White House, Washington, DC.
President Trump’s infrastructure and budget proposals are essentially Valentine’s gifts to oil, gas, coal and other extractive interests.
The plans would increase fossil fuel development on public lands, weaken environmental safeguards, drain funds from conservation programs and even allow selling off public lands to pay for infrastructure.
Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society, said:
"Americans want to improve infrastructure, but not at the expense of clean air, water and our shared public lands. It's fitting that Trump released these plans just before Valentine's Day, because they are a declaration of love for those fossil-fuel interests that want less oversight and more freedom to pollute.”
Key points from Trump’s Fossil Fuels Valentine:
Trump’s infrastructure plan would:
- Let him authorize "disposal" of public lands, meaning they can be sold off to raise money for his other projects.
- Punch huge holes in the National Environmental Policy Act, an essential law that provides for review and public scrutiny of federal actions that affect the environment.
- Give Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke the authority to approve pipelines running through national parks.
Trump’s proposed budget would:
- Cut the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund to the bone, reducing its budget by roughly 90 percent. This program was designed to ensure Americans’ access national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other protected lands, without burdening taxpayers. This extreme proposal is particularly troubling given that Congress must act soon to reauthorize the program before it expires on September 30, 2018.
- Increase funding for coal, oil and gas development on public lands while again cutting funds for renewable energy by nearly 40 percent.
- Cut funding for the Department of the Interior by about 16 percent, shortchanging America’s public lands and undermining the booming outdoor recreation economy.
- Deepen the fiscal wounds suffered by the National Park Service in recent years, imposing a 7 percent budget cut. The Park Service already operates under a nearly $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog.
- Slash the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 34 percent, eliminating thousands of jobs from that agency and end various programs committed to climate change research.
- Cut key funding from the U.S. Forest Service, which is already chronically strained by the need to divert funds from various important programs to fight wildfires -- including those funds that are specifically intended to reduce the cost and severity of future wildfires.
The 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.
Contact: Michael Reinemer, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-3949, firstname.lastname@example.org