Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary
Contact: Frank Quimby
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 7, 2005
FY 2006 Interior Budget Emphasizes Commitments, Cooperative Efforts, Performance and Fiscal Restraint
WASHINGTON - President Bush's proposed fiscal year 2006 budget of $10.8 billion for the Department of the Interior continues to meet his commitments to Interior's strategic goals, demonstrates the power of partnerships to spur conservation and supports critical investments that help Interior to work more efficiently. The President's proposal also demonstrates the fiscal restraint necessary to halve the deficit by 2009 and maintain the nation's dynamic economy.
The 2006 budget will:
"Performance lies at the heart of the President's 2006 Interior budget," Secretary Norton said in unveiling the request. "This budget focuses on funding essential activities and programs that fulfill Interior's core responsibilities, such as reforming Indian trust systems, protecting communities against wildland fire, and conserving our national parks, refuges, waters and wildlife."
Norton noted that by leveraging federal resources through cooperative conservation partnerships, the department can achieve greater results more efficiently. "The President's budget provides critical tools for the department to work with citizen stewards to restore and preserve the health of the land where they live, work, and play, while maintaining working landscapes."
The budget also provides an integrated package of management improvements; funding for essential, nondiscretionary cost increases so that Interior can maintain current performance; and spending reductions in activities less central to Interior's core mission, which duplicate the activities of other agencies, or whose key goals have been achieved.
"This budget conveys more than simply numbers; it presents a vision of people, ideas, energy, creativity, and partnerships at work on our landscapes, in our rivers and along our coasts," said Lynn Scarlett, Interior's assistant secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. "It reflects the efforts of 70,000 employees, 200,000 volunteers, and thousands of partners, who work closely with communities across the nation."
The 2006 current appropriations request is a reduction of $101.2 million, or 0.9 percent below the 2005 funding level. If contingent emergency fire funding provided in 2005 is excluded, the 2006 request is a decrease of $2.6 million, or 0.02 percent below the 2005 level. Permanent funding that becomes available as a result of existing legislation without further action by the Congress will provide an additional $4.2 billion, for a total 2006 Interior budget of $15 billion.
The 2006 request includes $9.8 billion for programs funded in the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, a decrease of $69.7 million, or 0.7 percent from the 2005 level. The request for the Bureau of Reclamation and Central Utah Project, funded in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, is $981.1 million, which is $31.5 million, or 3 percent below the 2005 funding level.
The department expects to collect about $13.8 billion in receipts in 2006, an increase of $914 million and equivalent to 128 percent of Interior's current appropriation request.
Accompanying the President's budget is a proposal to open a portion of the coastal plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration and development, with the first lease sale planned for 2007. "This proposal will help ensure stable energy supplies and sustain a strong economy to benefit all Americans," Norton said.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that ANWR contains up to 10.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. ANWR exploration and development would occur within a 1.5 million acre area of the 19 million-acre refuge. Actual energy development would occur on 2,000 acres, or on one-hundredth of 1 percent of the refuge. The first ANWR lease sale would produce an estimated $2.4 billion in bonus bids in 2007.
Key Interior Budget Initiatives
The 2006 request calls for $2.6 billion for resource protection programs that improve the health of landscapes and watersheds, sustain biological communities and protect cultural and natural heritage resources. Highlights of the resource protection proposal include:
Promoting Cooperative Conservation: The budget includes $381.3 million for Interior's cooperative conservation programs, which leverage limited federal funds, typically requiring a nonfederal match of 50 percent or more. These partnerships provide a foundation for cooperative efforts to protect endangered and at-risk species; engage local communities, organizations and citizens in conservation; foster innovation; and achieve conservation goals while maintaining working landscapes.
The proposal includes $50 million, an increase of $21.4 million from 2005, for the Landowner Incentive and Private Stewardship programs. Through these programs, our agencies work with states, tribes, communities, and landowners to conserve sensitive habitats, while traditional land-management practices, such as farming and ranching, continue, thus maintaining the fabric of local communities.
Challenge cost-share programs in the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management would receive $44.8 million, an increase of $25.7 million. These programs enable our agencies to work with neighboring communities, landowners, and other citizens to achieve common conservation goals.
The 2006 budget also proposes increased funding for a suite of Fish and Wildlife Service cooperative programs, including the Partners for Fish and Wildlife and Coastal programs and Migratory Bird Joint Ventures. Sustained or increased funding is proposed for other FWS grant programs, including State and Tribal Wildlife grants, the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.
