Today, President Trump released his detailed budget request for the next fiscal year, outlining the broad priorities of the administration. On virtually every issue of importance to the Izaak Walton League- wildlife, natural resource conservation, clean air, and clean water-the administration’s priorities are sharply at odds with our priorities. By proposing to slash funding for conservation and environmental protection, the administration jeopardizes public health and the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy.
The Department of the Interior, which includes national parks and national wildlife refuges, would see its budget cut by $1.5 billion from current spending levels, or about a 12% reduction. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which conserves public land and water on behalf of all Americans and funds local outdoor recreation projects, would be slashed by more than $300 million. At the same time, the budget would boost funding for oil and gas production on public lands, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Department of Agriculture’s budget would be reduced by $4.7 billion, or about 21%, from current funding levels. Key conservation investments are targeted for deep cuts. For example, technical assistance for landowners implementing conservation practices that protect our soil, water, and wildlife would be cut by $83 million. Other reductions would prevent new farmers from enrolling in critical conservation programs and undermine partnerships that tackle conservation challenges on a regional level. The Environmental Protection Agency takes the biggest hit in the budget proposal. The agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment would see its funding gutted by about 31%, roughly $2.6 billion. The budget would eliminate all funding to reduce air pollution from power plants and to restore the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Recent investments in large-scale restoration, including $300 million for the Great Lakes and $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay, have been instrumental in restoring wetlands, improving water quality, and fighting invasive species all over the country.
“Unfortunately, this budget is what we expected, given the outline released by the administration in March. Our stance has not changed and the League rejects such a massive devaluing of clean air and water, wildlife, and outdoor recreation,” said Jared Mott, IWLA Conservation Director. “We will continue to work with our members, partners, and conservation-minded members of Congress to achieve a budget that reflects our commitment to future Americans and honors our conservation legacy.”