Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) voiced concern today over a House budget proposal that would have devastating impacts on the nation’s public lands and the economic benefits they generate. The proposed budget would result in reduced funding for the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, directly impacting land management and access opportunities that generate $646 billion annually in direct economic activity in the United States.
House appropriators submitted a funding proposal to Congress that would cut funding to the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee to 14 percent below current levels, 18 percent below what Congress allocated before sequestration, and 20 percent below President Obama’s budget request. If enacted, such cuts would mean more park closures, greater threats to clean rivers and streams, fewer youth and educational programs, and reduced wildfire protection.
“This is the wrong place to cut the budget,” said Kirk Bailey, vice president of government affairs for OIA. “The nation’s recreation lands are beacons of economic opportunity and directly generate economic activity that is good for communities and this country. This proposal is short-sighted and will create more challenges than it will solve.”
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, when many Americans and international travelers embrace outdoor activities and recreate in outdoor destinations like parks, forests, rivers and lakes across the country. More than 140 million Americans participate in outdoor recreation each year, generating $646 billion in direct spending, supporting 6.1 million American jobs. This activity produces $80 billion in annual federal and state tax revenue, a number far greater than the proposed budget cuts.
In the coming weeks, members of Congress will consider the funding proposal when drafting federal budget bills. OIA urges outdoor industry representatives to contact their members of Congress and express their concern over this proposal.
About Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, go to outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.