Interior Budget Emphasizes Fiscal Responsibility, Cost-Effective Government, Strategic Investments in Treasured Landscapes, Energy, Climate Impacts

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama's proposed $12.2 billion budget for the Department of the Interior in fiscal year 2011 is a fiscally responsible plan that will enable the nation's largest land manager to carry out its stewardship responsibilities more effectively while making strategic investments in priority initiatives that address major challenges facing the nation, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated today.

“The President is making tough choices in difficult economic times, cutting costs and holding the line on spending by ending ineffective programs and supporting cost-efficient initiatives,” Salazar said in announcing the Department's proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2010. “Through our collective effort in protecting America's natural resources and cultural heritage, we support 1.3 million jobs and generate over $370 billion in economic activity each year. Interior plays a key role in responsibly developing America's new energy frontier, tackling the impacts of climate change, preserving America's treasured landscapes and empowering Tribal nations.”

“Our mission is as simple as it is profound: we protect America's natural resources and cultural heritage. The 2011 budget will allow us to carry out our stewardship responsibilities in a way that provides the American people the maximum value for their tax dollars and a fair return for the resources we manage in their name,” said Salazar.

In 2009, the Secretary began implementing ethics reforms throughout the Department and oil and gas reforms in Bureau of Land Management and Minerals Management Service. The 2011 budget continues the Secretary's aggressive agenda for reform. The Administration's request for Interior contains $750 million in reductions and terminations of lower priority programs and elimination of one-time funding. The 2011 budget is $38.7 million or 0.3 percent below the level enacted by Congress for 2010.

The budget proposes investments for high priority goals and initiatives that move the Department in a new direction. In 2010 the Department began an aggressive program to tackle these challenges and the 2011 budget continues these areas, including the following:

  • Implementing a comprehensive New Energy Frontier strategy that creates jobs, reduces the Nation's dependence on foreign oil and reduces carbon emissions. The budget proposes a $73 million investment in renewable energy programs, an increase of $14.2 million over 2010; and $4.4 million in increases to support oil and natural gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf;
  • Confronting the realities of climate change through an integrated strategy for Climate Change Adaptation. The proposed budget seeks $171.3 million for this initiative, an increase of $35.4 million over 2010, to carry out the Department's integrated program.
  • Tackling the water challenges facing the country with a new strategy to Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow (WaterSMART). The budget contains $72.9 million for this initiative, an increase of $36.4 million over 2010.
  • Engaging America's Youth in Natural Resources. The 2011 budget contains $45.4 million to engage, employ and educate the next generation of conservation leaders, an increase of $9.3 million to help our children get close to nature while conserving the natural resources on which their future depends.
  • Developing a 21st Century conservation agenda that protects Treasured Landscapes. In addition to funding national parks, refuges and recreation areas, the 2011 DOI budget includes increases of $106.0 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund programs and $71.4 million in other key investments in restoration projects in the Chesapeake Bay, California's Bay Delta, the Gulf Coast, Klamath River Basin, and Everglades.
  • Honoring trust responsibilities and Empowering Tribal Nations. The budget calls for a total of $2.6 billion to honor our commitments to the American Indian and Alaska Native communities, including new investments in tribal self-determination, law enforcement, trust management and tribal self-determination.

The Department will gage its progress in achieving high priority goals for renewable energy development, water conservation, youth in natural resources, climate change adaptation, and improving the safety of Indian communities through a series of High Priority Performance Goals. The budget reflects the tough economic realities of the times and underscores Interior's efforts to be fiscally responsible. In 2011, Interior will continue an exemplary record of producing revenue for the U.S. Treasury, collecting an estimated $14 billion, more than offsetting the budget request for current appropriations. That total includes about $11.6 billion in revenue from the sale of mineral resources, including oil and natural gas.

Using the President's SAVE awards, the Department is proposing $82.0 million in Department-wide and bureau specific management efficiencies. There are an additional $668 million in program reductions, terminations, and discontinuation of unrequested congressional increases. Interior will exercise additional cost containment, as most of the increases in fixed costs for Interior bureaus and offices, an estimated $108.7 million, will be absorbed. The budget request includes $4.6 million to fund anticipated 2011 fixed cost increases, such as employee benefits, pay raises and other cost-of-doing business expenses, for Interior's salary-intensive components.