Together with funding in the Fish and Wildlife Service operating account, the 2006 funding proposed for Landowner Incentive and Private Stewardship grants and the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund will bring total funding for the Endangered Species Act to $270 million.
NPS Maintenance Backlog: The 2006 proposal includes $717 million in the National Park Service for construction and park facility maintenance, an increase of $29 million. Included in the increase are $22.2 million for more NPS construction and $3.4 million for the repair and rehabilitation of high-priority historic buildings. Together with funds from recreation fees and the President's proposed reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the budget provides more than $1.1 billion for NPS deferred maintenance. This amount will bring funding for park maintenance over five years to $4.9 billion, as pledged by then-Governor Bush in 2000. The NPS has planned or completed more than 4,000 infrastructure and facility improvement projects to date. As a result, visitors are enjoying improvements in trails, campgrounds, visitor centers, historic structures and environmental conditions.
Everglades Restoration: The 2006 budget for NPS construction includes $25 million for the Modified Water Deliveries Project, a key to restoring natural flows in the Everglades. NPS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will share the costs of the project, with $35 million in the 2006 Corps budget. From 2007 to 2009, NPS will contribute an additional $42 million, and the Corps will contribute $89 million to complete the project.
Abandoned Mine Lands:
Consistent with the administration's 2005 reauthorization proposal for
the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation
Preserving Our Cultural Landscapes: Through its Preserve America initiative, the administration proposes $12.5 million in grants to encourage community preservation of our cultural, historic, and natural heritage through education and heritage tourism.
The 2006 budget proposes
a total of $66.2 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, including
the funding for Preserve America, as well as $15 million for Save America's
Treasures, and $38.7 million for grants to states and tribes. An additional
$5 million for National Heritage Areas is included in the budget. The
Save America's Treasures grant program helps communities restore significant
historic structures and resources, and National Heritage Area funding
helps communities highlight and manage notable historic places of national
The budget includes $1.6 billion for resource use to better meet the increasing demands for water resources, to carry out the National Energy Policy, and to maintain appropriate access to other resources on public lands.
Water 2025: As part of the budget, the President proposes $30 million for the Water 2025 initiative, an increase of $10.5 million over the enacted 2005 level. Water 2025 leverages federal resources through a 50-50 challenge-grant matching program that funds innovative water supply projects in areas where conflict among water users either exists or is likely to occur in the years ahead. Water 2025 invests in on-the-ground projects, such as water banking and marketing; new technology for water conservation and efficiency; research for alternative sources of water; and removal of institutional barriers to increased cooperation and collaboration.
Minerals Management Service: The 2006 budget proposes $290 million for MMS, a $12.6 million increase over 2005. The proposed budget will enhance MMS services and programs that protect the environment and offshore workers, and collect, account for and disburse revenue from federal and American Indian lands. The budget includes a request for $167.4 million in annual appropriations and $122.7 million in offsetting collections for total budgetary resources of $290.1 million. This is a net increase of $12.6 million compared to 2005, with a $19 million increase in offsetting collections and a $6.4 million decrease in annual appropriations. The additional resources will contribute significantly to the nation's economic well-being and energy security, as well as ensure Outer Continental Shelf development continues in an environmentally responsible manner.
BLM Oil and Gas Application Processing: The 2006 budget will increase the BLM energy and minerals program from an estimated 2005 funding level of $108.5 million in appropriations and user fees to a 2006 funding level of approximately $117.6 million. This net increase will provide new resources to enable BLM to accelerate the processing time for applications for permits to drill and to reduce the permit application backlog pending for more than 60 days, from 1,681 to 120 by the end of 2006.
The President proposes $1.3 billion in investments for recreation programs that will improve visitor services and access to recreation opportunities.
Public Land Recreation: The budget includes $33 million in program increases to respond to growing demands for recreational activities on BLM public lands, to provide a safer environment for national wildlife refuge visitors, and to ensure continuous enhancements to visitor services at national parks. In addition, the budget provides $82 million in the operating accounts of BLM, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service to cover increased pay and other fixed costs and to maintain existing performance and service levels to the public.
