As more detail emerges on cuts to conservation programs and agencies in the president’s FY2018 budget, Congress retains the power of the purse
A detailed budget request released today shows that President Trump will continue to push for steep cuts to conservation programs and agencies among other major changes for fiscal year 2018. Today’s announcement expands upon the “skinny” budget blueprint released back in mid-March, which outlined detrimental budget cuts for public and private land management agencies, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and restoration programs in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.
New proposed cuts released today include: $1.4 billion decrease to the Department of Interior, $4.6 billion decrease in funding for the Department of Agriculture, $2.6 billion decrease in the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and a $1.5 billion reduction to the Department of Commerce budget.
“Sportsmen shouldn’t be surprised that this request is largely along the same lines as Trump’s skinny budget earlier this spring, but we’re not yet in an unworkable position to continue investing in conservation,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Congress retains the power of the purse, and based on their recent fiscal year 2017 spending agreement, lawmakers seem to have an appetite for expanding support for habitat, clean water, and the outdoor recreation economy.”
The congressional spending agreement that became law earlier this month stabilized and even increased conservation funding levels through the end of the current fiscal year, thanks to bipartisan efforts from Senate and House leadership. The TRCP and its partners will encourage leadership and appropriators to continue championing conservation funding in FY2018 by passing a budget deal that strengthens and invests in critical programs for the future of America’s fish and wildlife habitat and hunting and fishing traditions.
“Enjoying the outdoors is an American pastime that’s critical to a healthy future for all Americans—from connecting with family and friends on the water while boating or fishing to camping and exploring our national parks—activities that have proven to drive economic growth and provide millions of jobs in communities where there’s access to the outdoors,” says Thom Dammrich, president at the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Federal investments in conservation make all of this possible and are not expendable. Congress seems inclined to agree, and sportsmen and women will be counting on lawmaker support for conservation and the industry’s 7.6 million outdoor recreation jobs in the fiscal year 2018 budget process.”
Header image courtesy of Bob Wick/Flickr.