A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Summary: Conference Action on the FY 2002 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
Conferees met to complete work on the 2002 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill on October 10, 2001, and filed a conference report on Thursday, October 11, 2001. House and Senate floor action are expected to occur very soon.
In total, the Interior bill provides $19.1 billion, compared to the $18.7 billion Senate bill and the $18.9 billion House-passed bill. The conference bill is $185.9 million or one percent over the 2001 enacted level of $18.9 billion and $1.0 billion or 5.6 percent over the 2002 President's budget request of $18.1 billion. The bill provides a total of $2.2 billion for Interior and Forest Service to implement the National Wildland Fire Plan, including $400.0 million in contingent emergency funding.
For the Department of the Interior, the conference bill provides $9.4 billion. This is $268.7 million or 2.9 percent above the President's budget, and $48.8 million or 0.5 percent above the 2001 enacted level. The 2001 enacted level includes $72.4 million in supplemental funding. Excluding this supplemental funding from the comparison, the 2002 conference bill is $121.2 million or 1.3 percent above the 2001 enacted funding level.
For the priorities requested in the President's budget, the conference bill provides the following:
$144.0 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund State Grants. The Congress did not adopt the President's budget proposal for an expanded LWCF grants program funded at $450.0 million, but reduced funding for State grants and restored funding to a number of wildlife grant programs and the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery program.
$50.0 million for Landowner Incentive and Stewardship Grants. Th is a reduction of $10.0 million from the President's budget request of $60.0 million, the level included in both the House and Senate marks.
$455.9 million is included in the conference bill for NPS construction and repair and rehabilitation, $16.3 million higher than the President's budget request.
$49.5 million for the NPS Natural Resource Challenge. This includes an increase of $20.0 million over the 2001 enacted level, consistent with the President's budget and the House and Senate marks.
$292.5 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs education construction, $3.0 million less than the Senate and the same as the House and the budget request. This includes $122.8 million for six replacement schools, the same as the House and Senate and the President's budget.
$545.1 million for BIA education programs, the same as the Senate and an increase of $2.0 million above the House mark and the President's budget request. The $2.0 million increase is for tribal community colleges.
$60.9 million for Indian land and water settlements, the same as the President's budget request and the amount included in both House and Senate bills.
$228.6 million for trust reform including $118.4 million in BIA programs and $110.2 million in the Office of the Special Trustee. This is the same as the amount requested in the President's budget.
$29.0 million in increases over the 2001 level for energy programs including an increase of $19.0 million for BLM and $10.0 million for MMS' Outer Continental Shelf program.
$678.4 million for wildland fire management. This includes $20.0 million above the request in the President's budget for burned area rehabilitation. The appropriation for wildland fire management includes $54.0 million in contingent emergency funding.
A comparison of funding levels in the conference bill for bureaus is provided as Attachment 1. Attachment 2 provides a comparison of key numbers in the conference mark.
The conferees provided $9.0 million for endangered species listing, an increase of $524,000 above the President's request, and adopted House language establishing a separate spending 'subcap' for critical habitat designation. This differs from bill language proposed in the President's budget to allow FWS to expend listing funds to comply with existing court orders and according to a biologically-based priority system.
The bill includes $1.32 billion for the Conservation Spending Category. This is $112 million more than last year and $62 million more than the President's request. Within this amount there is a total of $1.0 billion for Interior programs, including:
$144 million for LWCF State grants;
$279.2 million for Federal land acquisition;
$85.0 million for State wildlife grants of which $5.0 million is for competitive Tribal grants;
$30.0 million for Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery;
$43.5 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund;
$74.5 million for NPS historic preservation including $30.0 million for the Save America's Treasures program;
$50.0 million for the new FWS Landowner Incentive and Stewardship programs; and
$96.2 million for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.
A summary of funding for CSC is provided in Attachment 3.
The conferees fund Payments in Lieu of Taxes at $210.0 million, $60.0 million above the President's request of $150.0 million.
The conference bill funds Departmental Management at $67.7 million. At this funding level, the $9.0 million cut made in House floor action is restored, and an increase of $3.6 million over the
President's budget is provided for fixed costs.
The conferees agree to funding increases for operational programs, including:
Bureau of Land Management operations are funded at $880.8 million, an increase of $23.5 million over last year.
Fish and Wildlife Service's Resource Management programs are funded at $850.6 million, an increase of $43.8 million over last year.
National Park Service operations including the U.S. Park Police are funded at $1.5 billion, an increase of $76.5 million over 2001.
The conferees agreed on a two-year extension, through 2004, of the Recreation Fee Demonstration program.