National parks could face 'meat cleaver' cuts - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

National parks could face 'meat cleaver' cuts

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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013 12:00 am

An association of retired National Park Service employees says that if Congress does not act to avoid sequestration there will be "meat cleaver" cuts at national parks across the country.

At Glacier National Park, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees says there are plans to delay opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road for two weeks this year.

Asked about that possibility, Glacier public affairs specialist Denise Germann said "anything and everything" is being considered.

"Anything from later openings to earlier closings, to furloughs for some of our employees, shorter seasonal employment, a delay in opening Sun Road, it's all on the table at this point," she said.

Germann noted the park has a large seasonal work force, ranging from 350 to 370 people, that is crucial during the peak summer season.

"We always need to be able to provide a safe and enjoyable visit for folks, so we need to make sure through all of this that we protect the visitor, we protect the resource, we protect the employees," she said.

Glacier has an annual budget of about $14 million, and only about 15 percent of that is considered discretionary.

A memo from National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis that was released recently by the retirees coalition directed all parks to come up with plans for 5 percent budget reductions by Feb. 11.

"It is critical that the NPS is able to provide specific and tangible results of an across-the-board 5 percent cut," Jarvis stated in the memo. "We expect that a cut of this magnitude, intensified by the lateness of the implementation, will result in reductions to visitor services, hours of operation, shortening of seasons and possibly closing of areas during periods when there is insufficient staff to ensure the protection of visitors, employees, resources and government assets."

Jarvis instructed that park sequestration plans also provide specific information on how cuts will impact visitors, as well as nearby communities and businesses.

The Hagadone News Network has requested Glacier's sequestration plan, but it has not been provided.

"We remain hopeful and optimistic that Congress is going to avoid some of these cuts, but we as an agency, as with all agencies, have been asked to prepare and plan if this follows through," Germann said.

Proposed cutbacks for Yellowstone National Park would involve delaying by two to four weeks spring road opening operations inside the park and at the west, south, east, and northeast entrances.

Plowing delays also would postpone opening Yosemite National Park's Tioga and Glacier Point roads up to four weeks.

At Grand Canyon National Park, the East Rim and West Rim drives would open later than usual in May and hours would be cut back at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, according to the coalition.

Last year, Congress and the White House signed into law an agreement to implement automatic, across-the-board cuts on March 1, with the thought that action would be taken to implement more refined and targeted cuts before that date.

Sequestration is intended to cut this year's planned spending of $3.6 trillion by just $85 billion, or 2 percent, with half the cuts being applied to military spending and the other half to domestic discretionary spending.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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  • flattopramen posted at 1:26 pm on Tue, Feb 26, 2013.

    flattopramen Posts: 140

    100 % agree. We should have been bankrupt years ago.

    Boehner's hopeless, Obama's pandering to the interest groups as usual, the feds deserve sequestration as they won't admit what is really going on.

    Hyperinflation is already here, it's intentional and it's been going on for a decade.

  • wilbur posted at 8:07 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2013.

    wilbur Posts: 142

    you should stick to telling racial you honestly think cutting federal jobs won't have an impact on the communities where these people work?? You, sir are an ignorant moron

  • JoeIdaho posted at 6:09 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    I truly HOPE the sequestration happens. My biggest fear is that the Repubs in Congress AGAIN allow boobama & the commies to spend more, and cut NOTHING. They have a bad habit of allowing this; making them useless.
    The entire debacle is pointless, to me.
    Their overspending far outshadows all of this, the real emergency is coming soon, in the form of fully uncontrollable hyperinflation. Right now, we have this sideshow, in the big picture, meaningless. The Dems say that IF we cut ANY spending, all government stops. While this is happening, enough of the LEMMINGS listen & think "it might be me who takes a haircut" so they are FOR more government spending/borrowing.
    The whole thing is untenable, 100%.
    Watch the news, when you see interest rates start creeping up, it's going to make all of this look like nothing.

  • Keven Johnson posted at 6:22 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Keven Johnson Posts: 1490

    We do need actually cuts..... as in spending less than we spent last year.... of about 45%. To start. The false 'cuts' the budget sequester will bring will still result in a larger budget deficit than we had last year.

    And don't forget, even if congress and the president did pull their heads out and cut spending 45%, and balance the annual budget, we still have not addressed the $16 trillion + accumulated debt. First we must stop adding to it, and then we have to start reducing it. Cuts in the rate of growth in federal spending won't "cut" it - - we need REAL cuts.

  • Keven Johnson posted at 6:15 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Keven Johnson Posts: 1490

    Scare tactics and pure Hogwash! Even if the "sequestration" happens, THERE ARE NO CUTS! There are only cuts in the already planned increases federal spending! That is not a cut!

