WBEZ | sequester http://www.wbez.org/tags/sequester Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en With FAA, Democrats lose the sequester battle http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/faa-democrats-lose-sequester-battle-106870 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7216_AP118705097809-scr.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Sequester cuts caused travel delays at airports across the country before Friday's congressional votes. (AP/File)" /></div><p>Not that Democrats have ever been particularly good negotiators, but it&rsquo;s possible President Barack Obama&rsquo;s namby pamby adjudicating may have rubbed off on them, to bad effect.</p><p>Just last Friday, finally given a chance to show their courage in the sequester battle, the Democrats blinked &mdash; hard. by agreeing to a bill that allows the Federal Aviation Administration to bypass, at least for now, sequester-mandated cuts, the Democrats actually agreed to a strategy that basically hands the budget battle victory to the Republicans.</p><p>Do you remember the sequester? It was supposed to be so damn bad both sides in Washington were going to be forced back to the negotiating table, bipartisanship would have no choice but to emerge from the bitter pill of automatic cuts to the federal budget, without regard to need or politics: Head Start, the military &mdash; every favorite program was going to be guillotined.</p><p>When the Republicans didn&rsquo;t fall for that and allowed the sequester to go into effect, the White House &mdash; which unconvincingly disavows the sequester as its idea &mdash; went on a campaign to warn about the hardships the cuts would cause. Things were going to get so bad, we were all going to be really sorry. And, in fact, things were going to get so terribly bad, the people would rise up and blame the GOP and then the Dems would have the upper hand and things would get fixed, probably.</p><p>There&rsquo;s still a <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/sequester" target="_blank">White House page</a> with many dire warnings such as this: &ldquo;Harmful automatic budget cuts &mdash; known as the sequester &mdash; threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform. These cuts will make it harder to grow our economy and create jobs by affecting our ability to invest in important priorities like education, research and innovation, public safety, and military readiness.&rdquo;</p><p>Except it hasn&rsquo;t happened that way. Not that the sequester isn&rsquo;t slicing and dicing: It is. But the very nature of the cuts means the pain is being administered slowly, over a huge swath of programs, and most people haven&rsquo;t seen a big change in their lives post-sequester.</p><p>Still, the damage is real. In Illinois alone, the <a href="http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/sequester-cuts-illinois/309/" target="_blank">sequester affects</a> funding for teachers, funding for special education for kids with disabilities, work study jobs, Head Start programs, child care, vaccines, nutrition programs for seniors, mental health programs, cuts to the FBI, emergency responders, veteran services, senior meals, housing voucher programs, AIDS and HIV services and many more programs.</p><p>So you&rsquo;d think once the cuts actually started to squeeze people in a noticeable way &mdash; like say, hours long delays at the nation&rsquo;s airports because of furloughed air traffic controllers &mdash; that the Dems would turn around and say, &ldquo;See? This is what we mean. And it&rsquo;s going to get worse.&rdquo;</p><p>And then, you know, maybe the Republicans would at least have to explain their position.</p><p>But no. In fact, not at all. The Democrats completed caved. The <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/national_world&amp;id=9079898" target="_blank">vote wasn&rsquo;t even close</a>: unanimous in the Senate and 361 to 41 in the House.</p><p>The Dems agreed to a Republican bill that allows the FAA to shift funds to keep air traffic controllers working, and to keep travelers from being inconvenienced. And in doing so, the Democrats have given the GOP a blueprint on how to get around any other cuts to favored programs they&rsquo;d like to alleviate.</p><p>In other words, the Democrats have given away whatever leverage they might have had had &mdash; especially because Obama has agreed to sign this bill, as is his wont, without concessions (like, say, Head Start in exchange for the air traffic controllers).</p><p>Let me be even clearer: The Republicans have figured out how to save programs important to their relatively privileged constituencies. The Democrats have completely sold their constituencies &mdash; especially the poor, young people, and women &mdash; down the river.</p><p>Obama and the Democrats are back out there now <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/congress-sends-obama-bill-to-end-delays/2013/04/26/27f94706-ae81-11e2-a986-eec837b1888b_story.html" target="_blank">talking</a> about ending the sequester, how it&rsquo;s unfair to this and that program, and that the Republicans need to come back to the negotiating table. But why would be the GOP ever do that?