Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
President Proposes $13.2 Billion Budget for Interior Department
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/26/2016
FY 2016 Request Reflects Administration Commitment to Core Missions, Investing in programs to protect important landscapes, responsibly manage energy development, honor Federal trust responsibilities to Native Americans, and help drive and sustain economic growth
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request of $13.2 billion for the Department of the Interior continues the Administration's strong support for Interior's core missions, protecting the nation's cultural and natural heritage, responsibly managing energy development on public lands and waters, investing in science, and honoring the nation's trust responsibilities to Native Americans and Alaska Natives and our special commitments to affiliated island communities.
The $13.2 billion in current discretionary funding for the Interior Department includes a $200 million cap adjustment available in the event of the most severe fire activity. A fact sheet on the Interior Department's FY16 budget is available here.
“This is a forward-looking budget that invests in Interior's key missions so that we can continue to serve the American people,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “The President's budget provides targeted investments to grow our domestic energy portfolio, build climate resilience, and revitalize our national parks as they approach their 100th anniversary. The budget also helps fulfill our Nation's commitments to American Indians and Alaska Natives, including a much-needed and historic investment to help improve education for Indian children.”
The Interior Department's activities contributed an estimated $360 billion to the nation's economy in 2013 and supported more than 2 million American jobs. Energy and mineral development on Interior-managed lands and offshore areas generated more than $237 billion of this economic activity and supported 1.1 million jobs. An estimated 407 million recreational visits to Interior lands – including national parks, wildlife refuges and public lands – contributed $41 billion and supported nearly 355,000 jobs nationwide. Water supply, grazing and timber activities, primarily on public lands in the West, contributed nearly $63 billion and supported more than 400,000 jobs.
In FY 2014, Interior collected more revenue than its annual discretionary appropriation, disbursing more than $14.7 billion during FY 2014 to various federal, state and American Indian accounts. In 2016, the Department will generate an estimated $13.8 billion in receipts that are shared among state, local and federal governments.
The 2016 budget proposal is an increase of $959.2 million, about 8 percent, over the 2015 enacted level. It includes $11.9 billion for Interior programs funded by the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriation, and $1.1 billion for Interior's Bureau of Reclamation and Central Utah Project Completion Act, funded in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act. The budget would generate $5.6 billion in savings over 10 years through legislative reform proposals, including oil and gas management reforms to encourage diligent development of Federal energy resources while providing a fair return to taxpayers from royalty and other reforms.
Budget Highlights Include:
Land and Water Conservation Fund. On the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act, the budget proposes full funding for LWCF programs. The innovative, highly successful program reinvests royalties from offshore oil and gas activities into public lands, enabling access for sportsmen and hunters, protecting historic battlefields and providing grants to states for recreation and conservation projects. In 2016, the budget proposes a total of $400 million in discretionary funding and $500 million in mandatory funding for LWCF programs. From Maine to Kansas and up to Washington and Alaska, the FY 2016 request includes 105 projects in 39 states.
NPS Centennial Funding. The budget makes investments to launch a historic effort during the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service to celebrate and revitalize national parks and public lands, and connect a new generation to the great outdoors. The budget includes funding in 2016 to allow the National Park Service to make targeted, measurable upgrades over the next ten years to all of its highest priority, non-transportation assets, restoring and maintaining them in good condition. The budget also proposes $150 million in discretionary and mandatory funding for a Centennial Challenge matching program to leverage private donations to parks, and $100 million in mandatory funding for a Public Lands Centennial Fund that competitively awards funds to Federal land management agencies for signature projects and programs.
Commemorating America's Civil Rights History. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the 2016 budget proposes $50 million to restore and highlight key sites across the country that tell the story of the struggle for civil rights. State, local and tribal governments may also apply for grants to document and preserve stories and other sites related to the Civil Rights Movement.
Native Youth and Education. The Generation Indigenous initiative includes a $1 billion investment in Indian education to support a comprehensive transformation of the Bureau of Indian Education. This multi-year process will transform the BIE into an organization that serves as a capacity builder and service provider to support Tribes in educating their youth and deliver a world-class and culturally appropriate education across Indian Country.
