Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., was appointed to co-chair the deficit-reduction “supercommittee.” The need for responsible action is clearer now more than ever. With the right leadership, I hope we’ll renew economic growth and reduce our nation’s budget deficit.
Budget cuts must be made to restore the economy, but it’s equally important that conservation programs providing benefits to both our nation and economy, like the Conservation Reserve Program, are properly funded. Conservation programs provide cost-effective ways to conserve wildlife habitat, prevent erosion, keep drinking water clean and promote outdoor recreation. In Washington state alone, there are 754,000 sportsmen using these resources, who have a $1.4 billion annual impact on our state’s economy and support more than 19,800 jobs. Conservation programs are community investments that benefit everyone.
Potential cuts to conservation not only threaten America’s outdoor legacy, but could hurt countless local economies and small businesses that depend on the outdoor sporting community. Cutting these programs would be a cavalier dismissal of the economic and environmental benefits that they provide. I encourage Murray to take a fair, balanced approach in the upcoming budget cuts and remember that our precious outdoor resources won’t last forever.