</p><p>The Republicans are enjoying the sequester. It is, after all, what they wanted: cuts to government programs. Sure, they would have preferred more say in what to cut, what to preserve. But in the long run &mdash; in terms of goals &mdash; the sequester, which both parties signed on to as a strategy, is actually doing what the Republicans &mdash; and only the Republicans &mdash; wanted.</p></p> Sun, 28 Apr 2013 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/faa-democrats-lose-sequester-battle-106870 Tracking the sequester’s impact on Illinois' poor and working class http://www.wbez.org/news/tracking-sequester%E2%80%99s-impact-illinois-poor-and-working-class-106784 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" div="" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/throughwaters/" http:="" photos="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/afford.jpg" throughwaters="" title="(Flickr/ ThroughWaters)" www.flickr.com="" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89353742&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>Sequester causes longer waits for low-income housing</strong></p><p>Sheryl Sieling is the Director of the Housing Choice Voucher Program at Cook County Housing Authority, a program provides rental assistance for low income families in Cook County suburbs.</p><p>The program doesn&rsquo;t have enough resources to provide rental assistance to everyone who qualifies. So they keep a waiting list. But since the sequester, very few people are getting taken off that waiting list and put into housing.</p><p>When Seiling hears people talk about the sequester, they are usually most worried about longer waits at airports. But she says that doesn&rsquo;t compare to the wait her clients have had.</p><p>&ldquo;Everyone who is on the waiting list right now has been waiting since 2001,&rdquo; said Seiling.</p><p>Sieling said in lieu of assistance, clients live with family or in substandard housing. She mentioned one woman who has three kids and has bounced from one homeless shelter to another.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t imagine how they function. I can&rsquo;t imagine the stress,&rdquo; said Seiling.</p><p>She said when families want to check on their status, there is really only one thing she can tell them: &ldquo;We have to just keep waiting,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89193988&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>U.S. airports are now seeing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780">furlough days</a> because of the sequester. But some social service agencies felt the pinch weeks ago.</p><p dir="ltr">Over the next few days WBEZ will bring you portraits of how poor and working class people, and the agencies that serve them, are being impacted by the government spending cuts.</p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>Penny pinching at the Public Defender&#39;s office</strong></h2><p dir="ltr">When I first reached Jonathan Hawley, he was driving around trying to find a backup battery because his office&rsquo;s old one died. Picking up computer batteries is not normally part of the job for the Chief Federal Public Defender for the Central district Illinois. But because of the sequester, Hawley had to layoff three people, including his computer specialist.</p><p>Another problem: The computer battery cost $500.</p><p>&ldquo;We have nothing budgeted for unexpected expenses,&rdquo; said Hawley.&nbsp; &ldquo;So whether it be a computer breaking down, a chair breaking. Any penny we spend that we cannot currently predict, has to come out of the pay of the employees here.&rdquo;<br />Eventually Hawley found an extra battery at another office.</p><p>He said for now, his public defenders office is actually lucky. They have 10 planned furlough days compared to some other public defenders offices, that have as much as 30. But he said if an expensive case came in the door, where had to pay for an expert or cover travel, his office could easily end up in the same situation.</p><p>&ldquo;Which is sort of self defeating,&rdquo; said Hawley. &ldquo;You get a case that needs extraordinary resources, the only way to do that is to reduce your staff, which is one of your key resources.&rdquo;</p><p>Hawley said when a public defender takes furlough days the entire court system slows down. He also said the U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s office, the people who he goes up against in court every day, don&rsquo;t have any furlough days scheduled.</p><p>&ldquo;If you are talking about a level playing field, it doesn&rsquo;t sound very level,&rdquo; said Hawley.</p><p>Without a capable public defenders office, Hawley said the court will be forced to pass the cases to court assigned private attorneys, which he said could cost taxpayers more in the long run.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89052536&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>Cuts to Senior Services</strong></h2><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Seniors%20and%20Sequester_130423_sh.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Henry County Senior Center says the sequester cuts will hurt both its workers and the people it serves. (Flickr/Rosie O'Beirne)" />Casandra Schmoll is the executive director of the Henry County Senior Center in Western Illinois, near the Iowa border.