The Trump administration released its infrastructure plan and proposed budget for 2019. One conservation organization believes it will have brutal impacts on national parks.
President Trump and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke’s, proposed budget requests a 16 percent cut from the Department of Interior’s 2018 budget. It also prioritizes energy and mineral development on public lands, cuts that Zinke calls unnecessary or duplicated programs, and has language detailing requirements for selling off public lands.
The Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group, argues the plan would allow for the privatization of entire national parks, and a proposed staff cut would be devastating. Aaron Weiss, media director at the Center for Western Priorities, said the best-case scenario is that entrance fees to parks would be way too expensive for the average American.
“The worst case scenario is much, much worse,” said Weiss. “And that’s trophy homes inside our national parks. If your national parks are privatized there would be nothing from stopping that everywhere.”
He said thankfully Congress controls spending, so the infrastructure plan and proposed budget will not be followed word by word.
“The real-life impact of this proposal, thankfully, will be quite small,” said Weiss. “But the fact that this is the road that President Trump and Secretary Zinke now want to go down as they debate an infrastructure bill, should be very concerning to every American.”