Strengthening Tribal Nations. The budget maintains the Administration's strong commitment to tribal self-determination and strengthening tribal communities. It provides increases across federal programs that serve Tribes, including a proposed 12 percent increase for the Bureau of Indian Affairs over the 2015 enacted level. The budget includes a $26 million increase to fully fund Contract Support Costs that tribes incur from managing federal programs, and a legislative proposal to make full Contract Support Costs mandatory in 2017 in support of self-determination. A total of $244 million is requested to resolve Indian water rights claims and implement enacted settlement commitments – supporting sustainable water sharing and management, and providing critical infrastructure, jobs, and clean drinking water to some of the most impoverished communities in the Nation.
Building New Opportunities in Communities Impacted by Abandoned Mine Lands. In order to address the continuing legacy of abandoned mine lands (AML) on the health, safety, environment and economic opportunity of communities, the budget makes available to States and Tribes $1 billion, over five years, as part of the President's POWER+ Plan. Funding would come by accelerating payments from the unappropriated balances in the AML Reclamation Fund, administered by the Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). The budget also includes reforms to strengthen the health care and pension plans that provide for the health and retirement security of retired coal miners and their families.
Prepares Communities and Ecosystems for the Challenges of a Changing Climate. As part of the Administration's effort to better understand and prepare the Nation for the impacts of a changing climate, the budget includes targeted increases to strengthen the resilience of communities—including tribes and insular areas—and ecosystems to impacts, such as increased flooding and drought. The budget builds on the success of DOI's Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Grant Program, proposing a competitive grant program that would restore natural coastal systems with a nexus to Federal lands to help reduce flood, storm, and sea level rise risks facing coastal ecosystems and communities. To complement that program, the budget proposes increased funding for efforts with partners to build resilience to inland threats posed by climate change, including drought, flooding, and wildfire. Proposed investments in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the USGS specifically address the changing Arctic landscape and offer support to Alaska Native Villages and other critically vulnerable communities in evaluating options for the long-term resilience of their communities.
Ensures Sustainable, Secure Water Supplies. As part of the Bureau of Reclamation's proposed $1.1 billion budget for FY2016, the WaterSMART program would receive $58.1 million to support water conservation initiatives and technological breakthroughs that promote water reuse, recycling and conservation, in partnership with states, tribes, and other partners.
Builds a Clean Energy Infrastructure. To enhance national energy security and create jobs in new industries, the budget invests in renewable energy development programs, providing about $100 million to review and permit renewable energy projects on public lands and offshore waters.
Safeguards Communities and Ecosystems from Wildfire Damage. The budget renews the call for a new funding framework for wildland fire suppression, similar to how the costs for other natural disasters are met. The initiative proposes base level funding of 70 percent of the 10-year average for suppression costs within the discretionary budget and an additional $200 million available in the event of the most severe fire activity, which comprises only one percent of the fires but 30 percent of the costs. The budget reflects an integrated approach to wildfire, proposing $30.0 million for resilient landscapes to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and achieve restoration and other ecological objectives.
Revitalizes Important Landscapes. The budget continues efforts to manage and promote the sustainability and resilience of ecosystems on a landscape scale, such as the California Bay-Delta, the Everglades, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf Coast. About $78.2 million is proposed to protect and restore the American West's vast sagebrush landscape which supports abundant wildlife and significant economic activity, including recreation, ranching and energy development.
Supports Development of the Nation's Oil and Gas Resources. The budget invests in onshore energy permitting and oversight on federal lands, with the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) oil and gas program receiving a 20 percent increase in funding, compared to the 2015 enacted level. Coupled with implementation of a new automated permitting system that eliminates paper applications, these budget resources will strengthen the permitting program onshore inspection capabilities. The BLM's costs would be partially offset through new inspection fees totaling $48 million in 2016, requiring the onshore industry to share in the cost of managing the inspection program, just as the offshore industry currently does.
Maintains Safe and Responsible Offshore Energy Development. The budget request would fund Interior agencies overseeing oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf as follows: $170.9 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; and $204.7 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The President's proposal also supports continued reforms to strengthen oversight of industry operations following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with an additional emphasis on risk management.
Supports Quality of Life in the Insular Areas
The FY 2016 request bolsters programs in the insular areas aimed at improving K-12 public school facilities and confronting energy security challenges. The budget includes an increase of $3.9 million to improve health and safety conditions in insular school facilities, and an additional $1.5 million to implement sustainable energy projects identified by the territories.
PILT Payments. The budget also calls for legislation to extend the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program for another year as mandatory funding with an estimated cost of $452 million in 2016 to help counties that have nontaxable federal lands within their boundaries.