Fiscal Year 2020 Budget for the Department of the Interior
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
HOUSE INTERIOR AND ENVIRONMENT
May 7, 2019
Chair McCollum, Ranking Member Joyce, and members of the Subcommittee, I am here today in my role as the Secretary of the Interior.
Since the President’s 2020 Budget was transmitted to Congress on March 11, 2019, the Subcommittee has held four hearings on the Department’s FY 2020 Budget Request, in addition to outside witness hearings, which include the following.
On March 26, 2019, the Department’s Principal Deputy for Policy, Management and Budget, Scott Cameron, appeared before the Subcommittee and provided the Departmental perspective on the budget. This was followed by three additional hearings covering nine Interior bureaus. A panel of witnesses including P. Daniel Smith, Deputy Director, National Park Service; Margaret Everson, Principal Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Jim Reilly, Director, U.S. Geological Survey; testified on the FY 2020 budget before the Subcommittee on April 3, 2019.
On April 4, 2019, Brian Steed, Deputy Director for Policy & Programs, Bureau of Land Management; Walter Cruickshank, Acting Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; and Scott Angelle, Director, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; also testified in support of their specific bureau budgets.
Most recently, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Tara Katuk Mac Lean Sweeney, joined by Johnna Blackhair, Acting Deputy Bureau Director – Trust Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tony L. Dearman, Director, Bureau of Indian Education, testified in support of the FY 2020 Budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians.
The Subcommittee has heard and discussed the specific details of Interior’s FY 2020 budget submission and priorities at these hearings and, as part of my written statement, I am including copies of the statements submitted by the Department’s representatives at those hearings.
I was confirmed on April 11, 2019, and I appreciate your invitation to join you today to discuss my priorities for the Department as Secretary of the Interior.
The President has been clear in his direction to and priorities for the Department. With the overarching goal to support continued economic growth and prosperity, he has expressed his vision to the Department through a series of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda, including:
These documents are the foundation of the Department’s policy objectives since the early days of this Administration.
As Secretary, I will work hard to effectuate the President’s vision and to strike the right balance of protection and sustainable use of resources in a way that will provide conservation stewardship, enhance the safety of our communities, increase energy security, and allow America to prosper. At the same time, I will strive to meet the Administration's broader economic objective to manage Federal spending with restraint.
I will also continue to move forward with the Department’s reorganization, including efforts to relocate some operations out West, closer to where assets, acres, and customers are located.
Transformation of the Department’s ethics program will remain a key priority for me as Secretary, and I have directed the Department’s Designated Agency Ethics Official to begin the process of consolidating the disparate ethics programs within the Department into one comprehensive Departmental program to create a better functioning and more robust program. As we work through this process we will be submitting any necessary reprogramming notice to the Committee in the near future.
The Department has grappled for many years to address deteriorating infrastructure across our bureaus and maintenance backlogs at our national parks, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. I am committed to working with Congress to develop a legislative solution to address these important infrastructure needs.
Finally, the Great Lakes are important resources to the Nation and important assets to many of your constituents. I agree with the President that Great Lakes restoration is an important priority, and it will be at the Department.
Chair McCollum, this concludes my statement. I look forward to working with you in the coming months, and I am happy to respond to any questions that you may have.