March 21, 2017

Cortez Masto, Colleagues Slam Trump’s Department of the Interior Budget

Senators Point to Harmful Cuts, Reckless Deregulation Within DOI Budget Blueprint in Letter to Trump

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined eleven of her colleagues today to send a letter to President Trump calling on him to work with Democrats to reverse the indiscriminate cuts in his proposed budget for the Department of Interior (DOI) and instead make important infrastructure investments of the sort he called for during his campaign. 

“We write to express our dismay about the proposed cuts to programs within the Department of the Interior in your proposed budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018. The overall $1.5 billion cut…would undercut your previous commitments to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, particularly in areas where we had hoped to find common ground,” the senators wrote.

The senators also denounced the Trump administration’s actions to roll back regulations designed to ensure the health and safety of all Americans and secure a fair return to taxpayers for use of their natural resources. 

“The blueprint’s proposal to boost leasing and permitting for fossil fuel production, combined with your Administration’s actions to roll back regulations that keep Americans safe and healthy and ensure a fair return to taxpayers, is deeply disappointing. In less than two months in office, your Administration has checked off an industry wish list of regulatory rollbacks,” the senators continued. 

The senators went through a laundry list of the other harmful proposals included in the Trump DOI budget. Those include: attacks on the government’s efforts to fight climate change, cuts to science at the U.S. Geological Survey, cuts to the National Park Service, cuts to investments in our outdoor recreation infrastructure, cuts to federal firefighting budgets, and shameful cuts to tribal programs that would undermine treaty, trust and other legal obligations to Indian Country.

“Taken together, your Administration’s one-two punch of budget-slashing and regulation-trashing may satisfy some radically conservative factions but undermines the types of infrastructure investments we had hoped to support,” the senators concluded.

ENC Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) led the letter, and in addition to Cortez Masto is co-signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Read full text of the letter here.