    If I spent $25,000 last year, and planned to increase my spending to $30,000 this year - - but am forced to curtail that to $28,000 because that's all I can afford, have I cut my spending? NO! Only to the federal government is lowering a proposed increase considered a spending cut.

  • Brent Regan posted at 4:46 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Brent Regan Posts: 740

    The hubris of these bureaucrats is stunning. 2%?? Really?? Gnashing of teeth, renting of clothes, dogs and cats sleeping together, baby harp seals clubbing themselves to death, the ozone hole moving to Canada, OH the HORROR!

    They don’t fear the cuts. What they fear is people realizing you CAN cut. You want to save money? Fire all the federal employees that complain about a 2% cut. Problem solved.

  • Mahiun posted at 1:05 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Mahiun Posts: 5635

    It is a reduction in the RATE OF GROWTH.
    That's part of it, but not the whole thing. The cuts --- $1,500,000,000,000 worth --- are in addition to that, and take effect immediately.

    And it's worth noting that, while the sequester was indeed first proposed by an Obama staffer (not by Obama; it is not "Obama's sequester") before being brought to Republicans, the entire idea was that it would be something so horrible, so unthinkable, that no one would ever allow it to happen, and it would force compromise. And here we are.....

    It's also worth remembering the vote on it in the House, at the time: 218 Republican votes in favour, ZERO Democrat votes in favour.

  • will-- posted at 12:08 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    will-- Posts: 1213

    Waste is right!

    This deserves repeating.

    0bama's squandering of taxpayer dollars on failed green energy companies.

    1.Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
    2.SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
    3.Solyndra ($535 million)*
    4.Beacon Power ($43 million)*
    5.Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
    6.SunPower ($1.2 billion)
    7.First Solar ($1.46 billion)
    8.Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
    9.EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
    10.Amonix ($5.9 million)
    11.Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
    12.Abound Solar ($400 million)*
    13.A123 Systems ($279 million)*
    14.Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
    15.Johnson Controls ($299 million)
    16.Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
    17.ECOtality ($126.2 million)
    18.Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
    19.Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
    20.Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
    21.Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
    22.Range Fuels ($80 million)*
    23.Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
    24.Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
    25.Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
    26.GreenVolts ($500,000)
    27.Vestas ($50 million)
    28.LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
    29.Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
    30.Navistar ($39 million)
    31.Satcon ($3 million)*
    32.Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
    33.Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)
    *Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

  • heatherfeather posted at 11:02 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    heatherfeather Posts: 297

    Great idea. Let's punish recreationalists while making sure the Amerifats get their EBT for more pop and Fiddle-Faddle, and that foreign aid keeps flowing. Fire some local teachers, but make sure to build some more drones to bomb people half a world away.

    With so much waste on the federal level, there is no way you can ever convince me there is a crisis.

  • DeNiles posted at 9:25 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Well it was Obama's idea. So blame him if you're not pleased. Sequestration was Obama's cut later idea to get his spend now budget considerations. Only Obama forgot that he doesn't know how to cut spending. So now Obama's plan gets put into play, just like he laid down and signed into law.

  • will-- posted at 9:25 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    will-- Posts: 1213

    The result of hiring a community organizer to do the job of president.

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 9:12 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413


    First of all, what is a "cut"? It is a reduction in the RATE OF GROWTH. The Feds will spend ONLY 18 billion dollars MORE than last year. Yet, we are being told that all the things we want (parks, police, fire protection, libraries, schools, et. al.) will be decimated. It's an old, old tactic. It is a THREAT, made by a BULLY. I say call his bluff and let the chips fall where they may. BRING IT ON.

  • Mahiun posted at 9:10 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Mahiun Posts: 5635

    What would sequestration mean to Idaho? You don't need to wonder or speculate; it's already been calculated. If the sequester goes into effect, Idaho stands to lose:

    [*] Around 50 teacher and classroom aide jobs.
    [*] Funding for about 30 schools, forcing them to shut down.
    [*] Educational services for about 5000 students
    [*] About 30 teachers, aides, and staff for education of children with disabilities
    [*] Financial aid for about 170 low-income students to attend college
    [*] About 40 work-study jobs to help finance college costs through work
    [*] About 200 HeadStart or other Early Childhood Education opportunities

    [*] $1.2 million in environmental funding to help ensure clean air and water and prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.
    [*] $557,000 in fish and wildlife protection.

    [*] About 2000 civilian Department of Defense jobs, reducing payroll --- and thus, tax base --- by about $6.8 million.
    [*] Army base operation would be cut by about $1.7 million.
    [*] Air Force operations funding would be cut by about $1 million.

    [*] About $82,000 in Justice Assistance grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention, drug enforcement, and crime-victim initiatives.

    [*] Around 10,500 people will not receive the help, skills, and training they need to find a job and get off unemployment.
    [*] Up to 100 disadvantaged or vulnerable children will lose access to child care --- which is essential for working parents to hold down a job.

