Press Room

Here We Go Again: Birds in the Crosshairs of White House Budget Proposal

Major cuts to clean energy solutions, conservation programs, and a nefarious plan for the Arctic Refuge included in latest budget from the Trump Administration.

WASHINGTON—“Birds are the roadkill in the White House’s proposed budget yet again. These mean-spirited cuts would be devastating for the most innocent creatures and the places they need. It’s also a disaster for building a conservation movement for the future in urban and rural communities because it has targeted both in so many ways,” said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), Audubon’s president and CEO in response to the White House’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

“This proposal completely ignores a bipartisan majority of Americans who strongly support protecting water, air and our outdoor spaces.

“For more than a century, Republicans and Democrats in Washington have worked together to protect America’s natural heritage. We know they can do so again, but we need leaders in Congress to stand up to this Administration and speak up for the millions of Americans who love birds and our great outdoors.”

The White House included opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing as a source of revenue.

“Few places in the world are as important for birds as the Arctic Refuge. It’s one of North America’s most prolific bird nurseries with birds from every other state and six other continents spend at least part of their lives in this incredible place in northeastern Alaska,” added Yarnold.

“Opening up this iconic landscape to more drilling wouldn’t move the needle on our nation's energy needs but would cause irreversible damage to birds and the one of the wildest places we have left on earth. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have historically supported the Arctic Refuge as a keystone of American natural heritage and we look to them to do so once more.”

More information on what’s at risk in the White House budget:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: The proposed budget would use backdoor tactics to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, putting at risk one of our nation’s last, great wild places and its remarkable wildlife.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Every year 200 species of birds—including the Northern Pintail—migrate through six continents and states across the country to breed in the Refuge. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an iconic, American treasure on par with the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite. First protected by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, leaders from both parties have worked together for generations to stop attempts to open the biological heart of the Refuge—it’s pristine coastal plain—to oil and gas drilling. (maps available here and here)

Coastal Conservation: The proposed budget would cut important programs include: Coastal Zone Management Grants, Regional Coastal Resilience Grants, National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Reddish Egret. Audubon leases and manages 15 islands protecting critical nesting habitat for more than 20 species of birds, including the Reddish Egret. These islands lie within the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve along the Texas coast.

Working Land Conservation: The proposed budget would cut important working land conservation programs by over five billion dollars over five years.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Tricolored Blackbird. This bird is found almost exclusively in California. Last year, roughly 55,000 vulnerable Tricolored Blackbirds, more than one-third of the estimated population, were saved by cooperation between California’s farmers, Audubon, the dairy industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs.

Bald Eagle. Photo: Ramkumar Subramanian/Audubon Photography Awards

Clean Energy Solutions: The proposed budget includes a 70% cut to Renewable Energy programs like the Solar Energy Program (SunShot Initiative), Wind Energy Program and a 55% cut to programs that would support clean energy solutions for fossil fuels like carbon capture and storage.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle is one of the 314 species of North American birds that could disappear from current ranges due to shifting and shrinking climatic suitability. The SunShot Initiative decreases the cost of solar energy, which helps Americans transition to a clean energy future at the speed and scale that birds and people need.

Public Land and Wildlife Conservation: the budget proposes dramatic cuts to important programs including up to 80% for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Golden-winged Warbler. LWCF has supported community efforts to protect Important Bird Areas, like California’s Point Reyes National Sea Shore and the southern Sierras, Golden-Winged Warbler habitat in North Carolina, wintering areas for Bald Eagles in Washington, and helping to restore the Everglades by improving water and habitat connectivity.

Red-throated Loon. Photo: Ken Archer/Audubon Photography Awards

Treasured Landscapes: The proposed budget would eliminate important programs like: Geographic Programs, National Estuary Program.

Bird at risk of Trump budget implemented: Snowy Plover. The National Estuary Program has restored and protected more than 2 million acres of estuaries in the United States since 2000. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in Louisiana has received funds to monitor and protect nesting and foraging sites for threatened birds like the Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Plover, American Oystercatcher and Least Tern. The Geographic Programs managed by the EPA are especially beneficial to birds dependent on healthy aquatic ecosystems like the Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, Long Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.org  and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

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Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez, ngonzalez@audubon.org, (212) 979-3068.

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