AGI Home | About AGIContact UsSearch 

Printable Version

FY2005 Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations (11-29-04)

Geoscience-related agencies covered by the Interior and Related Agencies appropriations include the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Energy oil and gas research programs, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and U.S. Forest Service. For more information about the geoscience value of these agencies, click here.

FY05 Interior Appropriations Process

Account

FY04 Enacted
($million)

House Action
($million)


Senate Action
($million)

FY05 Enacted
($million)
(0.594% + 0.80% recissions)

U.S. Geological Survey (total)

938

920

944.5

939.5

949

936

Geological Programs

234

220.8

230.9

228.2

233

229

-- Mineral Resources


56

50

56

56

56
55.2

-- Advanced National
Seismic System

4.4

4.4

5.75

4.4

5.25

5.2

Mapping Progams

130

119

123

120

120

118

Water Resources Programs

216

203

211

213

214

211

Biological Resources Programs

175

168

172

173

174

172

Facilities

93

96

96

95

96

94.6

Science Support

90

69

67.5

65

66.5

65.6

DOE Fossil Energy R & D (total)

672.8

635.8

601.9

542.5

580

572

Natural Gas

43

26.0

41.6

41

42.6

42

Petroleum - Oil Technology

35

15.0

34.7

31

35.7
35

Carbon Sequestration

41

49

46

49

50
49

Bureau of Land Management (total)

1,793

1,759

1,771

1,776



1,756

 

1,732

Energy and Minerals Management

107.9

104.4

106.9

108

108

106

Minerals Management Service (total)

163.3

171.6

171.6

178

 

176.2

 

174
Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation

139

146

146

146


150

 

148

National Park Service (total for park system)

2.259

2.361

2,268

2,360



2,379

 

2,316

NPS Resource Stewardship - Geologic Resources Division

2.65

2.65

not specified

342



343

 

338

Inventory and Monitoring

38

41.1

42.1

39



38

 

37.5

Water Quality Monitoring

12

12.6

12.5

not specified



not specified

 

not specified

Smithsonian Institution (total)

492

499

497

490



496

 

489

U.S. Forest Service (total)

5,583

5,222

4,246

4,271



4,298

 

4,238

Minerals and Geology Management

54

60

59.5

60



56.5

 

55.7

Geoscience Value of Agencies within the Department of the Interior Appropriations bill

Created by an act of Congress in 1879, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has evolved over the years, matching its talent and knowledge to the progress of science and technology. According to their website, the USGS serves the Nation as an independent fact-finding agency that collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The value of the USGS to the Nation rests on its ability to carry out studies on a national scale and to sustain long-term monitoring and assessment of natural resources. Because it has no regulatory or management mandate, the USGS provides impartial science that serves the needs of our changing world. The diversity of scientific expertise enables the USGS to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations that build the base of knowledge about the Earth. In turn, decision makers at all levels of government--and citizens in all walks of life--have the information tools they need to address pressing societal issues.

The priorities of the Department of Energy's (DOE) energy program are to: increase domestic energy production; revolutionize our approach to energy conservation and efficiency; and promote the development of renewable and alternative energy sources. As the website illustrates, fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas -- currently provide more than 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity, and virtually all of our transportation fuels. Moreover, it is likely that the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels to power an expanding economy will increase over at least the next two decades even with aggressive development and deployment of new renewable and nuclear technologies. Because our economic health depends on the continued availability of reliable and affordable fossil fuels, the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy oversees two major fossil fuel efforts: emergency stockpiles of crude oil and heating oil and research and development of future fossil energy technologies.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 262 million acres of land--about one-eighth of the land in the United States--and about 300 million additional acres of subsurface mineral resources. The Bureau is also responsible for wildfire management and suppression on 388 million acres. Practices such as revegetation, protective fencing, and water development are designed to conserve, enhance, and develop public land, soil, and watershed resources. Keeping public lands protected from fire on all Department of the Interior managed lands in Alaska, and suppressing wildfires on the public lands in Alaska and the western States is a high priority for BLM since they are dominated by extensive grasslands, forests, high mountains, arctic tundra, and deserts. The BLM manages a wide variety of resources and uses, including energy and minerals; timber; forage; wild horse and burro populations; fish and wildlife habitat; wilderness areas; archaeological, paleontological, and historical sites; and other natural heritage values. The Bureau also has an active program of soil and watershed management on 175 million acres in the lower 48 States and 86 million acres in Alaska.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is the federal agency that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The agency collects, accounts for and disburses more than $5 billion per year in revenues from federal offshore mineral leases and from onshore mineral leases on federal and Indian lands. There are two major programs within MMS, Offshore Minerals Management and Minerals Revenue Management.