The 2011 budget request includes $11.1 billion for DOI programs funded by the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which does not include the Bureau of Reclamation. This is $16.7 million, or 0.2 percent, below the level enacted for 2010. The 2011 request for the Bureau of Reclamation and the Central Utah Project Completion Act, funded in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, is $1.1 billion, $22.0 million or 2.0 percent below the level enacted for 2010. Permanent funding that becomes available as a result of existing legislation without further action by the Congress will provide an additional $5.8 billion to the current appropriations request, for appropriations totaling $18 billion for Interior in 2011.

Initiative Highlights

New Energy Frontier – The Secretary's New Energy Frontier initiative will create clean sources of energy using the Nation's vast domestic resources while continuing to develop conventional energy supplies. Increases include $3 million for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to focus on the environmental elements of renewable energy projects, $3.2 million for Minerals Management Service (MMS) region-specific planning needs, $3.0 million for U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to analyze and document the effects of renewable energy on wildlife populations, and $4 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conduct endangered species consultations and help plan and design renewable energy projects that are wildlife friendly. The budget continues support for the development of conventional energy, including an increase of $4.4 million for the MMS 2007-2012 five year program and $10 million for audit costs that can no longer be funded by the Royalty-in-Kind program, which is slated for termination. BIA's budget includes an increase of $1.5 million for conventional energy leasing activities on the Fort Berthold Reservation. BLM's oil and gas program capacity is maintained at last year's level, with a $3 million reduction reflecting the completion of an energy study. The budget includes additional user fees to help offset BLM and MMS oil and gas program costs. MMS inspection fees on Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas facilities will be doubled to generate roughly $20 million in FY 2011 and a comparable new fee for BLM onshore oil and gas inspections is expected to generate $10 million in FY 2011.

Climate Change Adaptation – This initiative will examine the causes and formulate solutions to mitigate climate impacts to lands, waters, natural and cultural resources. Interior's Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives will conduct and communicate research and monitoring to improve understanding and forecasting of which elements of our land, water, marine, fish and wildlife and cultural heritage resources are most vulnerable to climate change impacts and make them more resilient. The budget includes $8.0 million for continued investments in the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, which will serve as the nexus for the eight Interior Climate Science Centers; $1.0 million for expanded monitoring by USGS and $8.0 million for FWS monitoring that will be integrated, standardized, and accessible to Interior bureaus, partners, and the public; $2.0 million for expansion of the USGS carbon sequestration project; $8.8 million to expand FWS science and planning capacity in support of additional Landscape Conservation Cooperatives; and $2.5 million for BLM and $2.0 Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) adaptive management activities on private lands. In the 2011 budget, the Bureau of Reclamation and BIA also include climate change funding, including $3.5 million for Reclamation basin studies and scientific support and $200,000 for BIA participation in a Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Empowering Tribal Nations – At a November 2009 White House Tribal Nations Conference, the President pledged to strengthen Nation-to-Nation relationships, improve the tribal consultation process, and empower strong and stable Indian communities. The 2011 budget advances Nation-to-Nation relationships and Indian self-determination by providing additional funding of $21.5 million for contract support costs and the Indian Self-Determination Fund, $3 million to assist with the unique needs of small and needy Tribes, and $2 million for social services. It protects Indian Country by providing $19 million to increase the number of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who are on-the-ground and dedicated to Indian Country; advances Indian education with $8.9 million to address environmental and security concerns at BIE schools and strengthen grant support funding for tribally operated BIE schools; and improves trust land management with increases of $11.8 million to promote both renewable and conventional development on tribal lands, defend and assert Indian water rights, and assist Tribes with dam safety. The budget reflects a reduction of $53.6 million from the 2010 level because of a $50 million reduction in one-time 2010 funding to forward fund tribal colleges and anticipated efficiency savings.

WaterSMART - The 2011 budget proposes a sustainable water strategy to assist local communities in stretching water supplies and improving water management. The Bureau of Reclamation will receive $62 million, an increase of $27.4 million, to improve water management by encouraging voluntary water banks; assisting local communities by partnering with non-Federal stakeholders to develop incentives and best practices for implementing water conservation and waste recycling projects. The USGS will use $10.9 million, a $9 million increase, for a multi-year, nationwide water availability and use assessment.

Treasured Landscapes – The budget will allow Interior to intensify efforts to protect treasured landscapes; to participate in major restoration efforts to restore, protect, and preserve key ecosystems; and to operate and maintain landscapes.

