Grijalva: We Need to Know Who Directed Trump’s Environmental Budget Cuts, Understand Potential Conflicts of Interest

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today said the Trump budget plan’s deep cuts to popular environmental programs and failure to address climate change, despite clear national security warnings from his own top military officials, need to be understood through the lens of the Interior Department’s ongoing conflict-of-interest scandals and lack of transparency. Grijalva pointed to regulatory carveouts and industry-slanted budget priorities that strongly suggest lobbyist and corporate influence.

“We need to know whose idea it was to release a budget that throws the entire country under the bus, including the Pentagon,” Grijalva said today. “Secretary Zinke and his deputies have put lobbyists in charge of environmental policy and produced nothing but financial scandals and ugly conflicts of interest after their first year in office. Until he explains who wrote the environmental portion of this budget, what conflicts of interest they may have, and whose idea it was to slash everything but oil, gas and coal funding, nobody can take this document seriously.”

Among other features, the plan includes:

  • An overall 17 percent cut to the Department of the Interior (DOI).
  • Deep cuts to operations and other critical accounts at the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service.
  • Cuts to core climate research and science programs at the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies.
  • A $13 million cut to the BLM renewable energy program and a $3 million cut to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management renewable energy program from fiscal year 2017, coupled with a $15.5 million increase to the BLM’s oil and gas program for extraction and permitting and an $8.7 million increase to the coal program.
  • A prohibition on using any funds to issue Clean Air Act permits or require emissions reporting for “livestock production” or “manure management.”
  • A 90 percent cut from fiscal year 2017 levels to land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a popular bipartisan program that Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) refuses to renew despite its impending Sept. 30 expiration. Ranking Member Grijalva’s bill permanently renewing the program (H.R. 502) has 219 cosponsors, constituting a majority of the House of Representatives.
  • A legislative proposal to fund the NPS maintenance backlog with leftover energy revenue, linking the future of national parks to the fate of Trump’s unserious “energy dominance” agenda. The proposal would eliminate public-private partnerships under the Centennial Challenge Fund.
  • $18 million to fund Secretary Zinke’s impractical DOI “reorganization” along military lines, as he described to staff last year.
  • A lack of serious funding to address sexual harassment, despite thoroughly documented abuses at multiple DOI agencies and at the Department level.
  • A lack of funding for the DOI Inspector General, which has an increased workload thanks to Zinke’s multiple scandals and failures to address clear policy needs.
  • Drastic cuts to western drought funding, including a 64 percent cut to the WaterSMART Grants program and a 91 percent cut to the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program. Both cuts will exacerbate current water shortages and leave us less prepared for future droughts.
  • An 18 percent cut to funding for U.S. territories from fiscal year 2017 levels, including elimination of Freely Associated States funding that Hawaii and Guam depend on to help migrants.

Beyond DOI, the budget proposal eliminates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Zone Management Grants, despite growing hurricane threats, as well as the Sea Grant Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and the Office of Education. The proposal also eliminates the Marine Mammal Commission.

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