President Trump released his proposed budget yesterday and while many would argue to some of the positive actions within his proposal; when it comes to the preservation of the outdoors, the prospective budget falls short, literally.
Featuring gouging cuts to vital programming the President and his team seemingly deem unnecessary, the budget, if enacted, would threaten the preservation of America’s public lands, access to those lands and likely, the future of hunting and fishing in the United States.
Sustaining a burgeoning $640 billion economy that currently supports over 6 million American jobs undoubtedly needs the support of the federal government and with good reason. The President’s proposed budget disregards much of these statistics as it carelessly whittles down funding for essential programming, not only for sportsmen and women but for all Americans.
While reduced access to public lands and understaffed agencies do negatively impact hunters and anglers, cuts to departments responsible for the preservation of wild places impact every American.
With newly-appointed Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Department of the Interior is slated for a 12 percent cut accounting for shrinkage of $1.5 billion in funding.
“With the magnitude of these cutbacks—12 percent at the Department of the Interior alone—the conservation legacy left to us by Theodore Roosevelt and others would be undone very quickly, and the effects would be felt on public and private lands and waters in every corner of the nation,” Whit Fosburgh, president, and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership said in a statement.
Other notable cuts include a 21 percent or $4.7 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 31 percent or $26 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency as well as eroding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
As the ripple effect of the budget announcement spread, various organizations such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Anglers and Hunters (BHA), the Outdoor Industry Association and many others voiced their strong opposition.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney is calling on Secretary Zinke and the public to urge the President in reconsidering key elements of his budget.
“We expect Interior Secretary Zinke to use his bully pulpit and work with members of Congress to obtain the tools he needs to succeed and uphold popular programs like the LWCF. And together, we call on Congress to guide the president in charting a better course forward – one that reflects American values and secures the future of our national identity,” Tawney said in a release on BHA’s website.