Grijalva: This Budget is What Republicans Signed Up For When They Supported Trump – and It Would Destroy Our Environment

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today highlighted four environmental policy areas the Trump administration’s proposed budget would hit especially hard, calling on Republicans to reject it out of hand or explain why they continue to support an administration that has lost all credibility.

“This budget is the reality of the Republican vision for the country, and Republicans in Congress need to admit it,” Grijalva said today. “It treats our environment as a speed bump on the way to greater oil profits and it eliminates any hope of sane climate protections. For whatever reason, Republicans in Congress continue to support this administration even as Americans register their anger and disapproval in record numbers. Anyone who supports this budget or the rest of this administration’s disturbing agenda has shown disdain for the American people. It’s typical of this presidency that the greatest harm is done to those Trump claimed he would help: rural Americans who depend on clean air, clean water, and clean natural spaces for their livelihoods.”

Oil Policy

The budget opens the fragile and pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling – a longstanding Republican demand with no immediate economic justification – and sells approximately half the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to fund Trump’s unpopular agenda. The administration’s projected revenue from that sale, as Politico has reported, “is based on an oil price of about $66 a barrel, about 30 percent higher than the current price.”

The SPR exists to keep energy available and affordable in times of crisis or natural disaster, which helps low income communities most. Selling it to pay for tax cuts for the extremely rich is especially cruel when combined with destroying ANWR – one of our country’s best preserved natural places and a sanctuary for threatened species – as a short-sighted favor to oil billionaires.

Public Lands Conservation

The fiscal year 2017 omnibus under which the government is currently operating funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – which supports federal, state and local efforts to purchase private lands from willing sellers for conservation purposes – at $400 million, $50 million less than the previous year’s level. The newly announced budget proposal recommends a drastic cut of 50 percent, including a 75 percent cut to the federal land acquisition portion of the program.

LWCF is a popular, bipartisan program that directs revenue from offshore oil development to support the protection of our nation’s land and water resources. Projects financed by LWCF support public access to public lands. Deep cuts would hurt public access for activities like hunting and fishing and make it more difficult to protect land in and around national parks, forests and refuges.

The plan also cuts funding for the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands.

Our Oceans and Coasts

The Trump proposal slashes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget by more than $900 million, including a 15 percent cut to NOAA’s operational budget and a 25 percent cut for procurement, acquisition, and construction. Among other harms to the American people, these cuts prevent NOAA from providing accurate weather forecasts, conducting oceanographic surveys, and offering coastal protections for communities at risk from sea level rise and increased flooding associated with climate change.

The budget also cripples fishery managers’ ability to rebuild and manage commercially and recreationally valuable fish stocks. Among other measures, it eliminates all funding for recovery of Pacific salmon.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation

The plan makes similarly devastating cuts to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) programs, including those focused on helping states improve wildlife management and recover threatened and endangered species. Trump’s proposal would slash more than $34 million (64 percent) from the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund and nearly $8 million (13 percent) from State and Tribal Wildlife Grants.

Trump’s cuts would also harm the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System – along with the hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who support them – by cutting more than $87 million (7 percent) from the FWS resource management account, more than $51 million (75 percent) from the land acquisition account, and nearly $8 million (33 percent) from the construction account. 

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