President Trump’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service.
The Park Service budget would drop by about 15 percent under the White House plan. That could mean layoffs for park rangers and administrators.
The proposal also includes cutting federal dollars for land acquisition. This could hamper the role of the Land and Water Conservation Fund which buys up and protects public lands across the country.
That announcement was confusing to some conservation groups because the President just signed the bipartisan public lands bill that permanently authorized funding for the program.
The proposal does increase funding for agencies to streamline the oil and gas permitting process.
"President Trump and David Bernhardt if left to their own devices would just turn our public lands into a canvas for oil, gas coal extraction,” says Aaron Weiss with Center for Western Priorities. He says the plan reflects the administration's priorities.
In a statement, Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says the proposal strikes a reasonable balance. "The FY 2020 budget proposal continues to ensure we are focused on providing public access to the American People, creating jobs and economic growth, protecting our natural and cultural resources, enhancing safety and security, promoting healthy working rangelands, increasing energy security, and restoring infrastructure,” he says.
Congress doesn’t have to act on the President’s budget -- it’s just his recommendation.
Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.