Zinke Must Answer Questions on Devastating Interior Cuts
June 8, 2017
As Secretary Zinke prepares to testify on Trump’s Interior Department budget in front of the House Appropriations Committee today, here is a look at some of the many devastating cuts that he will have to defend:
Trump proposed slashing the Interior Department budget by 12 percent while promoting fossil fuel development.
Washington Post: “The White House wants to cut the Interior Department budget by about 12 percent as the Trump administration shifts the agency’s focus toward promoting fossil fuel drilling and extraction on public lands and in federal waters. The budget proposal released Tuesday would reduce Interior’s funding to $11.6 billion in fiscal 2018 — about $1.6 billion less annually — and eliminate programs that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has called unnecessary, duplicative or a low priority.”
Trump’s budget would allow for more drilling on public lands, authorize selling off half of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve and encourage fossil fuel programs.
Bloomberg: “The White House plan to trim the national debt includes selling off half of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile and the entire backup gasoline supply, part of a broad series of changes proposed by President Donald Trump to the federal government’s role in energy markets. Trump’s first complete budget proposal, released Tuesday, would raise $500 million in fiscal year 2018 — and as much $16.6 billion over the next decade—by drawing down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”
Bloomberg: “[Trump] projects raising $1.8 billion over the next decade by opening up the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development.”
Washington Post: “The budget proposal would pour more funding into the development of oil, gas and coal investments on public lands. Onshore fossil fuel programs would receive $189 million annually, an increase of $24 million; offshore programs would get $343 million, including a $10 million increase to update the nation’s five-year offshore drilling plan. The Bureau of Land Management would get a $16 million increase in its oil and gas management program to accelerate the rate at which its staff processes permit applications and addresses right-of-way requests for infrastructure projects.”
Trump called for cuts to the National Park Service and programs that facilitate federal land acquisition for national parks.
PBS: “National Park Service: 10 percent cut… Approximately 1,200 employees — 7 percent of the full-time workforce — would be cut from the National Park Service. Funding would be removed for historic preservation, land acquisition for public parks, park operations and local community efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources. Construction projects to update NPS facilities would earn $34 million.”
E&E News: “Many of the cuts would affect the acquisition and maintenance of public lands. The budget blueprint would reduce land acquisition spending by $129 million, calling it a ‘lower priority’ than using money to maintain existing parks, refuges and public lands. ‘DOI already owns roughly 500 million acres of federal land,’ the Trump budget document said. ‘At a time when DOI has billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, it needs to focus scarce resources and better manage what it owns before acquiring additional lands.’”
NPR: “Rural communities dependent on U.S. public lands for everything from outdoor recreation to hunting to livestock grazing could be hit hard under the Trump administration's latest budget proposal unveiled Tuesday.”
NPR: “Here are three items of note in the Department of Interior budget alone that aren't generating much attention so far. But they could disproportionately hit rural communities, many of which tended to support President Trump in last year's election. A proposed $12 million cut to rangeland management programs designed to rehabilitate grass and prairie lands important for cattle ranchers that depend on public lands for grazing.”
Trump’s budget proposal cuts millions from Fish and Wildlife Service programs.
PBS: “The National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest conservation network, would lose $90 million — meaning its funding would be off-track to keep up pace with inflation. Resources for the protection of endangered species drop from $20.5 million to $17.1 million — a 17 percent reduction under the Trump budget request. The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, which provides grants to states and landowners to implement conservation projects, would decline by 64 percent ($53.4 million to $19.3 million.)”
PBS: “The $13 million National Wildlife Refuge Fund, which reimburses communities for tax losses created when the government acquires land for refuges, would be eliminated.”
Trump’s budget proposal calls for massive cuts to land and water conservation programs.
Flathead Beacon: “The budget also significantly decreases funding for new major acquisitions of federal land, cutting such appropriations by more than $120 million. Cuts to the popular and bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Fund total nearly $54 million, an 80 percent cut to this year’s enacted level. The Land and Water Conservation Fund draws revenue from offshore oil and gas development to boost local projects in the nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and trails. Advocates, particularly sportsmen, seized on these cuts to hammer the budget proposal.”
Washington Post: “The budget proposal released Tuesday would reduce Interior’s funding to $11.6 billion in fiscal 2018 — about $1.6 billion less annually — and eliminate programs that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has called unnecessary, duplicative or a low priority. Among them: discretionary grants to help reclaim abandoned mine sites, National Heritage areas that Trump administration officials say are more appropriately funded locally and National Wildlife Refuge payments to local governments.”
Trump’s budget proposal reducesthe Interior Department’s funding for scientific research, environmental protection and the management of hazards.
PBS: “U.S. Geological Survey: 13 percent cut… The Department of the Interior budget request reduces the U.S. Geological Survey’s resources for scientific research, environmental protection and natural hazards management, but increases funds for fossil fuel extraction programs.”
PBS: “The Department of the Interior budget request reduces the U.S. Geological Survey’s resources for scientific research, environmental protection and natural hazards management, but increases funds for fossil fuel extraction programs. The agency’s ecosystems programs — which “support fish and wildlife management, water filtration and pollution control, healthy soils, pollination, and reduction of the effects of wildfires and other natural disasters” — would lose $27.8 million.”
PBS: “The Department of the Interior budget request reduces the U.S. Geological Survey’s resources for scientific research, environmental protection and natural hazards management, but increases funds for fossil fuel extraction programs… Science projects geared toward adaptation to critical issues such as drought, flooding, and wildfires would see a cut of $26.9 million. While the DOI pledged to maintain the nation’s network of streamgages and earthquake sensors, the USGS would slash $20.6 million from its natural hazards programs, which “respond to hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides with a goal of reducing potential fatalities, injuries, property damage, and other social and economic effects,” according to budget documents.”