Spending bill boosts key conservation funding, includes needed wildfire budget fix

Mar 21, 2018

Local park in Annandale, VA.

Michael Reinemer, The Wilderness Society
Congress heeds will of people and saves roadless forests from destruction.

Congress appears to be ready to pass its federal funding bill without previously proposed attacks on essential protections for national forests and other public lands.

The Wilderness Society released the following statement from Drew McConville, Senior Managing Director, Government Relations:

“We are heartened that Congress has summarily rejected the devastating budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for vital investments in conservation and our public lands.”

“We are pleased by the rejection of provisions – pushed by Senator Murkowski – to undermine the National Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which would have allowed unnecessary road building and logging of old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.  

“We applaud Congress for including a long-overdue solution to the problem of how we budget and pay for wildfire suppression. However, while many damaging proposals were averted, we are disappointed that congressional Republicans insisted on the inclusion of some harmful forest management provisions as the price for getting the fire funding fix across the finish line.

“We are disappointed at the inclusion of these and several other environmentally troublesome policy provisions that could not be fended off, but heartened by the rejection of scores of others. Our public lands belong to all Americans and we will continue to fight any efforts to further erode protections for these lands.”

Background

The funding bill:

  • Rejects the devastating budget proposed by the Trump administration,
  • Rejects hundreds of proposed and damaging poison-pill riders, 
  • Increases conservation funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by $25 million, and when factoring in a programmatic change the increase comes to over $42 million in an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • It funds increases in recreation investments, planning processes, and maintains funding levels for key programs that protect and manage our prized national monuments and wilderness areas.
  • It increases funding for the National Parks and Wildlife Refuges and their key foundational accounts.
  • Increases funding for wildfire suppression and provides a long-term solution to address the rising cost of wildfire, making more funding available for recreation and restoration

Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.

Contacts:

Michael Reinemer, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-3949, michael_reinemer@tws.org  

Chris Rackens, Senior Representative, Government Relations, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-2643