Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lack Of Budget Threatens Bay Buoys

Budget woes could silence bay's talking buoys
...With the boating and fishing season about to begin, the Chesapeake Conservancy sent a letter this week to NOAA administration Jane Lubchenco, asking her to save the distinctive yellow interpretive markers that guide boaters and school children in classrooms on a guided tour of Capt. John Smith's adventures on the bay more than 400 years ago.

The buoys on the Capt. John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail have a toll-free number (877-BUOY-BAY) and are linked to a website to provide water and weather conditions and commentary on cultural and historical events from Smith's time.

NOAA was planning to launch a 10th buoy this spring, but now the entire program might go silent. Three buoys already in drydock for repairs--the Patapsco, Susquehanna and upper Potomac markers--would remain on land and six others would be pulled because the $150,000 to run them isn't in the stop-gap funding measure...
As someone tangentially  affected by the lack of federal budget, I have sympathy for NOAA on this issue.  The lack of federal budget to date for 2011 is causing disruptions all over the federal bureaucracy, because of the uncertainty of what will happen.  The budget should have have been passed in 2010, but guess what, somebody kicked that can down the road.  The continuing resolutions that keep the government operating do not fund new projects (like the new buoy), nor do they implement any changes in programs that would have been made due to the budget legislation (some win some lose).

I personally value the Chesapeake Bay Information Buoys (CBIBs).  They provide an additional source of weather information that I might tap for work or pleasure (you might note that one of the buoys active in the website above is located at Gooses Reef, a few miles from my harbor).

Nevertheless, I would be willing to give up the whole CBIBs system for deficit reduction.  The US government takes in 20% of GDP in taxes, and spends 25%, borrowing the difference, ultimately from our children, and the Mexican immigrants who chose to live here in the future.  The system is unsustainable.  The Congress is currently deadlocked over whether the expected $1.65 trillion deficit will be reduced by $30 or $60 billion, the difference between 2  and 4 % of the deficit or 0.7 and 1.4% of the total budget. 

That's what I love, bold moves.

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