Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Frank Quimby
For Immediate Release: Feb. 2, 2004
President's 2005 Budget for Interior Emphasizes
Cooperative Conservation, Commitments, Solutions

(WASHINGTON) - President Bush's proposed Fiscal Year 2005 budget of $11.0 billion for the Department of the Interior expands both cooperative conservation and citizen stewardship initiatives, while simultaneously fulfilling the President's commitments to protect communities against catastrophic wildfire, repair and replace Indian schools, and address the $4.9 billion National Park Service maintenance backlog.

The largest request in the department's history, the 2005 budget calls for reforming the Abandoned Mine Lands program to accelerate by at least two decades the elimination of these deadly hazards while saving $3.2 billion over the program's life. It also provides increased funding for both Water 2025 and Klamath Basin initiatives that address chronic water supply problems.

"The President's proposed budget would enable us to develop stronger conservation partnerships with states, tribes, local communities, and citizens to develop healthy lands, thriving communities, and dynamic economies," Secretary Norton said in unveiling the request.

"President Bush's goal--and our goal at Interior--is to empower citizens to do what the government cannot do alone. Citizen-stewards embody the President's vision of a new environmentalism--one built upon principles of entrepreneurship, local action and respect for private property."

The 2005 budget request includes $10.0 billion for programs funded in the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, an increase of $228.4 million or 2.3 percent over the 2004 level. The request for the Bureau of Reclamation and the Central Utah Project, funded in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act is $1.0 billion, a $21.8 million or 2.2 percent increase above the 2004 funding level.

Permanent funding that becomes available as a result of existing legislation without further action by Congress will provide an additional $4.4 billion for a total 2005 Interior budget of $15.3 billion. The department will collect about $10.1 billion in receipts in 2005, 92 percent of Interior's current appropriation request.

"The budget plays a key role in advancing our vision of healthy lands, thriving communities, and dynamic economies by expanding opportunities for cooperative conservation, accelerating the cleanup of abandoned mine lands, mitigating water problems in the West through Water 2025, and advancing trust reform. It also helps meet the President's pledge to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation fund, address the backlog of park repairs and maintenance needs, fix Bureau of Indian Affairs schools, and reestablish healthy forests and rangelands," Secretary Norton said.

The 2005 request calls for $2.9 billion for resource protection programs that improve the health of landscapes and watersheds, sustain biological communities, and protect cultural and natural heritage resources, including the President's commitment to address the $4.9 billion maintenance backlog in the national parks.

The President's request seeks $5.3 billion for serving communities through fulfilling responsibilities for Indian trust management, improving services to tribes and individual Indians, addressing the Indian school maintenance backlog, improving Indian education, advancing the Healthy Forests Initiative, strengthening the wildland fire program, improving law enforcement activities and enhancing the quality of information on which policy decisions are based.
The budget recommends $900.0 million to improve access to recreational opportunities and proposes $1.6 billion for resource use to better meet the increasing demands for water resources and to carry out the National Energy Policy.


Key Interior Budget Initiatives

"Behind these budget numbers lie people, places, and partnerships. Big ideas and enduring achievements become reality when people work together. They become reality through the outstanding efforts of our 70,000 employees, our 200,000 volunteers and thousands of partners," Assistant Secretary Lynn Scarlett said. "These individuals provide the energy and creativity that advance our quest for management excellence. Our management initiatives provide the foundation for achieving the goals highlighted in our 2005 budget."

Promoting Cooperative Conservation: The President's budget calls for $507.3 million for Interior's cooperative conservation programs, an increase of $84.2 million or 20 percent above the 2004 enacted level. "Through these conservation partnerships, Interior works with individuals, alone and together, on farms and in factories, in backyards and in neighborhoods, to restore riverbank habitat, replant native grasses and innovate to prevent pollution. These citizen stewards embody President Bush's vision of a new environmentalism-one built upon principles of entrepreneurship, cooperation and local action," Norton said.

