PHOTO: Old Faithful erupts in Yellowstone National Park (photo via Flickr/screaming_monkey)
Donald Trump followed through on another campaign promise. This weekend, it was announced that he would be donating the entirety of his paychecks for the first quarter of the year to the National Park Service.
At a press briefing, Sean Spicer presented a check in the amount of $78,333.32 to interior secretary Ryan Zinke.
"The Park Service has cared for our parks since 1916, and the president is personally proud to contribute the first quarter of his salary to the important mission of the Park Service, which is preserving our country's national security," Spicer said at the briefing.
The gesture is largely symbolic. The National Park Service is facing steep budget cuts imposed by Trump to the tune of $1.5 billion.
Still, Zinke noted that he was “thrilled” with the donation and said that the money would go to “infrastructure of our nation’s battlefields” which need between $100 to $229 million in deferred maintenance.
While improvements to historic battlefields will be nice, Zinke also discussed his department’s plans for coal in the parks. He noted that, for our country’s national security and job creation, it was important to open up our national parks to coal mining.
READ MORE: Report: The Most-Popular National Parks in the US
“Environmentally, it's better to produce energy here under reasonable regulation than watch it get produced overseas with none,” he said when asked about opening up national park lands because of the “war on coal.”
Critics are quick to point out that coal is probably not going to be a big win for the national parks. Environmental agencies are already contesting the new coal policy.
“No one voted to pollute our public lands, air or drinking water in the last election, yet the Trump administration is doing the bidding of powerful polluters as nearly its first order of business,” Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine, the lead litigator in the case, said in a statement posted on Reuters.
While the new Department of Interior may not be seen as environmentally friendly, it's certainly aiming to be more cuddly. Zinke also noted during the White House briefing that his Department of the Interior would pilot the “first-ever dog-friendly” department. Keep an eye out for Puppy Day.