Coalition Among Groups Urging President and Congress to Avoid Shutdown

April 25, 2017

Read this letter as a PDF.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Senate Minority Leader
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
1233 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader
233 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. President, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and House Minority Leader Pelosi,

Our four organizations collectively represent 5,400 federal government retirees who worked for the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service. We encourage your continued leadership in resolving the looming April 28 FY17 budget crisis and preventing a federal government shut down. While numerous valuable programs and people would be negatively impacted by a shut down, we are particularly concerned about the impact on our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national fish hatcheries, resource conservation areas, national forests, and other special lands and waters where people visit and recreate.

Past government shut downs have clearly impacted the conservation and management of the historical, cultural, and natural resources protected on these lands, and the neighboring communities. The already reduced numbers of employees working to properly manage these areas are personally and professionally impacted, as are their families.  More importantly, past shut downs have been documented to have cost billions of dollars to local communities whose citizens and businesses are dependent on the tens of millions of visitors, recreationists, hunters and fishermen that were kept from using these public parks, refuges, monuments, hatcheries, forests, campgrounds, access points and visitor centers. As former agency staff, we believe that furloughing hardworking government employees, spending an inordinate amount of time developing shutdown plans and procedures, implementing human resource protocols, termination of contracts and outreach to permittees, leasees, contractors and the public, and turning away visitors to our parks, monuments, campgrounds, recreation areas, access points, and visitors’ centers is not an acceptable way to run our country’s programs.

While we certainly want the budget to be resolved to avert a shutdown, we ask that it be done without negatively impacting our public lands, natural resources, communities and public servants. We also ask that a budget agreement be clean of environmentally damaging policy riders that would negatively impact our public lands and natural resources, and actually increase future management costs.

Thank you for considering the impacts that a federal government shutdown would have on our public lands and the people who visit and depend on them.  We offer to work together to ensure that the public is provided continued access to these special places.

Sincerely,

Maureen Finnerty
Chair, Executive Council
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks

Jesse J. Juen
President
Public Lands Foundation

Bob Streeter
Chairperson
Association of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Retirees

James L. Caswell
Chairman of the Board
National Association of Forest Service Retirees

Cc:   Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke

Acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Young



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This page last modified: April 24, 2017 @ 4:39 pm