The proposal includes $129.5 million for the Cooperative Conservation Initiative, a $25.5 million increase over 2004 for seven innovative Interior programs. The Initiative awards grants for creative conservation projects that leverage federal dollars through partnerships. Invested in several conservation grant programs, CCI funds help Interior extend a hand to work with the nation's many citizen stewards, who often are the nation's most effective conservationists. "By tapping into local knowledge and helping to inspire a nation of citizen stewards, cooperative conservation practices help us fulfill our vision of healthy lands, thriving communities and dynamic economies," Norton said. The budget proposes $29.6 million for challenge cost-share grants to fund natural resource restoration and species protection. Projects will be conducted in partnership with states, tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations and will require a one-to-one match or better, thereby leveraging federal dollars.

Fully Funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund: The Cooperative Conservation Initiative is also an important component of the Land and Water Conservation Fund budget request, which the President proposes to fund fully again in 2005. The department's $660.6 million LWCF proposal, combined with similar programs in the U.S. Forest Service, brings the total government-wide LWCF request to $900.2 million. This request will continue to enhance Interior's partnership approach with states, tribes, local communities and private citizens.

Included in Interior's LWCF proposal is $93.8 million for state conservation and recreation grants. About $153.3 million for federal land acquisition will emphasize innovative alternatives to fee simple title purchases. "Through conservation easements, land exchanges, and other options, these transactions make the most effective and efficient use of federal funds, promote cooperative alliances, leave land on state tax roles, and achieve citizen-steward conservation goals," Norton said. "This emphasis also enables Interior land-management agencies to focus more on caring for lands already under their management."

Accelerating Indian Trust Reform:
The budget proposal would provide $157.8 million in new funding to strengthen Interior's ongoing efforts to reform management of its trust obligations to tribes and individual Indians, to continue historical account efforts and to reduce the exponentially growing costs of maintaining fractionated interests of Indian lands.

The budget would provide $322.7 million, an increase of $113.6 million or 54.4 percent, for the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians. Funding for historical accounting by the Office of Historical Trust Accounting is increased by $65.0 million to a total of $109.4 million. OHTA will spend $80.0 million in 2005 to carry out accounting for individual Indian money accounts and $29.4 million to account for funds in tribal accounts.

An increase of $53.3 million is proposed for Indian land consolidation, bringing to $75.0 million the 2005 investment to reduce the fractionation of individual land ownership interest. This increase is part of a multiyear effort that, along with proposed new legislative initiatives on probate and fractionated lands, will help bring these lands to more economically productive status for tribes and curb the costs of managing and probating fractionated interests.

The 2005 budget includes a total of $614.4 million for the unified trust budget, including funding in the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A total of $291.8 million is requested in BIA's budget for trust activities, including $29.1 million to continue rebuilding the BIA's information technology infrastructure to support trust and nontrust programs.

Reform the Abandoned Mine Lands Program: The budget proposes a $53.3 increase for the Office of Surface Mining to support a reauthorized Abandoned Mine Lands program that would rehabilitate the most critical and vulnerable abandoned mines sites within 25 years, eliminating the significant health and safety problems posed by these lands. "Millions of citizens live less than a mile from the deadly hazards of abandoned coal mines," Norton noted. "Under the current AML program, it would take almost half a century to rehabilitate the most dangerous sites because most of the program's funds currently flow to states with few or no priority areas. This increased investment today will yield a savings of $3.2 billion over the life of the program."

Addressing the NPS Maintenance Backlog: Between 2002 and 2004, $2.8 billion has been appropriated to address the National Park Service's backlog of facility maintenance work. The President's 2005 budget will provide another $1.1 billion, including $724.7 million for park facility maintenance and construction and $310.0 million for park road rebuilding under the Administration's proposed reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st century. The 2005 budget proposal would bring the total investment in park facilities during this Administration to $3.9 billion. But it takes much more than money to address the maintenance backlog thoroughly. These funds must be well spent. In the past three years, NPS has implemented a management reform process to provide a comprehensive asset inventory and established a service-wide baseline for facility conditions. For the first time in its history, the National Park Service is now able to measure the condition of its facilities and monitor and prioritize ongoing maintenance needs, thus ensuring the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Managing Park Resources: Through the National Park Service Natural Resource Challenge, the department monitors conditions within park boundaries. The 2005 budget proposes increases of $4.1 million to measure the health of park ecosystems and specific flora and fauna along with an increase of $528,000 for water quality monitoring in parks and surrounding areas. With these increases, cumulative increases in the Natural Resource Challenge over the 2001 level will be $149.4 million, fulfilling a presidential commitment to improve park management of natural resources.

