Pruitt belongs to a movement that believes the federal government has little role in safeguarding our well-being. History proves that weakening or eliminating the EPA will result in dirtier air, more polluted water, and environmental disasters on a scale not seen for decades.

Brian Palmer, Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)

National parks rely on the EPA to implement and enforce laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act so visitors can breathe healthy air, swim in clean water and enjoy scenic vistas unmarred by haze pollution. However, proposed budget cuts to EPA will make it impossible to protect and restore our national parks from air and water pollution and climate change by eliminating critical programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Proposed budget cuts include:

Cuts to land acquisition program that helps protect parks from development within their borders. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical to protecting areas within national parks from commercial and residential development and enjoys broad bipartisan support. Cutting this funding fails to recognize the program’s success as one of America’s most effective conservation tools protecting national parks and other public lands important to Americans.

Elimination of funding for the National Heritage Area program, a $19 million program which supports historic and cultural resource preservation at sites all across the United States through innovative public-private partnerships. They include Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, which helped fund a shuttle system that has increased heritage tourism revenue throughout the Niagara region and at local historical assets like Old Fort Niagara, and Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, which finances preservation of the canal with revenue generated from a restored hydropower power plant.

Elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an important federal funding source that has provided $300 million annually for communities and park restoration projects in the region, is used to restore habitat for birds and fish, control invasive species, and reduce runoff from cities and farms to improve water quality for the more than 30 million Americans that depend on the lakes for their drinking water.

Elimination of the Chesapeake Bay Program. With more than 50 national parks in the watershed, eliminating the Chesapeake Bay Program threatens the overall health of the Chesapeake by stopping the progress made to restore native oysters, which help filter and remove pollution. These cuts would also stop the implementation of the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint – a historic and comprehensive pollution reduction plan for restoring clean water in the region’s streams, creeks and rivers.

Elimination of the South Florida geographic program, which helps ensure clean water flows through Everglades National Park and Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge by monitoring and enforcing the pollution limit and working with the State of Florida on the Stormwater Treatment Areas, a successful state-federal partnership that has resulted in improved water quality for the Everglades.

Elimination of opportunities for local input and environmental review of energy development near national parks and other sensitive areas. Administrative reforms such as the elimination of Planning 2.0 are already threatening the air, water, wildlife and visitor experience at iconic parks such as Zion, Mesa Verde, and Carlsbad Caverns, and further cuts to programs that facilitate a balance between energy development and park protection will only exacerbate these problems.