Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Frank Quimby: 202-208-6416
For Immediate Release: Feb. 25, 2004
Secretary Norton Details FY 2005 Budget
Priorities to House Appropriations Committee

(WASHINGTON) - The $11 billion budget proposed for the Department of the Interior in fiscal year 2005 would fulfill the President's commitments to protect communities against catastrophic wildfire, repair and replace Indian schools, and address the National Park Service maintenance backlog, Secretary Gale Norton said today. The proposal also calls for reforming the Abandoned Mine Lands program to speed the elimination of these deadly hazards and provides increased funding for both Water 2025 and Klamath Basin initiatives that address chronic water supply problems in the West.

"The President's budget would enable us to build stronger conservation partnerships with states, tribes, local communities, and citizens to develop healthy lands, thriving communities, and dynamic economies," Secretary Norton told members of the House Committee on Appropriations. "President Bush's budget reflects his vision of a new environmentalism--one based on the principles of entrepreneurship, local action and respect for private property." 

Interior's $11 billion request for FY 2005 current appropriations is a 2.3 percent increase over the 2004 enacted level. The department anticipates collecting $10.1 billion in receipts in 2005, equivalent to 92 percent of its current appropriations request. Major initiatives in the budget include the following:

Removing Dangerous Abandoned Mine Sites: The budget includes $243.8 million for the abandoned mine lands program, including a $53 million increase. The budget proposal would use increased funds and a reauthorized Abandoned Mine Land Act to speed the cleanup of the most dangerous abandoned mine sites in the nation. The statutory allocation formula in the current law limits the ability of the Office of Surface Mining to meet its primary objective of abating the highest priority abandoned coalmines. Some states are decades away from completing work on the most critical, high-priority sites.

 Indian Trust Programs:  A total of $614 million is requested for the Unified Trust budget, a net increase of $161 million. The budget proposes $75 million for Indian land consolidation, an increase of $53.3 million, to expand efforts to address the problem of fractionation, or continuing subdivision, of individual Indian interests in the land that the federal government holds in trust. $109.4 million also is requested for historical accounting, an increase of $65 million over the 2004 appropriation. The funds include $80 million targeted for Individual Indian Money accounting and $29.4 million targeted for tribal accounting. The budget proposes a net increase of $7.2 million, including funding for 85 new trust-related positions at the local level. The proposal requests an additional $4 million to quicken the pace at which probate cases are resolved.

Healthy Forests and Rangelands: As part of the $743.1 million wildland fire proposal, the budget includes $209.3 million, a $25 million increase over 2004, to conduct fuels reduction projects and to monitor the results. In combination with forest and range improvement activities funded in other Interior programs, the 2005 budget includes over $300 million to advance the goals of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.  Including funding for the Forest Service, the 2005 budget includes $760 million to meet the goals of the Act.

The request for the wildland fire program also includes $221.5 million, an increase of $28.6 million, to fund suppression activities, based on the 10-year average, and an increase of $6.5 million for preparedness to address increasing costs in aviation contracts and for the fire program analysis system.

Cooperative Conservation:  Conservation today depends increasingly on partnerships across a mosaic of land ownerships. Our ability to achieve national conservation goals is significantly increased through collaborative partnerships with adjacent land-owners, states, tribes and communities.  Rather than relying on additions to the Federal land base, the budget proposes cooperative conservation as an approach that partners our efforts with those of local communities to protect resources and improve the quality of life for people.  The budget proposes to spend $507.3 million, a 20 percent increase, to expand opportunities for conservation partnerships with citizens, organizations and communities. The Cooperative Conservation Initiative, which builds on existing conservation partnership programs with productive relationships with local communities and citizens, will provide $129.5 million, an increase of $25.5 million, for a suite of seven programs. The budget proposes $29.6 million for challenge cost-share activities, an increase of $8.4 million over 2004, for natural resource restoration and species protection projects on or affecting federal lands.

