Capitol Hill will be busy this week, as Congress is forced to make a decision on raising the nation's debt ceiling. The potential budget cuts could impact environmental agencies and shale excavation. (Photo: AP)
With just over a week until Congress is forced to decide whether or not they will raise the debt ceiling, the White House has provided media outlets with a state-by-state list of what they project the potential impact to be if the sequester is enacted on March 1. If their estimates hold true, environmental agencies and shale excavation could take a large hit.
According to the White House memo, “Pennsylvania would lose about $5,705,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.”
With the recent uproar about the effects of drilling on local water supplies, this could have an immediate impact on Pennsylvanians across the state. What’s most staggering is that this estimate accounts for this year alone.
In addition to water and air protection, the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation would also lose grant money, forcing many scientific projects to be delayed or stopped all together.
While the impact of such a cut would go beyond drilling, it could potentially stop research on the effects of the development on public health, something the DEP has recently come under fire for.
Many of the potential cuts may leave environmentalists fuming, but one section of the White House memo is undoubtedly in the favor of anti-drilling activists.
“Development of oil and gas on Federal lands and waters would slow down, due to cuts in programs at the Department of the Interior (DOI) and other agencies that plan for new projects, conduct environmental reviews, issue permits and inspect operations,” said the White House, focusing on the lost jobs that would result in a sudden decrease in new drill sites across the nation.
“Leasing of new Federal lands for future development would also be delayed, with fewer resources available for agencies to prepare for and conduct lease sales,” said the White House.
The White House memo often points a finger at the Republicans in Congress who the White House wants to “compromise and meet the President in the middle.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told MSN that she believed there was little hope to dodge the cuts "unless the Republicans are willing to compromise and do a balanced approach." Republicans feel otherwise.
"I think the American people are tired of the blame game," said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H, told MSN. The Republicans have often been blamed by the Obama administration.
"The White House needs to spend less time explaining to the press how bad the sequester will be and more time actually working to stop it," Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, told MSN.
Republican Governor Dave Heineman of Nebraska told the New York Times that he believes, “The White House is engaged in scare tactic. Every governor in this country knows how to cut their budget by 2 or 3 percent, and the White House ought to learn how to do it.”