The omnibus spending bill may have failed, but one sticky situation persists: In compiling his list of the bill's 10 most egregious wastes of money, John McCain ridiculed a $165,000 earmark for maple syrup research as an example of absurd pork—but the maple industry says it’s anything but. “This is a lifeline,” says a rep, “not only for Vermont, but for all of the maple industry.” It turns out the industry is in crisis after a bad harvest, giving ground to Canada; it needs to be more efficient. A nontraditional technique could save production, but it requires study, reports the Huffington Post.
The industry has already built a research facility without federal help. Now it needs $165,000 from the government to pay for scientists, technicians, and materials. And it’s not just about syrup aficionados: “This industry generates nearly $200 million for Vermont's economy alone,” says a rep for Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont—and the new research could cut maple syrup costs for consumers. Click here for more.