Established in 1916, the National Park Service (NPS) has stewardship responsibilities for the protection and preservation of the national park system. The system, consisting of 388 separate and distinct units, is recognized globally as a leader in park management and resource preservation. The national park system represents much of the finest the Nation has to offer in terms of scenery, historical and archeological relics, and cultural heritage. Through its varied sites, the National Park Service attempts to explain America's history, interpret its culture, preserve examples of its natural ecosystems, and provide recreational and educational opportunities for U.S. citizens and visitors from all over the world, according to the NPS website.

The Smithsonian Institution is unique in the Federal establishment. Established by the Congress in 1846 to carry out the trust included in James Smithson's will, it has been engaged for over 150 years in the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men" in accordance with the donor's instructions. With the expenditure of both private and Federal funds over the years, it has grown into one of the world's great scientific, cultural, and intellectual organizations. It operates magnificent museums, outstanding art galleries, and important research centers. Its collections are among the best in the world, attracting approximately 25,000,000 visitors in 2002 to its museums, galleries, and zoological park, according to the Smithsonian webiste. As custodian of the National Collections, the Smithsonian is responsible for more than 140 million art objects, natural history specimens, and artifacts. These collections are displayed for the enjoyment and education of visitors and are available for research by the staff of the Institution and by hundreds of visiting students, scientists, and historians each year. Other significant study efforts draw their data and results directly from terrestrial, marine, and astrophysical observations at various Smithsonian installations.

Congress established the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture in 1905 to provide quality water and timber for the Nation’s benefit. Their website indicates that over the years, the public expanded the list of what they want from national forests and grasslands. Congress responded by directing the Forest Service to manage national forests for additional multiple uses and benefits and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation. Multiple use means managing resources under the best combination of uses to benefit the American people while ensuring the productivity of the land and protecting the quality of the environment. National forests encompass 191 million acres (77.3 million hectares) of land, which is an area equivalent to the size of Texas. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the purpose of the Forest Service—"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

President's Request for FY 2005

Total funding request for the Department of the Interior (DOI) comes to $11 billion, a 2.8% increase from the FY2004 funding level and the "largest presidential request in the Department's history". Among the agency's priorities is supporting cooperative conservation, accelerating Indian trust reform, reforming the Abandoned Mine Lands program, implementing the Healthy Forests Initiative, addressing the National Park Service's maintenance backlog and enhancing the education of American Indian children.

Funding for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is up just about 5% for a total requested level of $179 million. The Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation program is also up 5% to $146.1 million.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has requested $1.7 billion, a 2% cut from last year's allocation. Funding for BLM energy and mineral programs has decreased 3% from last year's allocation, giving a total of $104 million for these activities. However, the leasing of gas fields will raise an additional $4.0 million in revenue, keeping the total budget at the 2004 enacted level.

The National Park Service (NPS) is slated for an increase of just under 5%, for a total request of $2.4 billion. Resource stewardship geologic resources funding within NPS will stay the same at $2.7 million. Within this account, NPS budget documents outline a monitoring program for water quality in the parks and an "inventory and monitoring program for park vital signs" which will increase 8% to $41 million. Also with the resource stewardship account is the water quality monitoring program that will see a 5% increase to $12.6 million.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Energy and Minerals is responsible for overseeing all mineral and petroleum development on native lands. In addition, it funds geologic and resource assessments of those lands. Approximately 10 percent of US onshore production of petroleum in the lower 48 states comes from tribal lands. The Bureau of Indian Affairs budget request of $2.3 billion for 2005 is down 3.6 percent from the FY 2004 enacted budget.

U.S. Geological Survey
Looking at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as a whole, almost every major program area has had funding decreases, and the FY 2005 budget represents a step backward from FY 2004 levels. The total request is $920 million, down 2.5% from the FY 2004 level of $944 million.

