Several environmental and progressive groups visited U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s (R) Las Vegas office to urge him to vote against Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts. The Nevada Conservation League then delivered 408 handwritten letters to Heller’s office opposing cuts to environmental health programs. They want Senator Heller to stick to his word and vote against an anti-Nevada budget.
What’s at stake in the Trump budget?
Often lost amidst Donald Trump’s self-inflicted political drama is what his proposed policies will do to the federal government and communities across the nation. Though Congress passed an interim spending bill in May that mostly rejected Trump’s proposed budget cuts, Trump is trying again. His proposed 2018 budget includes the same 31% cut to EPA programs, and a 12% cut to the Interior Department’s budget that would result in a loss of at least 4,000 workers.
Just outside Senator Heller’s Las Vegas office, Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Andy Maggi spoke about how Trump’s budget hits home. In addition to the cuts mentioned above, Trump wants to cut $230 million from Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA) funds that Nevada relies upon for various environmental programs. Trump also wants to cut as much as 10% from the PILT program that rural communities particularly rely upon, something that Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen confirmed following Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to Nevada last week.
Watch our interview with Andy Maggi on how Trump’s budget cuts hit Nevada.
Nevada Conservation League's Andy Maggi on how #trumpbudget hits Nevada
Posted by Nevada Forward on Thursday, July 6, 2017
Local business owner Bruce Cunningham also addressed Trump’s budget cuts. As an environmental professional, he explained how public sector cuts lead to private sector pain as well. As funds are removed from things like clean air programs, they force private sector contractors to reduce their staff while more people suffer from heavier pollution (due to the EPA having less money available to enforce clean air laws).
Additional speakers denounced Donald Trump’s environmental budget cuts during the press conference outside Senator Heller’s office. Battle Born Progress Deputy Director Maria-Teresa Liebermann noted Trump’s environmental flip-flops as she also recalled Senator Dean Heller’s description of Trump’s budget as “anti-Nevada”. “[Trump’s] priorities do not include our environment or our lands. […] This limits our access and our enjoyment of our parks.”
Watch the full press conference outside Senator Heller’s office.
Tell Senator Dean Heller to support Nevadans and oppose Trumps Proposed Congressional budget that would cut the EPA's budget by 31%
Posted by Chispa Nevada on Thursday, July 6, 2017
Following the press conference, activists delivered 408 handwritten letters to Senator Heller’s office. All of these letters urge Senator Heller to oppose Trump’s budget and his proposed cuts to environmental programs.
— Nevada Forward (@NevadaForward) July 6, 2017
Beyond SNPLMA and the Trump Administration’s $120 million request to open the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project, Senator Dean Heller has spoken little in public about Donald Trump’s overall budget request. Other Republicans in Congress have criticized the amount in cuts Trump wants, though they’ve suggested some cuts may be on the table. Congress has until September 30 to pass a new budget for the 2018 fiscal year.