Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Congress Prepares to Cut Bay Budget

This article today in the Chesapeake Bay Foundations blog on the woes facing their plan for beating the farmers into submission:
Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are proposing to slash funding needed to reduce runoff pollution from farms into the Chesapeake Bay.

The House Agriculture Committee released released a draft 2013 Farm Bill that would cut money for conservation programs that help farmers pay for the cost of fencing cattle out of streams, plant trees along waterways, and take other steps to create green filters to absorb pollutants.

Today (May 20, 2013) the Senate is scheduled to start debating its own version of the Farm Bill -- which also contains cuts, but not as deep as the House version.

“Bay area farmers throughout the six-state watershed have demonstrated their desire to continue to do their part for clean water,” said Will Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “But to do so, they need the federal government’s commitment to provide adequate resources. Any loss of funding will shortchange our farmers and increase costs for local citizens and governments.”

The bi-partisan Congressional delegation from the Chesapeake Bay watershed is advocating a more ecologically-friendly version of the Farm Bill, which funds a variety of agricultural support programs and is supposed to be re-approved every five years by Congress.
So how much money are we talking about here?
The two farm bills are similar in form, though the House version would cut direct spending by almost $40 billion over the next decade (if sequestration is not taken into account), according to E & E Daily. The Senate version would cut spending by $24 billion over the same time period.
24-40 Billion (with a "B") dollars?  That ought to buy a lot of fencing or trees.  Even when stretched out over the 10 year life life.  That's comparable in cost to the whole 'Bay Diet', which is estimated as costing a mere 25 Billion or so.  What's that smell?  Smells like pork to to me.

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