</p><p dir="ltr">When she first got the news that the sequester meant she&rsquo;d have to cut 9 percent of her budget she sat down with a big spreadsheet and tried to figure out what cut would be the least painful.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They told me to go from the least important person to the most important person,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">In terms of day to day services, she decided she was the least important. &nbsp;She gave herself furlough days. But that wasn&rsquo;t enough.<br /><br />Her employees make minimum wage, living paycheck to paycheck. Cuts in hours would be hard for them. Not to mention the seniors who depend on them everyday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It was the toughest &nbsp;decision I have ever made in my entire life,&rdquo; Schmoll said.</p><p dir="ltr">In the end, she decided to cut back their senior transportation services. Before the sequester transportation services ended at 3 p.m., now they end at 1 p.m. That means fewer seniors getting rides to doctor appointments and grocery stores.</p><p dir="ltr">They&rsquo;ve also cut back on Friday meal delivery. In two of the towns they serve, the senior center will skip delivering meals every other Friday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Some people, that&rsquo;s the only hot meal they&rsquo;ll get till Monday again,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">As difficult as the cuts have been, Schmoll says it&rsquo;s given her a chance to see some real kindness. Neighbors help deliver meals and some drivers transport seniors beyond the time they&rsquo;re being paid.</p><p dir="ltr">But what has touched Schmoll the most is the older women who have been donating an extra dollar, despite their own tough financial situation, for the meals they eat.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a> and share signs of the sequester in your community.</em></p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/tracking-sequester%E2%80%99s-impact-illinois-poor-and-working-class-106784 The air show won’t go on in Gary http://www.wbez.org/news/air-show-won%E2%80%99t-go-gary-106436 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/60thAF_Anniv-ThunderBirds-173.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Northwest Indiana is losing its most popular summer event: the South Shore Air Show in Gary.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />Due to federal sequestration cuts the the Navy&rsquo;s popular Blue Angels and the Air Force&rsquo;s Thunderbirds have been temporarily grounded this year. That news already dampened enthusiasm for Chicago&rsquo;s Air and Water Show in August, though the show above Navy Pier is still scheduled to occur.</p><p>But organizers in Northwest Indiana had to pull the plug on the entire South Shore Air Show. Thousands typically line the southern shore of Lake Michigan for the annual event, which was set to enter its 14th year this July</p><p>In addition to the high-profile precision aerial acts the show usually features other military aircrafts such as a C-130 cargo plane, F-22, F-16s and F-18s.&nbsp;</p><p>Already, more than 30 air shows across the country have been canceled this year and Gary now joins the list.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the most popular summer event in Northern Indiana, north of Indianapolis,&rdquo; organizer Speros Batistatos, of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, told WBEZ Tuesday. &ldquo;Trying to do this event under the best circumstances is difficult. Trying to replace it with something else with only a couple of months to go, is impossible.&rdquo;</p><p>The Navy and U.S. Air Force often use these air shows to recruit new members.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the governments&rsquo; first line marketing contact in recruiting. One of the reasons why you put the Thunderbirds on the road or the Golden Knights or other military acts is so that the young people of this great country can see and say &ldquo;Hey, you know what, maybe the military might be a viable option for my career, my training and my education,&rdquo; Batistatos said. &ldquo;Fundamentally, it&rsquo;s very silly that at a time when we need more military recruits, we need a stronger military presence, to ground the very marketing core of what we do to me makes no business sense whatsoever.&rdquo;</p><p>And while there are civilian air acts, such as the popular Lima Lima aerial stunt team, Batistatos says there&rsquo;s not enough of them to create an entire afternoon show. Batistatos said cancelling the show was not an easy decision to make.</p><p>&ldquo;We have spent countless hours considering the effect of sequestration on our air show sponsorship opportunities, programming, attendance, and the overall financial viability of producing an all civilian aircraft event. It is with a heavy heart, that we have decided that despite our best efforts, we must cancel this year&rsquo;s show,&rdquo; Batistatos said. &ldquo;This was a very tough decision, but when options were weighed, this was viewed to be in the best interest of all participating parties of the air show, from spectators to sponsors.