As states across the nation face massive budget shortfalls, many are aiming their axes at environmental and conservation programs. In South Carolina, for instance, the state legislature is considering cutting $16 million from conservation programs to help balance its upcoming budget. The South Carolina Wildlife Federation yesterday urged state legislators to protect the funds, noting that the legislature already slashed $53.4 million from environmental-protection programs in the current budget cycle. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Gov. Mitt Romney (R) narrowly avoided angering environmentalists yesterday when he eliminated $17 million in renewable-energy funds to whittle down the state’s deficit. In exchange, Romney promised to file legislation requiring the state to buy at least $10 million of green energy per year. Environmentalists said the compromise would be satisfactory so long as the lawmakers pass the proposed legislation.