Press Release Feb 10, 2020

President Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Target National Parks

This budget is yet another example of the lack of understanding and respect this administration has for the significance of our parks.

Washington, DC – The Trump Administration’s budget plan for 2021 proposes serious cuts to the National Park Service and other federal agencies that if enacted, would jeopardize the protection, maintenance and operation of our more than 400 national parks across the country.

The administration’s budget calls for a total cut of $587 million (17 percent) to the National Park Service. The budget also proposes a $2.4 billion (26 percent) cut to the EPA, the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act so we can drink clean water and enjoy scenic national park vistas unmarred by air pollution. Additionally, it nearly zeros out funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a critical conservation tool that supports local tourism and recreational economies and enhances opportunities for the American public to enjoy access to its public lands.

Below is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association:

“This budget is nothing short of insulting. Every American should be offended by how little the administration has prioritized our national parks and public lands. Once again, the president’s proposed budget targets nearly every segment of our environment from the air we breathe to the water we drink, cutting millions of dollars from the EPA, the agency charged with protecting human health and our environment, as well as eliminating critical funding for programs that protect our nation’s waterways, such as the Chesapeake Bay.

“In a matter of weeks, the administration has dismantled some of our nation’s most fundamental environmental laws that protect clean water and air. All while blatantly ignoring the impacts of climate change on our public lands and bulldozing and blowing up a national park and sacred sites to build an unnecessary wall. This budget is yet another example of the lack of understanding and respect this administration has for the significance of our parks and public lands.

“If Congress cares about the future of our national parks and public lands, this proposed budget should be a nonstarter.”

Park-related budget items include:

  • Cuts $60 million from the budget to operate national parks, funding critical to ensuring parks can meet their mission to protect park resources and ensure a quality visitor experience.
  • Cuts desperately needed deferred maintenance funding for our parks that are already faced with nearly $12 billion in backlogged repair needs.
  • Requests an additional $2 billion in border wall funding, on top of the billions of taxpayer dollars already being wasted to build an unnecessary wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The construction of a 30-foot steel bollard wall currently underway in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has resulted in bulldozed cacti, the destruction of Tohono O’odham sacred sites and likely long-term devastation of this national park.
  • Guts the Land and Water Conservation Fund, virtually eliminating initiatives to protect our parks from incompatible residential and commercial development.
  • Zeroes out the National Heritage Area program, which supports local tourism economies by providing opportunities for historic preservation and interpretation.
  • Cuts nearly $86 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), including decreased funding for programs dedicated to protecting and recovering species listed under the Endangered Species Act. More than 600 threatened and endangered species have habitat in national parks and USFWS is a vital partner in ensuring these fish, wildlife and plants remain part of our national park ecosystems.
  • Cuts funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program by 91 percent. With more than 50 national parks in the watershed, virtually eliminating the Chesapeake Bay Program threatens the overall health of the Chesapeake by stopping the progress made to restore native oysters, which help filter and remove pollution.
  • Eliminates funds for the centennial challenge, undermining projects addressing deferred maintenance and other improvements to the visitor experience.
  • Increases funding by $50 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ South Florida Ecosystem Restoration program, a much-needed federal investment that will advance critical water infrastructure projects under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and help restore federal and tribal lands in South Florida, including Everglades and Biscayne National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve.
  • Maintains funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) at $320 million, which is the amount appropriated by Congress this year. The GLRI funds projects that clean up toxic hot spots, restore habitat and protect water quality in the Great Lakes and surrounding national parks.
  • Maintains support for Congress’ effort to address $6.5 billion in deferred maintenance through the Restore Our Parks Act.
  • Continues to fund the damaging departmental reorganization that threatens to dismantle the Bureau of Land Management.

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.4 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.