Congress Should Reject White House Budget: U.S. Economy Needs Investments — Not Cuts — In America’s Natural Resources & Rural Communities

05-23-2017 // Casey Skeens

Elk photo via PixabayWASHINGTON D.C. — Today, the White House released its full budget for the 2018 fiscal year. Some of the largest cuts are proposed for programs that restore America’s natural resources, protect public health, and revitalize rural America. The proposed budget includes deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the reduction or elimination of key collaborative conservation programs.

Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, released the following statement:

“If you want to see someone’s values, look at their budget — and this budget shows that America’s air and waters, wildlife, rural communities, and the outdoor economy are simply not priorities for the administration.

“All Americans deserve clean water that is drinkable, swimmable, and fishable — regardless of their zip code. The drastic cuts or eliminations of programs supporting the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Everglades, Chesapeake, Puget Sound, Colorado, and Sacramento, if adopted, would it make impossible for the president to fulfill his campaign pledge of ‘crystal clear water.’ These budget cuts put the health of all Americans who depend upon clean water at risk.

“The proposed cuts to the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture undermine the President’s campaign commitments to America’s hunters and anglers and would harm America’s $887 billion outdoor economy. The cuts would reduce access and allow further degradation of America’s public lands and leave behind rural communities across our nation. Most troubling are the deep cuts to collaborative, bipartisan programs that help recover wildlife populations through non-regulatory approaches, including USDA conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and other collaborative recovery programs.

“The most draconian cuts are targeted at the EPA — the agency that protects public health and air and water quality. It’s one thing to disagree with various regulatory approaches, it’s a dereliction of duty to remove the funding that is necessary to protect Americans from toxic air and water pollution, hazardous waste, and unsafe chemicals. America’s public health will suffer if the EPA is not able to do its job.

 “Now that the administration has released its proposed budget, we call upon bipartisan champions from both parties to reject this budget and speak up for America’s natural resources, our public health, rural communities, and the growing outdoor economy. Communities across our nation need Congress to invest in America’s natural resources and support the hundreds of millions of Americans and the growing outdoor economy that depend upon them.”

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