A new report says Congress can cut the deficit while protecting wildlife and public health at the same time. The report from the National Wildlife Federation identifies more than 100-billion dollars that could be saved by eliminating tax breaks for oil, coal and ethanol. Protecting wildlife is important for the economy in the Carolinas where thousands of jobs are created from outdoor recreation.
Outdoor recreation adds almost three-billion dollars to North Carolina's economy every year. It's an amount that gives wildlife advocates a reason to ask that conservation programs are protected in a tight budget cycle. North Carolina has already seen tough cuts to those programs with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund getting cut from 50-million to 11-million dollars earlier this year. Now a new report from the National Wildlife Federation finds that it's possible for Congress to cut the deficit while still protecting wildlife and public health. Richard Mode of Morganton, NC serves as a liaison for the NWF and says, "Investment in natural resources is good business, and again, we know that programs will be cut, we just don't want a disproportionate amount."
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in Washington is considering cuts to a variety of programs. If the Supercommittee fails to come up with a reduction package, or Congress fails to approve it, federal law would require one-point-two trillion dollars in spending cuts spanning a 10-year period. According to NWF, Congress has already cut certain key conservation programs by more than 30-percent, compared to only 7-percent for other non-discretionary spending.
The NWF report also highlighted the large number of tax breaks given to the oil, coal and ethanol industry and says eliminating those would save 100-billion dollars. Mode says he and the NWF are just asking for a balanced approach.
Mode says, "The benefits going to the oil industry are pretty immense now and they don't need federal subsidies. We just want a fair shake for natural resources."
Nationwide, the outdoor recreation industry contributes 730-billion dollars to the economy and brings 49-billion dollars back in tax revenue, according to the NWF.