Making Sequestration Painful?   Leave a comment

This is either another example of bad reporting or the federal government manipulating reporters to make something unrelated to sequestration appear related so people will complain.

The wildlife interpreters on Alaska’s Marine Highways are federal employees. There’s never been any federal funds actually given to the State to hire naturalists. The State of Alaska provides free room and board in exchange for the services of federal employees. Occasionally, interpreters would be “bumped” because of high demand for cabins, but the AMHS would hold the interpreter cabins for them until all other cabins were taken. As AMHS ships are not cruise ships, there are few cabins. Many passengers sleep in the lounge chairs on the viewing deck or pitch tents on the bow deck. The last couple of years, the Obama administration has taken its sweet time deciding whether to send interpreters, so the AMHS started releasing the cabins to paying passengers. This year, all the cabins were released except on one ferry before the federal Department of Natural Resources asked for them. Now the feds are acting like it was the State’s decision, when in reality, they were the ones who set it up to fail. It’s likely another way they’re trying to make the sequestration furloughs painful, but this isn’t a sequestration furlough, it’s a lack of planning on the part of the feds.

And, it really doesn’t matter. You’d get a much better “tour” from the passengers who ride the ferry frequently. How do I know? I’ve taken the ferry and had many lovely conversations with the regulars who know the route so well and can tell stories about hiking a mountain or fishing a bay or an ancient Native story about a river that the federal employee doesn’t have in their guide book.

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