President Trump’s Budget Proposes $12.8 Billion for Department of the Interior Programs in FY 2021 – Invests $1B for a Stronger Interior Wildland Fire Program

$12.8B budget also proposes strategic investments in programs for land management, bolstering conservation and recreation activities, law enforcement, energy development and public infrastructure


Last edited 02/10/2020

Date: February 10, 2020

WASHINGTON - Today, President Donald J. Trump proposed a $12.8 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget for the Department of the Interior, including a new, innovative $50 million initiative that would begin to transform and build a more stable and permanent wildland firefighting workforce to better align with the challenges of prolonged periods of wildfire activity and the need to more aggressively implement active vegetation management.

Overall, $1 billion is being requested specifically for wildland fire programs to protect Americans and their communities. The President continues to prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of Americans by investing in the federal wildland fire workforce to implement active vegetation management practices, reduce hazardous fuel loads and suppress active wildfires on public lands.

“In 2019, we treated over 1.4 million acres, but we must recognize that the length of our fire season is getting longer; fires are large; and risks are higher. Therefore, we must innovate to strengthen our wildland fire and active management capability,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “We are also extremely appreciative of today’s proposal to once again include the creation of the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund, and we remain optimistic that Congress will finally address the tremendous backlog caused by insufficient funds to appropriately maintain our National Parks, our Indian schools and Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management facilities.”

In addition to these highlights, the budget strikes a balance between development and conservation; fulfills trust responsibilities for Alaska Native and Tribal communities; improves visitor experiences at our nation’s natural and historical areas; enables reliable water supplies and delivery to people in the West; and makes strategic investments to increase broadband access in rural areas, critical mineral development and law enforcement.

Fighting and Reducing Wildfire Risk by Investing in Stronger Fire and Forestry Management Programs

  • $1 billion for wildland fire programs. 
    • $227.9 million for fuels management and $368.1 million for preparedness, including a $50 million increase in proposed funding for the wildland fire management program to bolster our workforce, tackle the challenges of our wildfire season and more aggressively implement active vegetation management.
    • $384 million for wildfire suppression, which will be supplemented by additional emergency suppression resource authority in the event of another severe fire season.
  • $123.1 million for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) forest and timber management activities and $54.1 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Tribal Forestry programs.

Protecting Our People and Our Borders by Supporting Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Activities

  • $930.6 million for Department’s law enforcement activities along our border, on Tribal lands and on Interior-managed public lands.
  • Nearly $20 million for BIA to continue the fight against opioids in Indian Country.
  • $138 million for the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) natural hazards program, which monitors programs for earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and coastal areas.
  • $8.5 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Law Enforcement Program's efforts to combat illegal wildlife trafficking by disrupting organized crime networks endangering wildlife and people around the world.

Expanding Recreation and Access on Public Lands and Stewarding Conservation

  • $5 billion for land management operations, 39 percent of the entire 2021 request.
  • $1.5 billion for infrastructure maintenance and construction in the budgets for the BLM, NPS, FWS and Indian Affairs.
    • Infrastructure improvement continues to be a priority as the Department manages an asset portfolio worth more than $300 billion that includes roads, bridges, trails, water systems, laboratories, employee housing, visitor centers, schools and campgrounds.
  • An additional $12.6 million ($86.8 million total) for visitor services at National Wildlife Refuges, including expanded hunting and fishing opportunities.
  • $75.7 million for BLM recreation management activities, supporting public recreation use at public land areas.
  • $10 million for land acquisitions to enable the public to access previously unavailable areas for recreation.
  • $249.5 million for USFWS’ wildlife and habitat management programs across the 568-unit National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as $156.1 million for fish and aquatic conservation programs.
  • $326.9 million for the National Park Service (NPS) cultural and natural resources programs and roughly $83.5 million for wildlife habitat management and protection in BLM’s natural conservation areas.

Facilitating Responsible Energy Resource Management

  • $796.1 million in energy development programs for oil, gas, coal and renewable energy, including oversight and inspection programs to ensure safe development of these resources.
  • $188.8 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to responsibly manage development of the nation’s offshore energy and mineral resources, and $204 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to strengthen the Federal offshore oil and gas inspection program.
  • An increase of $3 million ($18.9 million total) for the BLM’s coal management program to improve capacity for leasing, permitting, inspections, and fair market value assessments.
  • $29.5 million to support the review and siting of geothermal, wind and solar energy projects on public lands, along with rights-of-way applications to connect these projects to transmission lines.
  • $25.7 million for the BIA for energy and mineral development programs in support of Tribal communities.

