For Immediate Release
Budget Proposal Doubles Down on Disaster for Wildlife
(February 12, 2018) – President Trump released his proposed federal budget today that drastically cuts funding to vital wildlife agencies and programs, including endangered species recovery, wildlife trafficking prevention and the National Wildlife Refuge System. It comes on the heels of the president’s infrastructure proposal, also released today, that would bulldoze environmental laws on behalf of corporate developers looking to profit at the expense of wildlife, public health and American taxpayers.
Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark issued the following statement:
“Today, President Trump is doubling down on destroying our natural heritage. Trump’s shortsighted budget is an unmitigated disaster for wildlife. It starves agencies of their ability to enforce environmental safeguards, protect our wildlife and manage America’s cherished public lands, while continuing to propose billions for his destructive border wall. This budget should be dead on arrival in Congress. We call on Congressional appropriators to reject this proposal and approve a budget that protects wildlife and their habitat and fully funds vital environmental and wildlife management agencies.”
President Trump’s budget cuts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) overall by nearly 20 percent below the FY 2017 enacted level.
- Funding for decisions about whether to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act would be cut by 47 percent, possibly leading to more species extinctions. This reduction would severely hinder FWS from making progress with its seven-year listing workplan that allows the agency to prioritize more than 300 species for listing decisions. Species awaiting listing decisions include the tricolor blackbird, Sierra Nevada red fox, red-crowned parrot, hellbender, wolverine.
- Funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, which is vital to fighting and prosecuting wildlife trafficking crime would be cut by 7.5 percent.
- Funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System, the largest land and water system in the world dedicated to wildlife conservation would be more than $90 million below the level simply needed to keep up with the FY 2010 level adjusted for inflation. The Refuge System budget is being starved even as the administration last week posted a presolicitation notice for $25 to $100 million for construction of a catastrophic border wall through the ecologically sensitive Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
- Funding for key FWS science programs would be zeroed out.
- Funding for the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund which provides grants to states to conserve threatened and endangered species would be zeroed out.
The budget also plays a shell game with key Bureau of Land Management Wildlife and Fish programs, consolidating them and appears to provide significantly less funding in the process while significantly increasing funding for development of fossil fuels.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.8 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 Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.