What will $600 billion in federal discretionary spending cuts mean for our region's air, water, wildlife and natural resources? Unless Congress acts to restore fiscal and moral balance to our budget by protecting the programs that benefit all Americans, we'll find out the hard way.
Those automatic cuts are now scheduled to hit in January 2013 after Congress' Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction couldn't reach a deal to make the same amount of cuts in a more careful manner. It was a missed opportunity to close the federal deficit by cutting more than $100 billion in wasteful tax subsidies to industries such as oil and gas that have seen record profits.
Our members of Congress still have a chance to do the right thing. Here's hoping they can reach a bipartisan budget deal that closes the deficit while protecting the 1 percent of the federal budget devoted to clean air, clean water, and healthy populations of wildlife.