    [*] About 890 children will not receive vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, flu, whooping cough, or Hep B.
    [*] About $150,000 in funding for emergency response capability to deal with infectious disease, natural disasters, or biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear disasters.
    [*] About 400 substance-abuse prevention opportunities
    [*] About 1000 HIV testing opportunities
    [*] Services for about 100 victims of domestic violence and abuse
    [*] About $292,000 in funding for Meals on Wheels

    This is all Idaho-specific stuff, in addition to cuts that would affect the entire nation in areas such as food safety ("It might or might not be safe --- you're on your own, good luck!"), air traffic control ("You can't get there because no planes can fly; there are no controllers to get them in the air or back on the ground."), customs ("We had to let about 5000 customs and border patrol agents go, so we really have no idea who's coming in, or where, or when, or how many."), FBI/CIA ("There might or might not be a terrorist in your town --- we don't know, since we had to eliminate 1000 agents."), airport security ("You need to get to the airport 6 hours before your flight --- assuming there is a flight --- to get through security, since we had to let go of the TSA agents."), Amtrak is not an alternative --- they're federal employees, they'll be furloughed along with all the rest; your only option to get anywhere at all will be to drive.

    And we haven't even mentioned the devastating cutbacks in assistance and loan guarantees for small business, the economic backbone of this country.

    Still think the sequester is a great idea?!

  • milburnschmidt posted at 9:05 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    Its amazing how stupid the people in washington think we are. The Budget is not being cut its the rate of increase over a ten year period that is being cut by 2 and a half per cent or so over a ten year period. The 85 million mentioned is for the entire year of 2013 since it is almost a quarter of the year past it is said that when the cuts come in it will be for half a year about 40 some billion. In a several trillion a year budget its a drop in the bucket. The proposed cuts being quoted are just plain exaggerations. NoWhere do I see a cut proposed in the presidents or first ladies staff or in their endless travel or talk of cutting duplicative services that are never cut but pointed out in budget discussions to save money. No discussion of cutting congressional staff or benefits. If the chicken littles are correct then we can never cut the federal budget which constantly grows. The Government has grown 100 per cent over the last 11 years under Republican and Democratic leadership. Anyone who swallows the we cant cut anything obviously is in the group that pays no fereral income tax. As a retired Govt employee I have seen these scare tactics over the years in budget talks and they always quote the services people depend on and use the most but they never happen. The fact the Natl park system is talking a 5 percent cut when the actual sequestration cut is much less says it all. This is liars poker and they have no shame as do those who believe them..

  • DeNiles posted at 8:41 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    The White House has released its sequestration cutback list for each state. Here's some politics at work for ya. Obama aims to use sequestration to cut $37 million federal dollars slated to come to Idaho. For his own state of Illinois only $33 millions. For all of New York state only $43 millions. In other words Idaho is gonna get preferentially hammered by our loving and caring President.

  • mister d posted at 7:45 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    The cuts, if they happen will definitely affect our economy. The cuts would equal the cost of cable tv, what a joke. They are talking 20% employee pay cuts, if I were in that situation that would be a lot more than cable tv. I know when the SS tax was increased cut my spending and it was not the cable tv that took the hit. It was local business, especially restaurants and the places I like to play. I feel sorry that congress is screwing around with this and hurting private citizens. Cut congress pay, they are making the mess. Give them the pay they deserve for the job they are doing.

  • Candor posted at 7:44 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Candor Posts: 35

    Is the CdA Press now the press office for the Obama White House? Are you now joining the national press at the Koolaid party?

  • will-- posted at 7:23 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    will-- Posts: 1213

    These cut are long overdue.

    Meat cleaver is a bit of an over statement, these cuts are the equivalent of the average person giving up their cable TV.

  • wheels1 posted at 7:10 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 484

    Hogwash. ' Meat cleaver' cuts should be made but in the right places.Both parties have been 'BS' ing the public for decades.

  • I Carry posted at 6:40 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    I Carry Posts: 559

    So Glacier could delay plowing the "sun" for a couple weeks, which equates to two weeks lost revenue of tourism. I'm not very clear how stopping the very reason for plowing the road will save $$, compared to the funds generated by folks visiting the park.
    Maybe U.S. folk could demand "meat cleaver" cuts to Congress instead!
    Keep in mind,

  • JoeIdaho posted at 6:28 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    WHAT a propaganda campaign.
    Cutting 85 billion a year is NOTHING when you COMPREHEND that we give banks 85 billion a MONTH.

    This whole program of sequester won't cut anything, it swill slow down growth, period. And I certainly hope they do it.

  • voxpop posted at 5:12 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    At this point I hope sequestration takes place. I'm thinking it's going to be a lot like our weather forecasts. A little bit of truth mixed in with a whole lot of BS.

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