&rdquo;</p><p>While the air show could be seen all along the lakefront in Gary, from various vantage points, the prime viewing spot was near Marquette Park in Gary&rsquo;s Miller Beach neighborhood. Therefore, the city of Gary will lose thousands in parking fees without those visitors, along with the loss of revenue from the selling of food and souvenirs.&nbsp;</p><p>In all, Batistatos says the region will lose about $8 million over a three day weekend in July.</p><p>Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was not happy about the canceled show.</p><p>&ldquo;We are very sorry that the air show had to be canceled. We will see more casualties that are a direct result of parties&#39; failure to work together,&rdquo; Freeman-Wilson said in a written statement. &ldquo;In the end, this has an adverse effect on communities that are least able to withstand the impact -- cities like Gary.&rdquo;</p><p><b id="internal-source-marker_0.7531661451794207" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Michael Puente is a reporter with WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" style="text-decoration: initial;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@MikePuenteNews</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></b></p></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 17:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/air-show-won%E2%80%99t-go-gary-106436 At Argonne, Obama calls for Energy Security Trust http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/argonne-obama-calls-energy-security-trust-106128 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP80880711566.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., Friday, March 15, 2013. Obama traveled to the Chicago area to deliver a speech to promote his energy policies. (AP)" />President Barack Obama visited <a href="http://www.wbez.org/venues/argonne-national-laboratory">Argonne National Laboratory</a> Friday (<a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2013/03/obama_at_ar.html">full text of his speech here</a>) to tour its research facilities and call on Congress to flag oil and gas money for research that could help wean the nation&rsquo;s vehicles off oil.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The idea is a clearer vision of the Energy Security Trust he outlined in his most recent State of the Union address. Obama proposed diverting $2 billion over 10 years from oil and gas leases on federal land to pay for clean fuel research.</div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Citing an <a href="http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm#report">Environmental Protection Agency report released Friday</a>, Obama recounted recent gains in fuel efficiency. The President responded to recent price spikes at the gas pump, touting <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/autos-must-average-545-mpg-by-2025-new-epa-standards-are-expected-to-say/2012/08/28/2c47924a-f117-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html?hpid=z4">a jump in fuel-economy standards</a>&nbsp;under his administration and a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/autos-must-average-545-mpg-by-2025-new-epa-standards-are-expected-to-say/2012/08/28/2c47924a-f117-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html?hpid=z4">downward trend in CO<sub>2</sub> emissions from vehicles since 2005</a>.</p><p>Argonne is a major research center for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/54-mpg-argonne-natl-lab-wins-grant-fuel-efficiency-research-90433">fuel efficiency</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-19/changing-gears-will-advanced-batteries-charge-midwest-economy-93278">advanced batteries</a>. The Department of Energy&nbsp;recently&nbsp;<a href="http://energy.gov/articles/team-led-argonne-national-lab-selected-doe-s-batteries-and-energy-storage-hub">named the lab a national hub</a>&nbsp;for advanced energy storage technology.</p><p>Though the Energy Security Trust idea was hatched from a bipartisan team with support from business leaders, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/us/politics/obamas-2-billion-plan-to-replace-fossil-fuels-in-cars.html?hp&amp;_r=0">its passage through Congress remains uncertain</a>. Securing America&rsquo;s Future Energy, the group <a href="http://www.secureenergy.org/policy/national-strategy-energy-security-2013">that drafted the policy report</a>, notes that federal funding for energy technology research and development in 2012 was less than half what it was in the late 1970s.</p><p>The plan attempts to bridge a political gap between Obama&rsquo;s professed &ldquo;all-of-the-above&rdquo; energy policy, which involves ramping up fossil fuel production, and environmentalists who expect decisive action on climate change. In lieu of comprehensive legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions, Obama positioned the Trust as part of his economic strategy. It could also potentially supplement clean energy research currently <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/future-of-american-aid-to-clean-energy.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">suffering from the expiration of stimulus funds</a>&nbsp;and the mandatory spending cuts known as the sequester.