The budget seeks $5.1 billion to serve communities by improving Indian trust management and services to tribes and individual Indians; addressing the needs of Indian education and other social services; advancing the Healthy Forests Initiative and related wildland fire activities; strengthening law enforcement; and enhancing scientific and hazards warning information for our agencies and the public.
Indian Trust Reform: The budget provides $592 million to continue the department's ongoing efforts to reform management of its fiduciary obligations to tribes and individual Indians; to continue historical accounting efforts for trust funds; and to reduce the exponentially growing costs of maintaining fractionated interests in Indian lands. Within the total, our budget includes an increase from $57.2 million to $135 million to carry out the department's Plan for Historical Accounting of Individual Indian Accounts and to continue work on tribal accounting. An increase of $9.2 million would strengthen efforts to address the current backlog of unresolved probate cases.
Within the total for trust reform, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians would receive $269 million for operations and historical accounting and $34.5 million for Indian land consolidation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs would receive $287 million for trust programs.
Restoring Forest and Rangeland Health: President Bush is including $313 million for Interior for the President's Healthy Forests Initiative, an increase of $14 million to continue enhancing forest and rangeland health and reducing risks to communities by reducing buildup of hazardous fuel loads on more than 4 million acres. More than 50 percent of the 2006 acres will be in the wildland-urban interface. By the end of FY 2006, federal agencies will have removed hazardous fuels from more than 19 million acres of our nation's forests and rangelands since the beginning of FY 2001, reducing the risk of catastrophic fire to communities and protecting threatened and endangered species. Interior's hazardous fuels budget includes a program increase of $10.3 million for fuels treatment projects within the wildland fire program.
Wildland Fire Prevention: The total 2006 budget for wildland-fire management at Interior is $756.6 million, an increase of $23.9 million over the 2005 base. In addition to funding hazardous fuels reduction projects, the 2006 wildland fire budget includes increases of $15.7 million to fund suppression operations at the 10-year average and $5 million to maintain the 2004 aviation fleet configuration.
Tsunami Warning System: As part of a $37.5 million, two-year commitment by the administration to expand U.S. tsunami detection and monitoring capabilities, the 2006 budget includes $5.4 million for USGS facilities and operations to provide more robust detection and notification of earthquakes that could trigger tsunamis. A 2005 budget supplemental request will seek $8.1 million for USGS to begin work on these enhancements. The balance of the funding for the tsunami warning system is in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget.
Landsat: The 2006 budget requests $7.5 million for USGS to begin work on an upgraded ground-processing system to acquire, process, archive and distribute data from a new generation of satellite-based, land-image sensors. The first Landsat Data Continuity Mission sensor will be flown on a NOAA polar-orbiting satellite scheduled for operation in 2009. To continue the 30-year unbroken record of data on the Earth's continental surface collected by the Landsat program, the budget includes a $12.0 million increase to support operation of the Landsat 7 satellite in 2006 and to repay a planned reprogramming for 2005 Landsat 7 operations. Although Landsat 7 data remains valuable and usable, revenue from commercial sale of the data that normally supports the Landsat program has sharply decreased as a result of the failure of the satellite's scan line corrector.
Program Terminations: As part of the President's effort to halve the budget deficit by 2009, the 2006 budget for the department makes difficult choices to terminate or reduce funding for programs less central to the department's core missions, duplicate efforts of other agencies or require a lower level of effort because key goals have been achieved. Terminations and reductions include lower priority and one-time earmarks enacted in 2005.
The 2006 budget terminates funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund state grants, a reduction of $89.6 million from the 2005 level. The state grants support local parks that have alternate sources of funding through state revenues and bonds. As the nation works to trim the federal deficit, focusing on core federal agency responsibilities is imperative. A 2005 PART review found that the program could not adequately measure performance or demonstrate results.
Other terminations include the Wildland Fire Rural Fire Assistance program and the Jobs in the Woods program. Partnerships with local fire departments, formerly funded in the Rural Fire Assistance program, will be addressed through a combination of wildland fire preparedness funding and working with FEMA on prioritization of rural fire needs in the FEMA fire assistance program. The Jobs in the Woods program was established as a temporary program in the Pacific Northwest more than 10 years ago. The budget replaces the program with a focus on offering the full allowable sale quantity under the Northwest Forest Plan and supporting the plan's requirements that late-successional reserves be managed to stimulate old growth characteristics.
More detailed information
on the proposed FY 2006 budget is included in the
Selected News Releases