Trump Budget Proposal: A Sell Out of Our Wildlife Heritage

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2017) – The following statement is from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife in response to President Trump’s proposed federal budget:
 
“The Trump budget is a sellout of our nation’s wildlife heritage. His proposed 12 percent cut to the Department of the Interior’s budget would have damaging impacts on maintaining national public lands, protecting endangered species and preserving wildlife refuges.
 
“Nearly 40 percent of Americans hunt, fish and enjoy wildlife, generating $145 billion per year. Wildlife is also important to the well-being of American families and communities. A third of our food is pollinated by birds, bats and insects, and bats provide at least $3.7 billion in pest control services to the agricultural industry annually. 
 
“We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be good stewards of our environment and leave behind a legacy of protecting our natural resources. President Trump has proposed a budget that slashes funding for protecting species and the habitat they need to survive.”
 
Additional background information
 
  • Endangered Species: Cuts in the Trump budget could undermine protection of threatened and endangered species, increasing the likelihood of more extinctions. Even before any further cuts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receives less than 25% of the funding it needs to implement recovery actions for listed species. In addition, more than 330 listed species do not even have final recovery plans. Permitting for infrastructure, renewable energy and other activities of national importance may be delayed. And a plan developed by FWS to prioritize more than 350 species for listing decisions would likely be disrupted.
  • National Wildlife Refuges: Cuts in the Trump budget could further hinder management of our National Wildlife Refuge System. Habitat restoration, control of invasive species, and use of prescribed fire, which is used on refuges both to improve habitat for wildlife and to reduce hazardous fuels that pose a wildfire risk to nearby communities, will likely all be further reduced. Refuge law enforcement officers, already at only 30 percent of the number needed may be cut even further. Fewer services will be available for the 48 million people who visit our national wildlife refuges annually and who generate $2.4 billion to local and regional economies.
  • Wildlife Trafficking: Cuts in the Trump budget could undercut the progress made in recent years combating the illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife parts that is leading to the extermination of several iconic species including elephants and rhinos.
  • Harmful Border Wall: Even as the Trump budget decimates funding for programs that conserve our natural heritage, it proposes billions in funding for a wall along our southwest border that will cause irreparable harm to communities, land and wildlife. The wall could affect 89 threatened or endangered species, including critically endangered jaguars and Mexican gray wolves, 108 species of migratory birds and national parks, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas and other public lands.
  • Public Lands: Budget reductions would have harmful impacts on wildlife conservation and imperiled species recovery programs in our nation's public lands agencies. These programs are essential for balancing resource use with protecting wildlife, watersheds, and other public values on national forests, grasslands and deserts across the country. Underfunding these programs will delay land management planning and implementation important to all stakeholders, and undermine collaborative conservation efforts on tens of millions of acres of public lands.

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.