In all cases, the many increases and decreases described here do not take into account the uncontrollable costs (salaries, maintenance, etc.) that increase each year and cut into funds available for actual program activities. This year there have been reductions across many programs, and targets some specific programs such as mineral resources (down almost $7 million) and cooperative topographic mapping (down $3 million). USGS Director Charles (Chip) Groat told EOS that "We are not seeing the big program gashes that we had before." Groat attributes this change partly to better internal management and information technology improvements. The budget winners were water availability, invasive species and natural hazards. The Enterprise Information budget, a new program for FY05, would receive funding from each division of the agency to total $45 million, and will consolidate funding for technology, management and information throughout the agency.

Geologic Programs
Overall, geologic programs would receive $220.8 million, a 5% decrease from last year's enacted level. The budget proposes a decrease for the Minerals Resources Program (see below) that will discontinue or reduce eight lower priority projects for research and assessments; three lower priority projects on aggregates and industrial minerals; the USGS funding for the Alaska Minerals Information project; reporting on mineral commodities; and lower priority mineral resource assessment studies in Nevada.

The biggest hit in the geologic discipline goes to the Mineral Resources Program, which would receive a $7 million decrease after flat funding last year. The FY 2004 request would have cut $9.1 million from the program, but funding was restored by Congress in the final budget. The proposed cuts transfer over $3 million to the new enterprise information budget and an $11 million reduction for earmarks.

The Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) will be funded at a flat rate from FY04 appropriation, in contrast to the $2 million cut requested in last year's presidential budget. The program has never come close to the funding levels called for in the last reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP). That legislation, signed into law in November 2000, authorized $170 million over five years.

Water Programs
Overall, water programs would receive $202.7 million, still down 6.2% from last year's allocation. The Water Resources Research Institutes, which were zeroed out in the president's FY 2003 and FY 2004 requests would be cut again by $6.4 million this year. The water resources program would also receive $1 million for research into the water quality in the Klamath basin

The National Water-Quality Assessment program requested an increase of $200,000, its first increase since FY 1999. The Ground Water Resources Program would increase by $800,000 for a water availability and use initiative. The Toxic Substances Hydrology Program would decline by $518,000 to $12.64 million, which is far less drastic than last year when cutbacks were proposed and a transfer of what remained to the National Science Foundation.

Mapping Programs
Overall, mapping programs would receive $118.9 million, down 7.8% from last year's allocation. The budget request includes an $8.6 million transfer to the Enterprise Information program and a $1.9 million decrease for the National Map a program to create a comprehensive geographic information data base which incorporates elevation data, orthophotography, hydrology and other information. According to EOS, National Map program director Barbara Ryan said "that cut arrests the development of the National Map."

Biological Programs
Biology is also marked for a small decrease from last year's allocation. Totaling $167.6 million, biology programs would receive increases for finding solutions and assisting the mitigation of biological resource problems facing Federal agencies and State, local and tribal governments. The budget proposes transferring $2.9 million to the Enterprise Information program and a $2.8 million reduction in fire science. Some of the fire science programs will be funded by the Wildland Fire Management account.

Department of Energy -- Fossil Fuels
The Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) requested a total of $729 million, a decrease of just over 9% from last year's funding level. Within that total, R&D programs would receive $636 million, a cut of over 5% from last year's level. More than 60% of the R&D funding goes to the president's $447 million Coal Research Initiative (CRI), which is predominantly directed at downstream technology. CRI does include $49 million for carbon sequestration R&D, which marks a 19% increase from last year's allocation.

Funding for oil and natural gas R&D combined make up only 6.5% of the total Fossil Energy R&D budget, a percentage that continues to drop with each new request. Funding for Natural Gas Technologies totals $26 million, a 40% cut from last year. Also funded through the natural gas account is $6 million for joint research with industry into the potential of gas hydrates as a future energy resource. The funding for hydrates is down 36% from last year, for a total of $6 million. The budget proposes to consolidate a number of programs under the Natural Gas Exploration and Production account into a new Sustainable Supply account while cutting 21% from last year's allocation. According to budget documents, this consolidation is in part due to a federal government-wide assessment of programs that encourages management to "phase out programs and activities that are neither productive nor integral to the program's mission and goals."

