Tuesday Roundup: Budget Cuts
The same holds true for states. Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada had the highest teen birth rates. All but Arizona and Nevada are among the poorest states, the paper reports.
• Kentucky tomato grower extraordinaire Bill Best defends the productivity of heirloom seeds — and gives a history of four of the state’s best tomatoes.
• The federal budget deal cut $38 billion in spending. But where?
Details are tricking out. Congress cut funding to the United Nations by $377 million. The federal Environmental Protection Agency would be snipped by 16%, or $1.6 billion.
More will be know later today. But here is a list of cuts put together by the New York Times. Notice that various agriculture programs took hefty whacks. The Farm Service Agency was cut $154 million. Rural Development dropped $40 million. The dairy subsidy, however, lost nothing.
Also, wolves would be removed from the endangered species list, a rider put on by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.
• Maybe natural gas isn’t as “clean” as we thought.
The New York Times reports that two new studies “try to poke holes in the clean-and-green reputation of natural gas. They suggest that the rush to develop the nation’s vast, unconventional sources of natural gas is logistically impractical and likely to do more to heat up the planet than mining and burning coal.”
This is a continuation of an ongoing battle over shale gas development in the U.S. (The AP has a good rundown of how a battle over the environmental effects of gas drilling has spread across the country.) One studies was written by an opponent of natural gas drilling in New York.
The studies find that trillions of cubic feet of methane leak during the process of drilling and transmission. The use of “fracking” techniques increase the leakage, according to one study. Methane is a very efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere, making it a very potent greenhouse gas. The greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is twice that of coal, when comparing energy production, according to one of the studies.
• We are listening right now to WMMT, 87.5 on your dial in Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia, so it is cool to also be reading about the community radio station in The New York Times. The point of the story is cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (a target of some in Congress) would imperil community radio stations.
“If that station were to be shut down for lack of funding, it would really, really hurt this
town,” said Whitesburg Mayor James Wiley Craft. The Times reports:
“They fill a void that commercial stations cannot fill,” said G. C. Kincer, who once owned several such stations in the area but has downsized to one and who is also mayor of nearby Jenkins. Commercial operators are ruled by their advertisers, he said, while WMMT, not being able to afford listener surveys, goes on its hunches of what people want. “I listen to them all the time,” Mr. Kincer said.
• Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that he hopes will help repopulate his state’s rural counties.
The bill would waive state income taxes for five years for those who relocate to one of 50 Kansas counties that is losing population. The bill would also pay off up to $15,000 of student loans for college graduates who move into one of the counties.
Both programs end in 2016.