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Will Congress Let Trump Chainsaw Most Of Our Sustainable Programs?

2017 President Trump proposed budget includes some major cuts to some of the most sustainable programs that Obama administration has offered during and before 2016. Here are those that most affect us, aquaculturists, researchers, students, and consumers: 

Department of Agriculture
Proposed budget: $17.9 billion
Total cuts: $4.7 billion

Ag ain’t just cows and corn. The agency also manages the nation’s national forests and research that maintain the health of food-growing ecosystems.

Trump’s budget makes a recurring theme of eliminating overlap between similar programs at different agencies. Remember his promise to “budget” Interior’s wildfire fighting “responsibly?” That probably means he and Mulvaney (but just Mulvaney) noticed that the Department of Agriculture has a similar program. The budget allows $2.4 billion for both suppression (fighting fires that break out) and preparedness (off-season work to clear brush and ensure any fires are somewhat manageable).

The budget says its allotment is a full-funding, based on a 10-year average for wildfire fighting. The problem there is, fighting wildfires has been going way over budget for about that long. And with climate change—boo!—desiccating forests, that budget is probably going to burn away earlier and earlier each season.

In another effort to reduce redundancy (this time with EPA clean water programs), Trump’s budget cuts $498 million from the Ag Department’s Water and Wastewater loan and grant program that provides money to rural communities looking to avoid drinking pesticides, lead, and raw sewage.
And another non-surprise, Trump’s budget calls for unspecified cuts to the National Forest Service’s programs for acquiring new property.

Department of Commerce
Proposed budget: $7.8 billion
Total cuts: $1.5 billion

Commerce? What does commerce have to do with the environment? Ever heard of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? It is the nation’s primary source of weather data and forecasting. It also does some research, which, perhaps all too predictably, Trump throttles for dollars.

Trump spared NOAA’s core business: the geostationary and polar satellites that monitor weather, and the National Weather Service itself, which turns those satellite observations into the forecasts that wreck your weekend plans.

The outlook is cloudy with a chance of $250 million in cuts for NOAA’s grant and loans programs, which fund independent scientists doing coastal or marine surveys. Those cuts will affect significantly Sea Grant operations, which provide funding for research on sustainable ways to do business on America’s shores.

Joel Achenbach published on March 16 in The Washington Post an article titled:

"President Trump’s budget calls for a seismic disruption in government-funded medical and scientific research. The cuts are deep and broad." To read the article click HERE.

Another way to look at the Trump's offered budget is via this nice video:

 

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