Simply put, the Oil Technology R&D account is gutted in the president's request. As with natural gas, programs within the Oil Exploration and Production account have been consolidated but with much more dramatic cuts. The total Oil Technology request is $26 million, a 40% cut from last year. Funding for the Oil Exploration and Production account was slashed to a total of $3 million, down 84% from last year's funding level. Also within the overall FE funding is $20 million for the Naval Petroleum & Oil Shale Reserves (NPR).

The FE budget document is available at http://fossil.energy.gov/budget/.

U.S. Forest Service
Total funding for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) would decrease by 6.5% from last year's funding level, for a total of $5.2 billion. The FY 2005 budget proposes a $63.8 million increase in funds for the National Fire Plan, which includes program increases for wildfire suppression and hazardous fuel reduction. The total request for the National Fire Plan from both Forest Service and the Department of Interior is $2.5 billion.

Funding for wildland fire management would decrease by 12% from last year's allocation, to total $1.4 billion. Forest and Rangeland research requested an increase of $14.3 million for science and technology. The Minerals and Geology Management program requested $60 million, a 10% increase from last year's funding level.

Addition information on the USFS budget request is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/budget_2004/.

Smithsonian Institution
The FY 2005 request for the Smithsonian is $628 million, including a new Facilities Capital account. This funding level marks a 27% increase from the FY 2004 appropriation. Approximately $21 million of the $32 million increase would be used primarily for renovation and revitalization of facilities. The National Zoological Park would get $19.5 million and the National Museum of Natural History would get $7 million for revitalization projects.

Last year a specially appointed science commission released a report outlining the role of research within the Smithsonian. The report noted that funding erosion and poor long-term scientific leadership have placed the institution in poor financial standing. Adding to the funding complexities are congressionally mandated increases for targeted programs; the report asserts: "The cannibalization of staff positions to fund these mandated increases must stop." Earlier, the National Research Council released a report with similar findings. The message, however, does not appear to have had a significant impact on the president's FY 2004 request. This year, however $1.5 million would go toward implementing some of the commission's recommendations such as expanding the fellowship program and providing funds for the care of the collections at the National Museum of Natural History.

More information on the DOI budget request is available at http://www.doi.gov/budget/toc.html.

House Action

On June 17th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Interior Appropriations bill by a vote of 334 to 86. Overall, the House decided to reduce funding for grant programs and new initiatives proposed by the administration request and instead provide funding for core, mission-essential programs. The FY05 Interior Appropriations bill restores the $18 million in program cuts from the US Geological Survey and partially restores cuts to key energy research programs. Total funding for the Department of Interior is $9.8 billion, $213 million below the request and $108 million above FY04. The Bureau of Land Management was funded $1.7 billion, $46 million below FY04 and $12 million below the request. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is funded at $1.3 billion, $45 million below FY04 and $62 million below the request. The U.S. Forest Service received $4.2 billion, $8 million above the request and $294 million below 2004. The Smithsonian was allocated $620 million, $24 million above FY04 and $8 million below the request.

U.S. Geological Survey
The House-passed measure would restore $18 million of funding cuts proposed in the President’s budget request for the USGS and add an additional $7 million of new funding for the agency in FY 2005. The USGS budget would increase by 0.75 percent to $944 million under the House recommendation. The Administration proposed cutting the USGS budget by 1.9 percent to $920 million in FY 2005.

“For the fifth year in a row the [House Appropriations] Committee has partially restored a number of high-priority [USGS] research programs that were proposed for reduction or elimination,” according to the committee report (H. Rpt. 108-542) that accompanies the Interior appropriations bill (H.R. 4568). “The Survey has been a leader in the development of cooperative programs and outsourcing its activities. The Committee believes that Bureaus that are successful in implementing these policies should be rewarded and not penalized,” the report says.

The following analysis addresses differences between the President’s budget request and the House appropriations bill for FY 2005. Direct comparisons with FY 2004 program budgets are problematic because of the transfer of $44 million from all existing programs into a new Enterprise Information account in FY 2005.