Upholding Our Commitments to Indian Country and Insular Areas

  • $2.8 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
  • A new allocation of $16.5 million to expand broadband access, including $13.5 million to expand and upgrade broadband access on tribal lands and Bureau of Indian Education schools.
  • $3 million in new funding supporting the Presidential Task Force for Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Improving Government Services

  • $19.5 million for the Departmental Ethics Office, continuing the Department’s strong ethics reforms in hiring more than double the number of staff than at the end of 2016 and having greater consistency and coordination by consolidating the Departmental Ethics Office within the Solicitor’s Office.
  • $1.9 million (new funding) for enhanced Department-wide Freedom of Information Act coordination, response and technical assistance.
  • $1.5 million to support field special assistants who coordinate regional efforts, encourage bureau collaboration and leverage the Department’s new regional structure to help improve administrative services.
  • $13.7 million to implement efficiencies in administrative functions such as human resources, acquisition of goods and services, and information technology.
  • $18 million for the Department to accelerate the implementation of Department of Homeland Security directed cybersecurity requirements.

Bureau Highlights

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The BLM’s budget advances Presidential priorities such as enhancing conservation stewardship commitments, improving visitor experiences and recreational activities on public lands and water, driving economic growth, spurring job creation and continuing to produce domestic energy in a safe and responsible manner. The overall proposed 2021 budget for BLM is $1.2 billion and includes these notable allocations:

  • $116.8 million for the wild horse & burro management program, an increase of more than $15 million, coupled with program direction that could lay the groundwork for a long-term strategy to reduce the on-range population and achieve appropriate management levels.
  • Sustained funding for a strong renewable energy development program ($29.5 million total), $11.8 million for other minerals resources management, and an increase of $3 million ($18.9 million total) to support improvements to the Federal coal management program.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)

The BOEM continues to play a key role in achieving the Nation’s energy strategy by promoting energy security, environmental protection and economic development through responsible management of offshore energy and mineral resources. The President’s FY 2021 budget request reflects careful analysis and focuses on the execution of BOEM’s mission, including offshore oil and gas exploration and leasing, offshore renewable energy, marine minerals management and science-based analyses.

BOEM’s budget proposal continues to support efforts that are vital to advancing the President’s Executive Order 13795, Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, which requires BOEM to develop and implement a new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) in conformity with the provisions of the OCS Lands Act.

The overall proposed 2021 budget for BOEM is $188.8 million.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

The BSEE continues to ensure safe and environmentally sustainable exploration development and production of America’s offshore energy resources. The overall proposed 2021 budget for BSEE is $204 million and supports:

  • Its SPEAR program (Safety Performance Enhanced by Analytical Review), which improves safety performance using data analytics and communicates critical data and information to external stakeholders.
  • BSEE!SAFE program, which is a newly launched and a first-of-its-kind direct communication between a safety regulator and front-line workers.
    • BSEE is the only safety regulator in the world delivering critical safety information directly to several thousand workers through text messaging.
  • Offshore safety and environmental programs by allocating $196.3 million to BSEE’s base operations funding (excludes a one-time cancellation of prior-year balances).
  • Oil spill research by allocating $12.7 million.

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)

The OSMRE continues to deliver its core oversight mission and support State and Tribal programs to ensure effective, consistent and high-quality regulatory and enforcement programs. In 2019, OSMRE completed five mining plan decision documents, and managed $291 million in mandatory Abandoned Mine Land reclamation grants provided to the 25 coal-producing States and three Tribes with an approved AML program. OSMRE continued to promote utilization of the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA), with 70 percent of all trees planted on FRA prepared areas. A total number of 4,447,721 trees were planted during FY 2019 with 3,123,940 utilizing FRA on 5,635 acres.

The FY 2021 budget provides the resources required to build on past accomplishments, streamline processes, achieve management efficiencies, and provide technical assistance and training to OSMRE's State and Tribal partners. The overall proposed 2021 budget for OSMRE is $116.2 million.

Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)

The BOR manages, develops and protects water and water-related resources in the interest of the American public. The 2021 proposed budget emphasizes funding for operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities—including an increase of $14.3 million for dam safety at Reclamation facilities. Notable allocations in the proposed budget include:

  • $437.3 million for construction, planning and management of water supply and reliability projects.
  • $112.1 million for Indian water rights settlement, fulfilling Tribal obligations.
  • $33 million to build on the 2019 biological opinion and upcoming record of decision for the Central Valley Project in California to help address California’s current water supply and ecological challenges.
  • $55.9 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund to protect, restore and enhance fish, wildlife and associated habitats in the Central Valley and Trinity River Basins.
  • $60 million to develop, evaluate and directly implement Reclamation-wide policies, rules and regulations as well as other administrative functions.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The USGS supports energy security, critical mineral resource assessments, natural hazard monitoring and research to inform resources management. The overall proposed 2021 budget for USGS is $971.2 million and supports:

