October 25, 2017

Proposed Policy Change at DOI Would Fail to Protect National Lands, Parks from Climate Impacts

Statement by Adam Markham, Deputy Director of Climate and Energy

WASHINGTON (October 25, 2017)—According to news reports, the latest draft of the Department of Interior’s (DOI) strategic vision for 2018 through 2022, fails to mention climate change entirely. This would be a complete policy reversal by the Trump administration from the department's previous five-year strategic plan covering 2014 through 2018, which detailed the growing threat climate change poses to the lands, waters, wildlife and tribal communities in the U.S. based on the best science available, and prioritized climate change preparedness and resilience policies.

Below is a statement by Adam Markham, deputy director of climate and energy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“The evidence of harmful climate change impacts to America’s public lands is nearly everywhere you look. From the loss of tribal resources and coastal erosion in Alaska, to catastrophic wildfires in the West, to worsening storm damage and flood risk on the East Coast. A year ago, it would’ve been unfathomable that the agency charged with protecting our natural and cultural resources would willfully ignore known threats like climate change. Sadly, the unthinkable is now reality.

“Some of the nation’s most important climate science work and development of strategies to safeguard the places we value from dangers posed by climate change are being carried out by the Department of the Interior. If their new strategic plan eliminates climate change work completely, vital programs, including within the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will no doubt be at risk. Such a move would confirm that President Trump and Secretary Zinke are more committed to turning our public lands into a playground for the fossil fuel and timber industries than protecting these treasured resources for all Americans to enjoy.” 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.