Geologic Programs
The House appropriations bill would provide $230.9 million for the USGS’s geologic discipline, an increase of $10.1 million or 4.6 percent above the President’s budget request for FY 2005. Changes from the President’s budget request include increases of $6.5 million to restore the cut to mineral resources assessments and increases of $1.6 million to restore the Tampa Bay Pilot coastal project, $1.35 million for the Advanced National Seismic System, and $750,000 for the landslide hazards program, and decreases of $500,000 for science on the Department of the Interior landscape, $400,000 for the earth observation and monitoring program, and $250,000 for geothermal assessments.

The House Appropriations Committee resoundingly rejected a large cut that was proposed for the USGS mineral resources program. According to the committee report, “Mineral resources research and assessments are a core responsibility of the Survey” and the Committee “strongly disagrees with the proposed reduction in the Survey’s mineral resources program” (H. Rpt. 108-542).

Water Programs
The House appropriations bill would provide $211.2 million for the USGS’s water resources discipline, an increase of $8.6 million or 4.2 percent above the President’s budget request for FY 2005. Repeating a ritual that has been established over many years, the President’s budget request would have eliminated the entire $6.4 million budget for the Water Resources Research Institutes, and the House bill would restore full funding for the program.

Other changes from the President’s budget request include an increase of $800,000 for the USGS’s water availability project. The agency’s implementation plan calls for the establishment of two pilot projects at an estimated cost of $5.2 million. The House bill would provide funding to initiate the USGS’s top priority pilot project in the Great Lakes region. “The Committee expects the Administration to continue to request funding in future budgets to expand this program for other areas of the country,” according to the House Appropriations Committee report.

Mapping Programs
The House appropriations bill would provide $122.8 million for the USGS’s geography discipline, an increase of $3.8 million or 3.2 percent above the President’s budget request for FY 2005. Changes from the President’s budget request include increases of $2.36 million for national map activities, and $1.0 million to meet the Survey's obligations for North Carolina flood mapping.

The House Appropriations Committee discussed the fate of the damaged Landsat 7 satellite, which generates long-term remote sensing data that are vital to many aspects of the government and private sector:

“The Committee is concerned that the Survey is not adequately planning for the future of the Landsat 7 program. The Committee has twice reprogrammed funding to keep Landsat 7 operations going under the condition that a short-term fix and a long-term solution to the problem be investigated. To date, no solutions to the problem of continuing operations for a degraded satellite have been proposed. The Committee will no longer increase funding, or reprogram funding from other ongoing Survey programs, to keep the Landsat 7 program operating” (H. Rpt. 108-542).

Biological Programs
The House appropriations bill would provide $172.0 million for the USGS’s biological resources discipline, an increase of $4.4 million or 2.6 percent above the President’s budget request for FY 2005. Changes to the President’s budget request include increases of $2.8 million to restore the interagency cooperative fire science program and $500,000 for a general increase to the Cooperative Research Unit program, as well as decreases of $350,000 for science on the Department of the Interior landscape, and $500,000 for the Klamath Basin initiative.

The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) program came under scrutiny from the House Appropriations Committee:

“The Committee is concerned about the growth of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII); the number of planned regional and thematic nodes is too high and inadequately justified…The Committee directs the Survey to locate all new ‘thematic' nodes in the same physical location as existing regional nodes and to consolidate operational expenses. The Committee also suggests that the Survey reduce the number of planned NBII regions and realign existing regions to align better with the Survey's existing regional structure” (H. Rpt. 108-542).

The House bill would provide an increase for the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, but “the [Appropriations] Committee is concerned about the strategic growth of this system and directs the Survey to develop a long-term plan addressing the number and location of new units that are needed prior to any expansion of the system.

Department of Energy -- Fossil Fuels
The House largely rejected the president's FY05 budget request for fossil energy research and development because it would have provided $237 million for the FutureGen program at the expense of most of the ongoing fossil energy research programs. Instead, the House recommended $601.9 million for fossil energy research and development, a decrease of $70.9 million below the FY04 level and $34 million below the budget request. In report language accompanying the bill, the Committee stated, "FutureGen is addressed under the Clean Coal Technology account. The Committee understands that the sequestration research and development portion of FutureGen will be funded under the Fossil Energy Research and Development sequestration program. The Committee cautions the Department not to `count' general increases to the sequestration budget as FutureGen. Specific sequestration projects that are integral to the FutureGen program should be identified as such in both the overall industry/government plan and in future budget requests for the sequestration program." In sequestration research, there is a decrease of $3 million from the president's request to $46 million.