  • Monitoring the Nation's earthquakes via the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) and through support of several regional seismic networks operated by university partners.
  • Operating the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System.
  • Developing the Landsat 9 ground station, keeping pace with NASA satellite development to meet a fiscal year 2021 launch, and developing recommendations for follow-on Earth observation tools and systems to affordably meet the needs of future geospatial users.
  • Releasing USGS assessments of undiscovered, technically recoverable energy resources (including oil and gas, methane hydrates, coal, uranium, and geothermal) in priority basins in the United States and globally; continuing the fundamental geological, geophysical, and geochemical research that underpins these assessments.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

The FWS works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the benefit of the American people. The overall proposed 2021 budget for FWS is $1.4 billion and includes these notable allocations:

  • $525.3 million for National Wildlife Refuge System operations and maintenance.
  • $70.2 million for habitat conservation programs, including $57.2 million to support voluntary, citizen and community-based conservation on private lands.
  • An increase in funding, totaling $86.8 million, for visitor services in the National Wildlife Refuge System, which offers wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities to more than 59 million people each year.
  • $244.1 million to conserve, protect and enhance listed and at-risk fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, specifically $28.6 million for conservation and restoration activities, including the proactive conservation of at-risk species. These funds support real results, such as the Service’s 2019 announcement that the Kirtland’s warbler is recovered and no longer requires Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.

National Park Service (NPS)

The NPS system covers 85 million acres at 419 park units and served more than 318 million visitors in 2018. The NPS asset portfolio includes more than 5,500 miles of paved roads, 21,000 miles of trails and 25,000 buildings. In 2019, NPS leveraged $175 million in recreation fees to address priority maintenance projects to improve the visitor experience. The NPS estimates that in FY 2020 and FY 2021, $200 and $205 million in fee revenues respectively will be utilized for similar facility and infrastructure projects.

The proposed budget for the NPS prioritizes core mission capacity, increases recreational and public access and invests in critical infrastructure improvements. The 2021 proposed budget for NPS is $2.8 billion and includes these notable allocations:

  • $2.5 billion for operations of the National Park system with $844.2 million for facility operations and maintenance.
  • $366.2 million for law enforcement programs and other park protection activities to ensure the safety of park visitors.
  • $11 million for collaborative activities with States, gateway communities and lands adjacent to NPS units.
  • An increase of $3 million is proposed ($4 million in total) for infrastructure resiliency projects at the most urgent sites to mitigate wildfire risk to visitors, staff and park infrastructure.

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

The BIA prioritizes operations and program assistance to American Indians, Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. The 2021 proposed budget for BIA is $1.9 billion and includes these notable allocations:

  • $390.4 million to directly support 191 law enforcement programs and 96 corrections programs run either by tribes themselves or by the Office of Justice Services.
  • $81.7 million to support Consolidated Tribal Government programs, which also promote tribal self-determination by giving tribes the flexibility to combine and manage contracted programs and grants that are similar or compatible in order to simplify contracting.
  • A new allocation of $8.5 million to expand broadband access.
  • $25.7 million to support domestic energy abundance and economic development of energy resources on Tribal lands.

Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)

The BIE provides quality education opportunities for Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. The BIE’s budget request began being presented separately last year in a historical action to recognize the distinct and separate responsibilities and missions of the Indian Affairs’ two bureaus. The FY2021 budget request will continue to advance BIE reforms, provide autonomy and accountability, streamline services, maximize government efficiencies and build capacity. It prioritizes direct school operations, school improvement and completion of the Bureau’s Strategic Direction and reform efforts to improve service and technical assistance for BIE-funded schools. The Bureau estimates the requested budget will support staffing of 2,894 FTEs in 2021. The overall proposed 2021 budget for BIE is $944.5 million and includes these notable allocations:

  • An increase of $5 million to expand broadband access at BIE-funded schools for a 21st-century learning environment, where educators and students in remote locations can access innovative resources, support online testing and collaborate with experts worldwide.
  • $728.7 million for Elementary and Secondary programs at 169 BIE schools and 14 dormitories.
  • $97.9 million for Post-Secondary Programs to operate two postsecondary institutions, administer grants to 29 Tribally operated colleges, and fund two Tribal technical colleges.
  • $62.8 million for BIE facility improvements.

Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BFTA)

The 2021 proposed budget for BFTA (formerly the “Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians”) is $108.4 million in support of its mission to honor America’s trust responsibilities while providing stewardship of trust assets.

Office of Insular Affairs (OIA)

The 2021 proposed budget for OIA includes $89.2 million to help strengthen economic and health capacities in the U.S. territories. A list of accomplishments and actions demonstrating the Trump Administration’s strong commitment to the U.S. insular areas in 2019 can be found online.

The entire Department’s proposed FY 2021 budget has been posted online.


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