The budget sequestration of 2013 will cut about $44 million dollars from federal grant money that would be going to states to support fish and wildlife programs. The majority of the money will be obtained through Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program funds. The remaining money will be cut from the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program and other restoration programs. The funds are accrued from excise taxes collected from the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery and fishing equipment, and boat motors and fuel expenses. The article links to a pdf file that lists each state’s figures and ranks Texas, Alaska, and California at the top of the pyramid.
I understand the importance of resolving the debt-ceiling crisis, but it’s disappointing to see money taken away from wildlife programs, especially when the Congressional Research Service says, “It is unclear what will happen to the sequestered money.” Money is being cut from many non-environmental programs as well, and in reality $44 million dollars removed from over $882.4 million is not the worst thing that could happen. Additionally, tax collections on gun and ammunition sales increased almost $200 million dollars from 2011 to 2012. Hence, wildlife programs are actually going to see an overall improvement in funding. I just wish the government gave more detailed information about how funds are going to be used or what the grand scheme of everything is. However, I’ve learned not to hold my breath hoping for advanced planning or political party cooperation in governmental affairs. You have to work with what you’ve got and make up the difference on your own.