On March 16, 2017, President Trump released his budget outline that reflects the broad priorities of the administration. On virtually every issue of importance to the League – wildlife, natural resource conservation, clean air, and clean water – the administration’s priorities are sharply at odds with our priorities. The president’s budget slashes spending except for national security, but is particularly harsh towards the environment and abandons the $646 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. Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund would decrease by $120 million, while funding for energy production on public lands would increase.
The Department of Agriculture’s budget would be reduced by $4.7 billion, or about 21%, from current spending levels. This budget would decrease spending at USDA’s Service Center Agencies, forcing reductions in staff. These personnel are responsible for helping landowners implement conservation practices that protect our soil, water, and wildlife.
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 geographic programs to restore the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Recent investments in restoration have been instrumental in restoring wetlands, improving water quality, and fighting invasive species all over the country.
The Izaak Walton League is committed to a future that protects clean air and water, conserves wildlife and wild places, and defends our conservation legacy. That unwavering commitment calls on us to reject this budget because its priorities do not align with our vision for the future. In the months ahead, we will press Congress to ensure that the nation continues to invest in, conserve, and preserve the natural resources vital to public health, fish and wildlife, and the outdoor recreational economy.