A new White House web page is asking Americans which agencies they’d like to see reformed and dismantled. Among the choices are the National Park Service, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as other departments. It is jarring to realize the Trump administration’s first steps are simply asking agencies they want to get rid of.
The Trump administration is leading the war on conservation – perhaps the Pope’s gentle hint might change his mind? It aims at the National Park Service as well as other national monuments. The attack on wildlife and important ecological landscapes should not be treated with such minimal regard. In fact, rarely do we see attacks on lands, waters or wildlife in such a stark and unmediated light.
Surely enough, the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management are among those at risk of being eliminated. However, people can vote on these options through a new portal at whitehouse.gov, between now and June 12th.
All agencies—including the White House itself—are up for the vote. But the survey is in tandem with the worldview of an administration that has advised starvation-diet funding for conservation agencies, even when they provide a sizeable return on taxpayer investment.
In its 2018 ‘America First’ budget plan, the Trump administration will cut the funding of the Environmental Protection Program (EPA) by $2.6 billion. That is a 31 percent decrease from previous year. This, the blueprint says, will result in fewer local and grants programs, and 3,200 fewer jobs at the agency.
Budget cuts are proposed under already critical times for the National Parks Service. The National Parks Conservation Association mentions a maintenance backlog of $12 billion. Add to that a decrease in staff and services to manage a larger crowd than ever.
It is, therefore, important to get involved in this survey. Let the Trump administration know there is no interest in eliminating critical agencies that protect wild lands, clean air and water.
Ridding of important wildlife protections has been connected to Trump and Congress’ plan to give public lands away for the sake of fossil fuel companies and other developers. Anti-conservation members of Congress work to undo protections of wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks across the country under Trump. The efforts include a public shutout from decisions of drilling, mining and logging on public lands, and opening the Arctic Ocean to drilling.
Among other consequences, if land agencies are eliminated or their budgets cut severely, it results in:
- understaffed parks, which are vulnerable to crime
- limited ability in the Forest Service to fight wildfires
- diminished recovery efforts for endangered species in wildlife refuges
- trails and roads incapable of reparation
Thus, to prevent any harm to wildlife agencies and our National Park Service, make your voice heard.