Wildfire Fighting and Healthy Forests Initiative: On Dec. 3, 2003, the President signed the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, which was supported by a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress and builds on the President's Healthy Forests Initiative. The President's budget would advance his commitment to restore healthy forests and rangelands, reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires that have also devastated numerous communities, harmed threatened and endangered species, and cost the lives of firefighters and civilians.

The 2005 budget supports the President's commitment by calling for $209.3 million for hazardous fuels funding in the wildland fire program, an increase of $25.0 million or 14 percent. The money, when combined with funds for forest and range improvements in Interior land management agencies and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, will provide a total of $311 million in 2005 to reduce the buildup of hazardous fuels in the nation's forests and rangelands, reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to communities, save the lives of firefighters and citizens, protect threatened and endangered species, and encourage public participation in selecting and carrying out fuel reduction projects.

For the Wildland Fire program, the 2005 budget also proposes an increase of $28.6 million to fund suppression activities at the 10-year average and $6.5 million more in preparedness activities to help cover the rising costs of aviation contracts and fund the fire program analysis system. In total, the 2005 budget for wildland fire management is $743.1 million, a $57.9 million increase over the 2004 enacted level.

Western Water: Klamath Projects and Water 2025: President Bush's commitment to help western communities hard hit by chronic water shortages is exemplified by the 2005 budget, which includes an unprecedented level of habitat restoration and water improvement projects and programs for the Klamath River Basin. Interior's proposed budget for this difficult problem would provide about $67.6 million, spread across several bureaus, of the nearly $105 million proposed for the federal-government wide initiative. Interior's share is an increase of $17.9 million from 2004.

"This proposal reflects our steadfast commitment to help Klamath communities restore their watershed and avoid future water supply crises," Norton said. "We will work closely with other federal agencies and all the stakeholders to protect endangered and threatened fish while managing water for the needs of agriculture, tribal and commercial fisheries, and wildlife refuges."

The budget also proposes $21.0 million for Water 2025 projects that would invest in desalination technology, water-saving techniques for irrigation systems, and strategies to improve water management and stretch existing water supplies, including water-marketing projects. The Water 2025 proposal represents an increase of $13.3 million over last year's funding level. "Water 2025 funds leverage scarce federal dollars with state, local government and private funding," Norton pointed out. " These projects, targeted at western communities facing the most critical water supply crises, emphasize practical, community-based solutions."
Invasive Species Initiatives: The 2005 proposal calls for a $58.3 million budget for programs to assist in research, early detection, rapid response, and control of invasive species, which pose a major threat to native plant species, wildlife habitat, and land and water resources. In conjunction with the National Invasive Species Council, the department will focus on working with states and communities in the Southwest on tamarisk (saltcedar), and in other regions on leafy spurge and star thistle, controlling Asian carp and other fresh water habitat invaders, and controlling and responding to brown tree snake infestations in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands.
Preserve America: On March 3, 2003, First Lady Laura Bush introduced Preserve America, an initiative that will advance both the protection and contemporary use of historic properties while stimulating local economies through heritage tourism. The budget includes $10.0 million to support this initiative.

2005 Budget Highlights

Indian Education: The Bureau of Indian Affairs $2.3 billion budget includes $229.1 million for school construction to fund the remaining five replacement schools on the current priority list, as well as several major repair and improvement projects. BIA is making significant progress in addressing the Indian school maintenance backlog. Together with funding provided in previous appropriations, the 2005 budget will significantly improve the condition of BIA schools. The budget request also includes $522.4 million for elementary and secondary school operations to maintain the President's commitment to Leave No Child Behind. The school operations request also would fund FOCUS, a school achievement program with demonstrable results.

