The White House recommendations for the budget cuts scheduled for 2013 will decimate America’s wild places and necessitate the closing of public places such as National Parks and Refuges, according to The Wilderness Society.
The recommendations of cuts from the White House Office of Management and Budget, released today, show deep cuts to the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and long-standing conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Cuts from sequestration will devastate America’s wild lands if they come to pass,” said Alan Rowsome, director of conservation funding for The Wilderness Society. “These cuts potentially undo years of progress protecting and restoring American landscapes.”
Some examples of the cuts proposed by OMB are:
- National Park Service: $183 million
- Fish and Wildlife Service: $194 million
- Land and Water Conservation Fund: $26 million
“These cuts are bad for everyone – watersheds will be put at risk in our nation’s forests, parks will have fewer rangers and police, and endangered species will be left to fend for themselves,” said Rowsome. “The federal budget can’t be balanced on the backs of conservation programs.”
Cuts to conservation and outdoor programs could hamstring the growing outdoor recreation industry, which generates $646 billion for the US economy every year.
“The painful irony is that these cuts are supposed to help the economy, but without investing in these programs, we will lose a major economic engine that has withstood the recession,” said Rowsome. “Every dollar taken away from conservation hurts that economy.”