The 2011 budget calls for $445.4 million, an increase of $106.2 million, for Department of the Interior Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) programs to acquire new park, refuge, and public lands, protect endangered species habitat, and promote outdoor recreation. Total LWCF funding in 2011 for Interior and the U.S. Forest Service is 619.2 million, a 29 percent increase over the 2010 enacted level and a 104 percent increase over the 2009 level. With these consecutive increases, appropriations from the LWCF are on track to reach the full funding level of $900 million in 2014.

The budget also includes an increase of $71.4 million targeted to key ecosystems for restoration and renewal. This includes an increase of $50.6 million for the Bureau of Reclamation, FWS, and USGS to conduct studies, projects and other efforts in the California Bay-Delta, including habitat restoration, the development of fish screens and fish ladders, eradication or mitigation of invasive species, as well as various water quality and quantity studies and assessments. The Interior budget also provides program increases of $6 million for Everglades restoration; $5 million for FWS to support the restoration of key fish and wildlife habitat along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi; and $10 million to conserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay's cultural and natural resources. The Department is also active in Great Lakes restoration efforts. The 2011 EPA budget request includes a provisional allocation of $50.2 million planned for allocation to FWS, USGS, NPS and BIA for restoration, monitoring and other activities.

Protection, promotion, and preservation of treasured landscapes also involve the operation and maintenance of national parks, refuges, and units of the National Landscape Conservation System, all of which contain breathtaking vistas, historic and cultural assets, and important ecological resources.

  • The 2011 budget for the National Landscape Conservation System in BLM is $65.4 million, a net increase of $1.3 million over 2010. There is an increase of $1.3 million for management of new wilderness areas designated by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.
  • The NPS budget includes $2.3 billion for park operations, an increase of $35.3 million, or nearly two percent, above the 2010 enacted level. The budget continues $5 million in appropriations and $5 million in recreation fee funding for the Park Partnerships program, which will match partner donations with Federal funds for high priority projects at national parks.
  • The 2011 FWS budget for Refuge System Operations includes $499.5 million, a net reduction of $3.3 million. Within that amount, however, are increases of $8 million for climate science inventory and monitoring, $2 million for youth programs, and $3.3 million for ecosystems. These increases are offset by $10.0 million in reductions for discontinued congressional earmarks, termination of the Challenge Cost Share program, and management efficiencies.

Youth in Natural Resources – The future of resource conservation depends upon the next generation's understanding of and connection to natural resources and cultural treasures. The budget increases for this initiative include $5.8 million for youth employment and education programs in the national park system and $2 million for youth programs at national wildlife refuges. The budget also includes $2 million for FWS and BLM to join with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in public-private partnerships to promote priority species conservation on both public and private lands. The NPS also will dedicate $6.4 million of recreation fees collected at parks to youth projects that benefit the visitor experience. This is an additional $2 million over the 2010 level.

Responsibly Budgeting for Wildfire – The budget responsibly budgets for wildfires and includes $933.9 million for Wildland Fire Management, an increase of $78 million. The 10-year average of suppression costs is fully funded.

The budget proposes continuation of a regular suppression account and the FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund, and includes a new Presidential Wildfire Contingency Reserve account. Regular suppression will support initial attack and predictable firefighting costs; the FLAME funds will be used in cases of severe, complex, and threatening fires and be used as a contingency reserve. The Presidential Contingency Reserve would require the issuance of a Presidential Finding when the suppression and FLAME appropriations are soon to be exhausted. There is a proposed program reduction of $42.6 million in the hazardous fuels reduction program. Fire management resources would be used in a cost-effective manner in high priority areas, such as the Wildland Urban Interface to more effectively reduce the risk of wildfire to communities.

Wild Horse and Burro Strategy – The 2011 budget begins implementation of a new national management strategy for protecting America's wild horses and the open lands they roam. The budget includes $75.7 million, an increase of $12 million for the Wild Horse and Burro Management program that will fund management of sustainable herds on western rangelands through the aggressive application of fertility control, establishment of wild horse preserves, and special designations for selected herds in the West. The 2011 budget includes $42.5 million in land acquisition funding for one wild horse preserve.

More detailed information is in the FY2011 Interior Budget in Brief which is available online at: and at

The Secretary's full remarks can be viewed here.

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