|Fiscal cliff puts Forest Service funding on chopping block|
|Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:06|
Cuts to the Agriculture Department, which includes the Forest Service, will total 110 billion dollars if the fiscal-cliff budget agreement, formulated a year and a half ago, is not modified by next Tuesday. The agreement does not specify programs that must be cut. But it does list cuts by department according to percentages that the fiscal cliff agreement specifies.
John Quinn says, "This would be up to the discretion of the department. We have to hope that something is done is the next several days."One great concern among landowners, loggers and local foresters in the Black Hills is that the budget for pine beetle suppression will be cut. Without a well-funded effort by the Forest Service, many believe the Black Hills may be stripped bare in the years ahead by pine beetles.
John Quinn says, "So pine beetles are extremely important in this part of the world."And equal to the concern over pine beetles is the concern about fire suppression in the Black Hills, especially considering the fact that the Black Hills are now experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades.
John Quinn says, "In terms of fire control let's hope that's an area that isn't cut. Cuts to Forest Service fire suppression is one cut to a department that affects those of us in this part of the country that we don't want to see cut." Some observers fear that once deep budget cuts are made to important departments such as the Department of Agriculture, it may be difficult or close to impossible to restore that funding in the years ahead if the recession deepens.
Al Van Zee