The failure of elected officials in Washington, D.C. to reach a deal on the “sequester” led to an automatic $85 billion cut to the federal budget on March 1st. And, unfortunately, environmental initiatives and other projects were the first to be placed on the chopping block.
Environmental programs within the United States – everything from wildlife refuges to clean air and water programs – have already been grossly underfunded for years, and the sequester cuts are only going to make things much, much worse for our environment.
One program that was gearing up to be cut less than 24 hours after sequester took effect was the Bureau of Labor Statistics green jobs survey. This program allowed the administration to track the creation and tally of jobs within the clean energy and other “green” sectors, a program that many Republicans in Washington had wanted to cut from day one.
But those cuts are just the beginning. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the mandatory cuts are going to severely hurt investment and research into lightweight automobile construction and fuel cell technology, investments that were aimed at helping increase automobile fuel efficiency and reducing our gasoline consumption. Those programs will now have to wait to receive funding.
Chu said that the cuts the Energy Department is facing would significantly slow down the country’s quest to become energy independent, a goal that 64% of Americans (from both sides of the political aisle) favor.