The budget proposal devised by Republican Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would potentially close National Parks, cut off valuable water resources to the West, slash clean energy funding, encourage more destructive wildfires, and put the health of Native Americans at risk. These impacts were detailed today in an analysis released by the Natural Resources Committee Democratic staff, at the direction of Ranking Member Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Starting in 2014, the Ryan budget would reduce spending on natural resource and environmental agencies like the Department of Interior, the National Parks Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs by 14.8 percent from 2012 levels. This would reduce funding for agencies in the jurisdiction of the House Natural Resources Committee by more than $3.5 billion. Cuts of this magnitude could eliminate more than 73,000 jobs in the economy, according to the analysis.
"We already knew the Ryan budget would end Medicare as we know it, but it would also shut down our parks and leave Americans more vulnerable to dangerous wildfires," said Rep. Markey. "This slash and burn approach to our budgetary problems will end jobs, end vacations, and even possibly end lives."
Some of the cuts detailed in the report include:
-- Funding for our National Parks could be slashed by over $380 million per year, threatening the closure or degradation of our most treasured places like Yellowstone or Yosemite.
-- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would lose nearly $218 million, including $26 million from an already inadequate budget for protecting endangered species.
-- The Ryan budget could lead to a cut of 59 employees from current levels to oversee the safety of offshore oil drilling, even in the wake of the BP oil spill disaster.
--An overall reduction in funding of nearly $725 million for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, impacting nearly 15,000 jobs and impairing NOAA's ability to predict weather and ensure that ocean fisheries are not depleted.
--Cut the Indian Health Services budget by $637 million, which along with the Ryan-proposed cuts to Medicaid would put more Native Americans at risk for disease.
The analysis notes that these cuts all come without any reform to the outdated mining or grazing laws that shortchange the American taxpayer, or ending the free drilling that is currently occurring in the Gulf of Mexico. The Romney-Ryan ticket also does not support revoking the more than $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies given every year to the oil industry.