The report also noted that "several programs funded in the energy conservation account need to be closely coordinated with fossil energy programs so that the highest priority energy research projects are funded. They include the cooperative programs with States, the mining industry of the future program, the industrial gasification program, and the reciprocating engines program."

The House allocated $105 million to partially restore funding for the clean coal power initiative, an increase of $55 million above the budget request and $65 million below the fiscal year 2004 level. In report language that accompanied the Energy and Water bill, the Committee stated their belief that this is enough funding to "maintain a robust program."

In advanced research, there are increases of $4,800,000 for coal utilization science and $3,000,000 to restore the materials program.

In report language, the Committee noted that, "Oil and natural gas research is critical to improving current technology and ensuring the best use of our domestic oil and gas reserves. Despite the Committee's urging to the contrary, these research areas continue to be seriously underfunded in annual budget requests." The House approved $41.6 million for natural gas technologies, an increase of $15.6 million above the budget request and $1.4 million below the FY04 level. There is an increase of $5 million to restore the exploration and production program. In gas hydrates, there is an increase of $3.5 million to restore critical research on methane hydrates. In natural gas infrastructure, there is an increase of $7.1 million to fund ongoing projects.

Oil Technology programs were funded at $34.7 million, an increase of $19.7 million above the budget request and $378,000 below the FY04 level. There is an increase of $15 million to restore exploration and production supporting research programs, including $1 million for cooperative research with Russia. There is an increase of $2million to restore the reservoir life extension program. There is also an increase of $2.7 million to restore the effective environmental protection program.

The House also agreed to increases of $4.3 million for cooperative research and development, $4.6 million for fossil energy environmental restoration, $7 million for plant and capital equipment of which $3 million is for projects at the Albany Research Center and $4 million is to continue the National Energy Technology Laboratory renovation program, $2 million for advanced metallurgical research, $665,000 for special recruitment programs, and $500,000 to restore funding for National Academy of Sciences program reviews. The Committee further stipulated that, "The $500,000 for the National Academy of Sciences review of programs should remain in the base for a continuing annual review by the Academy of programs, using the Academy's matrix, to measure the relative benefits expected to be achieved and to inform decision making on what programs should be continued, expanded, scaled-back, or eliminated."

Also noted in it's report, "The funding for special recruitment programs is to attract highly qualified students to pursue Federal energy careers and to increase diversity in the fossil energy workforce. The Office of Fossil Energy has been assessing programs to pay for a Technical Career Intern Program and to participate in the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program with minority educational institutions. The Committee believes that these recruitment programs should be funded directly and not through assessments on other programs. The Committee has added a line item to the budget for that purpose. It includes $165,000 for the Technical Career Intern Program and $500,000 for the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program. These programs should be continued under this budget line item in the future. The Committee suggests that the Technical Career Intern Program be increased to $340,000 in fiscal year 2006 and that the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program continue at the $500,000 level in fiscal year 2006."

Senate Action

On September 14th, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill (S. 2804) for Fiscal Year 2005 (FY05). The bill offers divides a total budget of $20.2 billion amongst its constituent agencies. The Committee's funding recommendations for geoscience-related functions in the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals Management Service, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the US Forest Service are explained in the following paragraphs.

United States Geological Survey (USGS)
The Committee recommended $939.5 billion for the USGS, $1.5 million more than requested by the President. This increase of 2.1% restores the funding cut proposed by the Administration but does not meet the rate of inflation. The Senate's report cautions, "The Committee is concerned that both Department of the Interior [DOI] and administration-wide priorities, as well as the Survey's administrative changes, are being balanced on the backs of the programs disciplines that are the basis for the Survey's existence and its scientific reputation. The strength of the Survey's existing efforts in many program areas is deserving of additional support. The Committee urges that future budget requests place a stronger emphasis on the Survey's core programs, which have proven value and strong public support."

Geological Programs is slated to receive $228.2 million, 2.5% less than FY04 funding but 3.4% greater than the President's request of $220.8 million. Within this account, Mineral Resources would remain flat at $56 million, 13% more than the President requested for FY05. The Advanced National Seismic System would receive $4.4 million, equal to FY04 funding amount and the budget request.

