Trump budget bad for clean water, cold water fisheries

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Trump Administration budget ignores Americans’ support for clean air and water
Cuts will harm agencies already strapped for funds

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(May 23, 2017) Washington D.C. -- President Trump released his detailed budget today proposing deep cuts to agencies and programs that provide critical funding for air and water quality programs across the country.

Today’s proposal would cut the Environmental Protection Agency by more than 30 percent, undermining critical regional programs in Puget Sound, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay and the state and locally-driven non-point-source pollution control program of the Clean Water Act.

Big cuts are also slated for the Department of the Interior, putting at risk the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Abandoned Mine cleanup grants which restore rivers impaired by mines. The Forest Service will also see cuts, as will the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will see significant cuts impacting anadromous fish restoration and the science and monitoring efforts behind it.

Conservation programs make our air and water cleaner. They improve fish and wildlife habitat and make hunting and fishing better. Investing in places such as the Great Lakes, Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay are investments in the well-being of our kids,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Never before have we seen so much uncertainty when it comes to the health of our rivers and by extension, the health of our country. We are calling on Congress to be a voice of reason and stand up to protect our clean air and water by rejecting these short-sighted cuts. No one should have to worry about whether the water they drink or the air they breathe is polluted because the agency tasked with its protection has been whittled down to nothing.”

For anglers, these cuts are particularly troubling. Major conservation efforts such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program, bi-partisan and highly successful ongoing projects, are being zeroed out of the budget completely. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is an effort to improve fish habitat, populations and the economy dependent on them while the Chesapeake Bay Program, works upstream with local farmers to improve operations and habitat in an effort to deliver clean water into the bay.

“Sportsmen and women are very concerned about this trajectory,” said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs at Trout Unlimited. “We have seen the impact of polluted air and water in the past. Americans would not stand for it then, and they won’t tolerate it now. Agencies such as the EPA are the backstop for our country’s most basic environmental laws - laws that protect us all. Hunter or not, angler or not, we all depend on clean air and clean water.”

From here the budget will go to Congress for approval through the congressional appropriations process, however many lawmakers have indicated they are not likely to support these cuts.

Specific cuts that directly affect cold water conservation and fishing opportunity include:

  • Elimination of all grant and education funding administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including effective research and restoration programs such as SeaGrant and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund which help to conserve and restore critical habitat for salmon, steelhead and trout.
  • 66% reduction in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which leverages matching grant funding from state and private sources to protect open space, enhance outdoor recreation opportunities, and improve access for activities such as fishing and hunting.
  • Significant reduction in funding for the NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which (among other benefits) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural operators who want to create, improve or enhance fish or wildlife habitat for declining species on farms and ranches.

 

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About Trout Unlimited -
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on and , and follow our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.

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