“It’s fitting for President Trump to release his budget in March, because this is simply madness,” said Cam Witten, Government Relations and Budget Specialist at The Wilderness Society.
In a preview of what could happen with offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean, an underwater natural gas pipeline has been leaking in Alaska since December, and no repair is expected until late April, at the earliest.
As part of a historically low domestic spending proposal, President Trump wants to cut funding for the Department of the Interior by about 12 percent, selling out public lands and severely undermining the booming outdoor recreation economy. Additionally, Trump’s budget would slash the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 31 percent, eliminating thousands of jobs from that agency.
For years, the Sonoran Desert National Monument has been at the center of a debate about recreational target shooting on public lands, which can damage archaeological sites, plants and the landscape itself (not to mention the threat posed to other park visitors).
Experts and politicians on both sides of the aisle recognize the need to improve infrastructure in the U.S., and numerous pieces of legislation have been introduced in recent years to advance energy infrastructure in particular.
The current Congress’ first attack on the Antiquities Act comes in the form of a House subcommittee hearing on the creation of marine monuments, where anti-public lands lawmakers will argue to greatly curb the presidents’ ability to protect parks for future generations.