The Committee recommends $120 million for Mapping Programs, an increase of $883,000 or 0.8% over the request and a $9.9 million (7.7%) cut below current funding levels. The report states, "In agreement with the budget request, the following reductions have been taken to the fiscal year 2004 level: $1,887,000 in expected buyout savings, $494,000 for GIS mapping, and a transfer of $8,619,000 to the newly created Enterprise Information activity." Within base funds, $1 million is expected to fund mapping activities in Alaska.

The Committee recommends $213 million for Water Resources Programs, a 5% increase over the budget request but 1.4% below FY04 funding. The Committee was "dismayed" that the National Institutes of Water Research program was once again targeted for elimination with the proposed $10 million cut. The Biological Resources account is slated to receive $173 million, 1.1% less than current funding but 3% more than requested. The Northern Prairie Carbon Crediting initiative was aportioned $1 million. Facilities were funded at $95 million, $2 million (2.1%) more than current funding and $993,000 (1%) less than requested. Science Support is slated to receive $65 million, $25 million or 29% less than current funding levels and $3.2 million less than the President's request. To support the new Enterprise Information account, $27 million was transferred from Science Support.

Department of Energy Fossil Energy R & D
The Committee recommends $542.5 for fossil energy research and development, a decrease of $130 million or 19% below the enacted level and a decrease of $93 million or 14.6% from the budget request. Within this account, the Committee would allocate $41 million for Natural Gas Technologies, 4.7% less than current funding and 58% more than requested by the President. Petroleum - Oil Technologies would receive $31 million, a 107% increase over the $15 million requested but an 11.4% decrease from the current level. The Exploration and Production account received $13 million above the request. According to the report, "The Committee is aware of the success of the Carbon Capture Project" and has agreed to the budget request of $49 million for Carbon Sequestration research, 19.5% more than the current funding level.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Under the Senate bill, the Bureau of Land Management would receive $1.776 million. This is roughly in line with the request but also a 6% cut below FY04 funding. Energy and Minerals Management would receive $178 million, $8 million (3.8%) more than the budget request and nearly equal to the current enacted level. Included is a $3 million increase for Oil and Gas, $500,000 for Coal Management, and $500,000 for other minerals. The Alaska minerals program would receive $4 million, 1.8 million more than requested.

Minerals Management Service
The Committee recommended $178 million for the Minerals Management Service as per the budget request, a 4.7% increase from the FY04 level. The Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation is slated to receive $146.1 million, $1,800,000 above the budget request and $7 million (4.3%) more than the current enacted level. "The increase is comprised of $900,000 for the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology to support exploration and sustainable development of seabed minerals including gas hydrates and $900,000 for the Marine Mineral Technology Center in Alaska."

National Park Service (NPS)
The Committee approved the budget request for $2,360 million for the total operating costs of the National Park Service, a 4.5% increase from the current level. The accompanying report stated that "the amount provided includes an increase of $44,024,000 for park base operating budgets, which is double the amount in the budget request." Although the bill specifies $342 million for the Resource Stewardship account, it does not offer any recommendations as to the Geologic Resources Division. The Committee recommends $39 million for Inventory and Monitoring, a $2.1 million or 5% cut below the request and a 2.6% increase from the current enacted level. Water Quality Monitoring was not specified in the report.

Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian is recommended to receive $627 million, on par with the request and 5.2% more than the current level of $596 million.

United States Forest Service (USFS)
The Committee recommends $4.271 million for the total budget of the USFS as requested by the President, a 14% decrease from the current funding level. The Minerals and Geology Management account would receive $60 million as requested, a 13% increase over the current funding level.

Conference Action

Once again, Congress failed to pass all thirteen appropriations bills by the September 30th deadline and opted to pass two continuing resolutions, funding all federal agencies at FY04 levels until December 3. Congress came back into lame duck session on November 16th with the omnibus appropriations legislation first on the agenda. When all the dust settled, Congress agreed on the massive 3000 page $388 billion spending bill H.R. 4818 for FY05. The bill, which was crafted under the mantra of fiscal restraint, employed a 0.8% across-the-board cut to reign in spending. Prior to the 0.8% across-the-board cut, the Interior bill suffered an additional 0.594% recission to each bureau within the agency.

