Last month’s White House budget proposes sweeping cuts to many important environmental programs. The proposed budget leaves little room for birds or conservation, and would have a crippling impact on the following critical conservation programs, in addition to many more:
- The Department of the Interior proposed cuts include decreasing and eliminating conservation and grant programs, with the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) taking the biggest hit—facing an 84 percent cut. Additionally, the $11.5 million suggested cuts to the Bureau of Land Management would eliminate Greater Sage-Grouse conservation plans, which protect 70 million acres of sagebrush habitat and over 350 species of wildlife. The budget would also allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and end revenue sharing in the Gulf of Mexico, impacting restoration funding.
- The Environmental Protection Agency would face the elimination of funding for all Geographic Programs ($435M cut), which are helping to restore the Great Lakes, Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, Gulf of Mexico, and more. The budget would also eliminate the National Estuary Program ($26M cut), which provides funding for 28 nationally significant and threatened estuaries.
- The United States Department of Agriculture’s proposed budget would harm Farm Bill conservation programs by decreasing funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) ($350M). It also calls for ending the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. Additionally, the Forest Service would face nearly 50 percent in cuts to the State and Private Forestry program.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s proposed budget zeros out three critical coastal programs: Coastal Zone Management Grants ($85M cut), the National Estuarine Research Reserve System funding ($24M cut), and Coastal Resilience Grants ($10M cut).
- The Department of Energy would see enormous cuts to programs supporting clean energy and energy efficiency. This includes a 66 percent cut to the Solar Program ($138M cut), which helps reduce solar costs and advance its adoption, and a 65 percent cut to the Wind Energy Program, which provides important research funding, including efforts to reduce avian impacts. The Office of Energy Efficiency would be cut $1.4 billion, or a 70 percent cut overall.
Although the budget is not final, it confirms the Administration’s clear goals to cut or eliminate programs vital to safeguard wildlife and the environment for future generations. Now it is up to Congress to restore funding levels, and release final fiscal year 2018 appropriations bills by September 30, 2017. We will need your help to continue to tell Congress to protect these vital programs.