Endangered Species Grant Programs: Interior's cooperative conservation efforts also include a number of grant programs that provide expanded opportunities for state, tribal, local, and private partners to participate in conservation and protection of endangered, threatened, and at-risk species. These include the Landowner Incentive Program ($50 million, an increase of $20.4 million); Private Stewardship Grants ($10 million, an increase of $2.6 million); Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund ($90 million, an increase of $8.4); and State and Tribal Wildlife Grants ($80 million, an increase of $10.9 million).

Full Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund: Interior's budget includes $660.6 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for 2005, including $153.3 million for land acquisition and $93.8 million for the state grant program. The Department's request, combined with the request for the U.S. Forest Service, brings total government wide LWCF funding to $900.2 million.

Park Maintenance Backlog:  The Budget request includes $1.1 billion for maintenance, rehabilitation and road repair funding to improve the condition of National Park Service facilities and resources and fulfill the President's pledge to improve the condition of park facilities. The NPS budget includes $724.7 million for park facility maintenance and construction, a $25 million increase over 2004. An additional $310 million for park roads is included in the Administration's legislative proposal to reauthorize the Highway Bill. The 2005 request continues to provide critical tools to improve accountability, including an estimated facility condition index, an industry standard for quantifying the condition of facilities. 

Invasive Species:  The budget includes $58.3 million for a multiagency effort to address invasive species challenges. Funding will be used to control invasive species such as saltcedar in the southwest and the brown tree snake population on Guam to prevent its establishment on other Pacific islands and the U.S. mainland. In addition, Interior agencies will focus on early detection and rapid response and conduct research to develop test methods and control strategies. The priorities for the use of invasive species funding are established by the National Invasive Species Council.

Klamath Basin:  Interior's 2005 budget includes $67.6 million to restore habitat, remove fish migration barriers, acquire land, use water banking, and conduct research into the ecology of federally-listed fish species in the Klamath Basin. This is a $17.9 million increase over 2004 funding levels. Other government agencies will provide an additional $38 million to the Klamath Basin initiative, bringing a total of $105 million to this effort. 

Payments in Lieu of Taxes: The request for PILT in the 2005 budget is $226 million, a $1.3 million increase over the 2004 enacted level, and the highest level ever for the program.  This program provides payments to local governments in counties where federal lands are located within their boundaries in lieu of tax revenues and to supplement other federal land receipts shared with local governments. Local governments use payments to improve local school, water, and road systems, as well as for other necessary infrastructure.

Energy: To help meet the nation's energy needs by focusing on timely access to oil and natural gas resources on public lands, consistent with publicly developed land-use plans, the budget would maintain Bureau of Land Management oil, gas, and coal programs at the 2004 funding level of $104.4 million through a combination of appropriated funds and $4 million in additional user fees generated through a proposed rulemaking to bring fees closer to costs for certain services. This funding level preserves significant increases that were appropriated over the last few years to continue making significant progress in reducing permitting backlogs and expediting access to energy resources.  The MMS budget includes an increase of $4.3 million for the Outer Continental Shelf Connect E-government initiative, the third year of a six-year project to reform and streamline offshore business operations by improving connectivity between the government and the public. The initiative will create a citizen-centered web presence and build an E-government infrastructure across agencies.  Total funding for the initiative in 2005 will be $16 million.

Improving Law Enforcement and Security:  The 2005 budget includes a $39.2 million increase over the 2004 level for law enforcement and security to improve protection of employees, visitors, and facilities at the nation's parks, refuges, public lands and facilities. To enhance security at major NPS icons, the budget includes increases of $3.3 million for the U.S. Park Police and an additional $2 million to complete security improvements at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It includes $5.3 million in the budgets of the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management and the Office of Law Enforcement and Security to improve law enforcement efforts in border areas. The budget also requests $5.2 million for implementing an off-the-shelf reporting system for law enforcement incidents to be used by DOI agencies; $2.8 million for increases in the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service for law enforcement management reforms; and $7.8 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to operate eight new detention facilities serving Indian populations.

The FY 2005 DOI Highlights Book is online at

A link to 2005 Highlights is on the Office of Budget home page at budget .


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