Of all the appropriations bills, Interior took the biggest cut all. Funding fell from $20.6 billion in FY04 to $19.8 billion, a 3.8% cut.

United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Next year, the USGS will receive $936 million, 0.2% less than FY04 but $16 billion more than requested by the President. In the report, conferees once again expressed dismay that the equipment on the Landsat 7 satellite has been inoperable for over a year. The report states, "Further, the managers object to the notion of continuing to redirect funds from other valuable Survey activities in order to maintain the status quo for a program that is no longer fully functional...The managers expect the Survey to be extremely cautious in expanding its mapping programs or entering into additional cooperative agreements with these monies until it is clear how the Landsat issue will be resolved."

Geological Programs are to receive $229 million, a 2% decrease over FY04. Mineral Resources will be funded at $55 million, 1.4% less than FY04 but 13% more than the president's request. The Advanced National Seismic System emerged as one of the few winners in the bill, with a 15% increase to $5.25 million. Mapping Programs suffered a 9% cut to $118 million from $130 million in FY04. Water Resources Programs is funded at $214 million, a 2.3% cut. Biological Resources is slated to receive $174 million, 2% less than in FY04. The Facilities and Science Support accounts will receive $95 and $66 million, a 1.7% and 28% cut respectively.

Department of Energy Fossil Energy R&D (DOE)
DOE fossil energy research and development took a major hit with a 15% cut, from $673 million to $572 million. The Natural Gas research budget was cut $1 million to $42 million. Petroleum-Oil funding will stay flat at $35 million. Carbon Sequestration research will receive a 17% boost in FY05 to $49 million.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM sustained an 8.5% cut and will be funded at $1.7 billion for FY05. The Energy and Minerals Management account will receive $106.5 million, $2 million less than their current budget.

Minerals Management Service (MMS)
The MMS is funded at $174 million, a 2% increase over the current level. The Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation will enjoy a 6% increase to $148 million.

National Park Service (NPS)
The NPS will receive a 2.5% increase this year with a $2.3 billion total budget. The report managers warned the White House Office of Management and Budget against sacrificing core programs for increased security funding at national parks. "The Administration's budget requests for parks in recent years have not sufficiently addressed growing shortfalls in core operating programs at the parks. Recent budgets have seen increasing emphasis placed on expanding law enforcement and security, facility maintenance, information technology, and natural resource data gathering. Core park operations have also been impacted by the absorption of pay costs within budget requests, Congressionally mandated pay increases in excess of budget requests, and storm damage. New security and anti-terrorism requirements and other new mandates and responsibilities have also been assigned by the Department and the Office of Management and Budget. The managers have been supportive of these requirements and have provided significant increases for security at icon and border parks while consistently including additional park maintenance funding to ensure the maintenance backlog reduction efforts continue on track. However important these new responsibilities, the budget of the National Park Service cannot continue to be limited to a few parks and purposes while core visitor service requirements are going unmet nationwide. All parks need to remain open and accessible to visitors and basic visitor services need to be available at all parks across the system."

The NPS Resource Stewardship account received a $3 million increase to $338 million. Inventory and Monitoring was cut 1.4% to $37.5 million. The managers made no specific mention of the Water Quality Monitoring account.

Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution was flat funded from FY04, with a total FY04 budget of $489 million.

United States Forest Service (USFS)
The Forest Service budget took a 15% cut, from $4.98 billion to $4.24 billion. However, Minerals and Geology Management received a 4.9% increase to $56.5 million.

Sources: Eos; House of Representatives Commitee on Appropriations website; U.S. Department of the Interior FY05 Budget; National Council for Science and the Environment; Thomas legislative database; U.S. Geological Survey; White House Office of Management and Budget.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Contributed by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program staff and Gayle Levy, AGI/AAPG 2004 Spring Semester Intern, David Millar AGI/AAPG 2004 Fall Semster Intern

Last Update November 29, 2004


  Information Services |Geoscience Education |Public Policy |Environmental
Geoscience
 |
Publications |Workforce |AGI Events


agi logo

© 2014. All rights reserved.
American Geosciences Institute, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302-1502.
Please send any comments or problems with this site to: webmaster@agiweb.org.
Privacy Policy