Conservation, Science Programs Slashed in President’s Budget Proposal

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from its President and CEO, Mark R. Tercek, regarding President Trump’s FY 2018 budget proposal.

ARLINGTON, VA | March 16, 2017

“The president’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes $54 billion in cuts to most federal agencies in order to reallocate more funds to military spending. This misguided approach assumes that the security and prosperity of our country must come at the expense of critical federal investments in our natural resources. On the contrary, natural resources lie at the very heart of our security and prosperity.

“This proposal includes dramatic cuts for conserving natural resources, addressing climate change, investing in science and helping the international community address environmental challenges. These are all important functions of our government that advance the security and well-being of all Americans. Protecting our land, water and air is not optional.

“Clean air, clean water, resilient communities and a healthy economy must be priorities, and the dangers from climate change cannot be ignored. We have seen these impacts on our own properties, and see the potential for climate change to undermine the Conservancy’s conservation work of the past 65 years. We strongly support sustaining the progress the U.S. has made toward an advanced energy economy and to implementing the Paris Agreement.

“There is a better way. Instead of cutting spending for natural resources, we should invest in these resources. Investing in nature brings strong returns for our security, the economy and our communities and families. Consider the economic upside to investing in climate solutions—lower energy bills through energy efficiency, more jobs from increased renewable energy, and a more secure energy supply through grid modernization. Or think about the $646-billion outdoor recreation economy fueled by this nation’s lands and waters. Add in the 3 million jobs provided by healthy and productive forests, plus the 17.3 million agriculture jobs that depend on healthy soils and 1.8 million more that need healthy fisheries. Finally, remember the value of natural defenses, such as the coastal wetlands that shielded communities and saved $625 million in flood damages during Hurricane Sandy.

“The costs of not investing in nature are high. We’ll see a continuing need for costly investments to clean our water and air, repair damaged communities after floods and fire disasters, and more. And, pulling back on American investments in international conservation jeopardizes work supporting sustainable livelihoods, political stability and good governance in difficult regions of the world—undermining our national security and economic objectives.

“To Congress, we ask you to embrace a budget that advances security, prosperity, and the environment, as these are three interconnected pillars. We are grateful for many years of congressional support for conservation and science funding, and we hope you will continue that bipartisan tradition. Investing in nature unites all Americans, and we look forward to working with you for strong funding to protect land, water and air for people and nature.”


The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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Heather Layman



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