Zinke Will Defend Trump’s Disastrous Interior Budget Cuts

Trump’s budget is a complete disaster. With so many cuts that would hurt Americans across the country, here are just a few of the many cuts to the Interior Department that Ryan Zinke has to try and defend as he testifies before Congress.


Trump budget cuts the Interior Department’s budget by 14 percent and calls for major layoffs.


The Hill: “President Trump's fiscal 2019 budget unveiled Monday would use energy sales on public lands to help fund infrastructure projects for the Department of the Interior (DOI). Overall, the blueprint from the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) proposes cutting Interior's budget by 14 percent, from $13.2 billion in 2017 to $11.7 billion in 2018. The proposed cuts are almost identical to last year's OMB request, which called for cutting the department's funding by 12 percent.”


Las Vegas Sun Editorial: “Another key reason to oppose Trump and Zinke on the issue is that the budget calls for massive cutbacks in staffing — 1,835 National Parks Service employees, 1,209 from the U.S. Geological Survey, 559 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 330 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That’s a heavy human cost. And in the case of the parks employees, you’ll feel their loss if you go to a park. Visitation is at its highest level ever, so staffing cutbacks would mean fewer people providing services to ever-expanding crowds.”


Trump’s budget gives Interior broad authority to sell off federal lands at will.


Salt Lake Tribune: “Also tucked into the budget proposal is authority for federal agencies to sell public assets if the ‘sale would ‘optimize the taxpayer value for Federal assets,’ such as the Washington and Baltimore Washington Parkways, two roadways near the nation’s capital operated as national park units. While Zinke has been a staunch opponent of selling off public lands since he was a Montana congressman, the language would give broad power to sell public lands.”


Trump’s budget slashes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 92 percent.


Washington Post: “Slashes $33 million, or 92 percent, of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports land acquisition and restoration efforts using federal revenue from oil and gas drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf.”


Trump’s budget cuts the U.S. Geological Survey by 20 percent and guts programs focused on climate change and environmental health.


Scientific American: “The Interior Department's chief science agency would take a major hit under the proposed budget. The U.S. Geological Survey is the lead federal agency in providing science and mapping on ecosystems, energy and mineral resources, water use and natural hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes. It would receive just under $860 million, about a 20 percent decrease from funding levels enacted for fiscal 2017.”


Scientific American: “The budget request includes $13 million to fund only three of the eight regional climate science centers and one national climate adaptation science center—the others would presumably close.”


E&E News: “The Trump administration is seeking to zero out federal funding on the environmental effects of oil and gas development. A detailed breakdown of this week's White House budget proposal shows that the U.S. Geological Survey would receive no money for its environmental health mission area in fiscal 2019… Environmental health programs would disappear in favor of ‘higher priorities,’ according to the agency's budget justification. The proposal would wipe out $21 million in funding and 119 full-time positions.”


Trump’s budget includes massive cuts to federal earthquake hazard and early warning programs.


The Weather Channel: “The proposed United States Geological Survey (USGS) budget released last week for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1, asks Congress to approve a $13 million cut in the nation's federal earthquake hazards program, including a $10.2 million cut for its earthquake early warning program. The proposed budget also calls for the elimination of 18 jobs, 15 of which would come from the early warning program.”