Idaho Environmental Programs Fall Victim To Budget Cuts

"BOISE, Idaho -- When lightning ignited a wildfire near Idaho's Sun Valley in 2007, environmental regulators used monitoring gear to gauge the health effects for those breathing in the Sawtooth Mountains' smoky, mile-high air.

That equipment sits idle today after the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality was hit by $4 million in spending cuts, a quarter of its budget, since the recession began. Water testing on selenium-laced streams in Idaho's phosphate mining country also has been cut back, as have mercury monitoring and hazardous waste inspections.

The cuts to environmental programs in Idaho provide a snapshot of a national trend. Conservation programs and environmental regulations have been pared back significantly in many states that have grappled with budget deficits in recent years."

The Associated Press had the story November 27, 2011.

Source: Idaho Press, 11/28/2011