes Rick G, I am a part of the loyal opposition.


Well, perhaps the openly avowed and easily seen stance of the "loyal opposition" that they will just say no and totally shank the country if that is what it takes to defeat the sitting President?

I too, wish I could only plant a seed of understanding.


not that anon:  Look deep and answer me the question why the President and the Democratic Congress have not passed a budget (Dem. House, Senate, White House for two years)?  I mean motivations here and not the public consumption lingo (Bush's fault or something similar).  Is the dominate economic and military force in the world to be the Communist Chinese a good trade off for more wilderness designated at this point in time? Time for dismissing what you might call alarmist rants are past but evidently not for playing golf or shooting hoops for your presumed candidate.  If more wilderness is your only issue and don't consider the growing collossial catastrophe on our door step, I can only wish I could plant a seed of understanding as to our situation.  


Anon at 12:36 - don't know which Constitution you go by but the U.S. Constitution clearly places the responsibility of passing a budget on the U.S. Congress - not on the President. The President only proposes a budget - which President Obama has never failed to do - and on time.


They might fall over dead of shock if there ever is one submitted.  I could be wrong but there hasn't been a budget since he (OB) came into office .  Supposed to part of the job he isn't doing according to the constitution.


Coyote,
I would love to see your math.  Tax receipts in the year of the tax rate cuts were 1.8 trillion.  5 years later, they were 2.5 trillion.  Can you explain to me how that equates to a decrease in revenue?


Anon: If you have a Cancer it's usually preferably to cut it out.  The images of these Black Friday Shoppers come to mind.  Just imagine what it'd be like if they were spending other peoples money.  I guess we know that already, don't we.


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