National Park Service: The budget request for the National Park Service is $2.4 billion, an increase of $102.0 million over the 2004 enacted level. The budget seeks $1.7 billion for park operations, a net increase of $76.5 million above 2004. The operations budget also proposes a $22.0 million increase for specific park needs, including $8.3 million for new park responsibilities. The Historic Preservation Fund request is $77.5 million, including $30.0 million for the Save America's Treasures program and $10.0 million for Preserve America matching grants.

Bureau of Land Management: The budget request for the BLM's two main operating accounts is $953.5 million, an increase of $8.3 million over the 2004 enacted level. The 2005 budget for BLM also includes a $4.0 million increase to strengthen resource monitoring and $8.8 million in new funding for timber planning and management. The request includes an increase of $12.8 million for the Wild Horse and Burro program to enable the bureau to carry out a long-term strategy to bring the number of horses on the range to an appropriate management levels. The request also includes increases of $4.8 million for the challenge cost share program, $3.2 million for sage grouse conservation, and $5.6 million for BLM land acquisition.

Payments in Lieu of Taxes: The 2005 budget seeks $226.0 million for PILT, the highest amount ever requested and a $1.3 million increase over the enacted level. Cooperating with states and localities is a departmental priority and Interior is committed to improving PILT payment distributions, including an equitable distribution of payments to eligible local governments.

Science for a Changing World: With a request of $919.8 million, the U.S. Geological Survey will maintain a robust science program through providing $16.1 million for new and expanded programs. The budget also seeks an increase of $1.2 million for Science on the DOI Landscape, $2.7 million for Klamath Basin-related science, $1.0 million for Water 2025, and $1.0 million in invasive species research. An additional $4.5 million will improve financial management performance and information technology services.

Fish and Wildlife Service: The 2005 request proposes $1.3 billion, an increase of $22.6 million over the 2004 level. Resource Management includes increases of $5.0 million for the endangered species listing program to meet litigation-driven workloads, $7.5 million for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, and $4.4 million for the Migratory Bird program. The budget proposes significant increases for FWS cooperative grant programs, including a $20.4 million increase for the Landowner Incentive Program, a $2.6 million increase for the Private Stewardship Grants program, and an $8.4 million increase for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. The budget also proposes an increase of $16.5 million for the migratory waterfowl projects funded by the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund.

Bureau of Reclamation: The budget request is $956.3 million, a $13.5 million increase over the 2004 enacted level. In addition to emphasizing Reclamation's core missions of delivering water and power, the 2005 budget also focuses on endangered species-related water management issues, requesting $72.2 million, or a $15.7 million increase, for Columbia/Snake River salmon recovery, Klamath Basin projects, Columbia Basin projects, and Endangered Species Act recovery programs. About $67.5 million is requested for rural water supply projects and $43.2 million for upgrading security at Reclamation facilities, an increase of $15.4 million. The $162.9 million request for the Central Valley Project in California includes a $9.6 million increase for CVP replacements, additions, and extraordinary maintenance program.

Minerals Management Service: In 2005, direct appropriations and collections for MMS will provide $282.4 million in total funding. The request for direct appropriations is $178.7 million, a net increase of $8.4 million while collections from Outer Continental Shelf rents and other fees total $103.7 million. Supporting the National Energy Policy through increasing and diversifying the nation's sources of traditional and alternative fuels, the budget proposes $16 million, an increase of $4 million, for the third year of the OCS Connect E-Government project to reform and streamline offshore business operations. A request for $1.9 million would acquire new interpretive tools to support Gulf of Mexico oil and gas evaluations and estimates.

Office of Insular Affairs: The budget requests $78.9 million in current funding, including a $1.0 million increase to strengthen core performance measurement and assessment. The budget also seeks an increase of $379,000 to expand brown tree snake research, control, and rapid-response team coverage. Permanent appropriations will total $303.0 million, including $195.0 million for payments to the freely associated states under a recently ratified Compact of Free Association.

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



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