Department Of Interior
|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
"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.
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.
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
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
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
The FY 2005 DOI Highlights Book is online at http://www.doi.gov/budget/2005/05Hilites/toc.html.
A link to 2005 Highlights is on the Office of Budget home page at http://www.doi.gov/ budget .
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