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83448147" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Obama addressed the effects of the sequester on basic scientific research. He joked that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/sequester-would-cut-funding-environment-and-energy-105774">the sweeping budget cuts</a> could be to blame for a lack of chairs in the audience, but also said the cuts &ldquo;don&rsquo;t trim the fat; they cut into muscle and into bone.&rdquo; This week Eric Isaacs, Argonne&rsquo;s director, co-authored <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/03/the-sequester-is-going-to-devastate-us-science-research-for-decades/273925/">an article in <em>The Atlantic</em></a><em> </em>decrying deep cuts that he said would cancel all new research initiatives for at least two years.</p><p>&ldquo;In a time where every month you&rsquo;ve got to replace your smartphone, imagine what that means when China, Germany and Japan are pumping up basic research and we&rsquo;re just sitting there doing nothing,&rdquo; Obama said Friday.</p><p>Environmentalists also traveled to southwest suburban Lemont to protest&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/environmentalists-protest-keystone-xl-pipeline-105576">the controversial Keystone XL pipeline</a>. The polarizing fossil fuel project did not come up during the President&rsquo;s address.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/8559582711/in/photostream/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/argonne%20protesters%20350.org_.jpg" style="height: 456px; width: 610px;" title="Environmentalists gather outside Argonne National Laboratory, where President Barack Obama was giving an energy policy address, to protest the Keystone XL pipeline project. (Courtesy 350.org)" /></a></div></p> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 17:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/argonne-obama-calls-energy-security-trust-106128 Sequester would cut funding for environment and energy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/sequester-would-cut-funding-environment-and-energy-105774 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mick_chgo/7175912324/in/photostream/" target="_blank"><img alt="" as="" class="image-original_image" in="" kosanovich="" milosh="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cut-(as-in-budget)-flowers-by-Milosh-Kosanovich-via-Flickr.jpg" title="Flickr/Milosh Kosanovich" via="" /></a></p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/127155936/Illinois-Impact">A White House report</a> detailing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/infographic-how-illinois-would-be-affected-sequester-105749">the impacts of cuts scheduled to take effect March 1</a> if Congress does not avert <a href="http://www.wbez.org/results?s=fiscal%20cliff">the sequester (part of the &quot;fiscal cliff&quot;)</a> named environmental funding among the hardest hit in Illinois:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Illinois would lose about $6.4 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Illinois could lose another $974,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Illinois EPA declined to comment on the looming budget reductions.</p><p>Congress appears <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/6-degrees-sequestration/sequester-fiscal-cliff-we-will-go-over">unlikely to strike deal that would avoid</a> the mandatory spending cuts totaling $85 billion, to say nothing of the second, albeit much smaller, cuts scheduled for March 27. The cuts are meant to help close a $4 trillion budget deficit.</p><p>While the belt-tightening measures on track to begin Friday amount in aggregate to roughly 2.5 percent of all federal spending, <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/files/2-26-13bud.pdf">a report released Tuesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</a> points out that the sequester will slash more than twice that proportion (5.1 percent) from discretionary non-military programs. (Defense programs actually have it worse, looking at about 7.7 percent cutbacks.)</p><p>Nationwide environmental programs <a href="http://ens-newswire.com/2013/02/24/sequester-spending-cuts-will-hurt-the-environment/">will take a big hit</a>. The National Science Foundation will issue almost 1,000 fewer research grants, and several thousand research personnel could lose their jobs as a result of cuts to The National Institutes of Health. Many national parks will face partial or full closures.</p><p>The sequester would slow down oil and gas permitting, due to cutbacks at the Department of the Interior and other agencies with a hand in that process. Permitting for solar and wind power plants on federal lands could also slow down.</p><p>The cuts would affect energy efficiency, too, <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0226/Federal-spending-cuts-How-will-the-sequester-affect-energy">perhaps counting 1,200 home weatherization professionals</a> among those laid off as a result of the sequester.</p></p> Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/sequester-would-cut-funding-environment-and-energy-105774