SPECIAL UPDATE: The President's FY2009 Department of Interior
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
More details about DOI's budget are available at AGI's appropriation
page for DOI.
On February 4, 2008, Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Department
of the Interior (DOI), unveiled the President's fiscal year (FY) 2009
budget, totaling $10.7 billion. The Department's FY09 request is a
3.5 % decline compared to last year's enacted level, but a 1.8 % increase
compared to the President's FY08 request. Secretary Kempthorne stated
that "like all federal agencies, we face tight budget times;"
but he concluded that the requested budget will sustain core conservation
and stewardship programs and address emerging environmental and resource
Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources
Committee, was less optimistic about DOI's budget request stating
"this was the President's last chance to end the recurring budget
nightmare that has set the Interior Department on a steady path of
neglect and deterioration."
Rahall said. "This budget axes forest programs, undercuts our
wildlife refuges, puts programs to save endangered species under the
knife, neglects the needs of our National Parks, and puts a stopper
in important water programs."
Indeed the budget request for DOI in FY09 is almost the same as the
Department's enacted budget of $10.675 billion in FY03. The Department
is clearly suffering even more than other federal agencies.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The total funding request for BLM is $977.4 million, a decline of
3% compared to FY08 enacted levels. The President's Healthy Lands
Initiative got a boost of $10 million; the healthy lands program focuses
on landscape-scale restoration across eight western states. The Energy
and Minerals Management program also saw an increase of $22.1 million
compared to last year, with a total request of $132 million. The boost
is due to continued efforts to remediate legacy wells on Alaska's
The funding request for Minerals Management Service (MMS) is
$160.4 million, 0.4 % below FY08 enacted levels. The Outer Continental
Shelf (OCS) resource evaluation program increased by 7.6% compared
to last year, totaling $32.7 million, highlighting the Administration's
continued interest in energy and mineral resources in the OCS. The
budget also calls for the repeal of offshore royalty incentives that
were approved in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The House attempted
to repeal these royalties in their energy bill in 2007, but the repeal
was not accepted in the final version that was signed into law.
The National Parks Service (NPS) budget request totals $2.4
billion, a decline of 1.9% from last year. While the overall NPS budget
is lower, there is an increase of $160 million in the park operations
account, in preparation for the President's National Parks Centennial
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
On February 4, 2008, USGS Director Mark Myers, announced a 3.8% decline
in the agency's budget request, $968.5 million for FY09 compared to
the FY08 enacted level of $1 billion. The budget includes program
increases of $34.9 million, a $15 million increase for fixed costs
and offsetting program decreases totaling $87.8 million. USGS will
play a central role in two new Administration initiatives, the Water
for America Initiative and the Ocean and Coastal Frontiers Initiative.
The Survey will continue its role in the President's Healthy Lands
Initiative, which targets western states and will also re-structure
its climate change activity, putting most of this work into a new
account entitled the Global Change Program.
Myers stated that "the proposed budget will also strengthen our
efforts in climate change studies, priority ecosystems research and
the development of a National Land Imaging Program." Myers also
emphasized the role USGS will play in addressing large-scale challenges
of data integration, data preservation and data accessibility. He
emphasized that the USGS provides valuable and objective information
to help the nation manage and sustain its resources.
The Geologic Hazards, Resource, and Processes account is marked for
a 14.6% decrease; the proposed budget is $208 million, with large
losses in the Mineral Resources, Earth Surface Dynamics, Earthquake
Hazards, and Global Seismographic Network programs. The Mineral Resources'
budget is reduced by $24.5 million, the Earth Surface Dynamics program
is eliminated, including the remaining work on the Great Lakes geologic
mapping, and the Earthquake Hazards program is reduced by $5 million,
retaining $49.1 million for only the highest priority earthquake research
projects in FY09.
The programs slated for increases include the National Cooperative
Geologic Mapping program, which would provide additional support for
the water census by increasing knowledge related to groundwater resources
and the Coastal and Marine Geology program, which has an increase
of $7 million, $4 million for the collection of data for the extended
Continental Shelf of the Arctic Ocean, $2 million will be used to
conduct merit-based ocean research projects, and $1 million will complete
funding for efforts in seafloor mapping, and modeling of extreme weather
Water Resources Programs
The Water Resources programs as a whole, also suffer a decline the
FY09 proposed budget totaling $203 million, a reduction of $17.5 million
from the FY08 enacted budget. The 2009 budget includes a net increase
of $8.2 million in support of the water census component of the Water
for America Initiative. The National Streamflow Information Program
is funded at $23.8 million, which includes an increase of $3.7 million
to upgrade 350 stream gages with real-time telemetry and to reinstate
50 discontinued stream gages in 2009. Also in support of the water
census, the Ground-Water Resources program would receive an increase
of $3 million, for a total of $10.6 million in FY09. The National
Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program would be cut by $10.9 million,
for $54.1 million in FY09 and the Hydrologic Research and Development
program would be cut by $3.5 million for a proposed budget of $11.9
million in FY09. The FY09 budget will also eliminate all federal support
for the State Water Resources Research Institutes, which support an
institute in each state and four U.S. territories; this will result
in the loss of support for over 250 research projects and more than
Land Remote Sensing is funded at $62.6 million, an increase of $1
million compared to FY08 levels. Also included is a programmatic increase
of $2.0 million to develop a National Land Imaging Program. The program
will assess the future need for land imaging data and develop a plan
for the acquisition of satellite data to supplement Landsat 7 imagery.
The Geographic Analysis and Monitoring account is marked for a reduction
of $5.7 million for a total of $73.1 million in FY09.
The Biological programs would receive a slight increase compared to
FY08 levels for a total proposed budget of $180 million.
The global change activity of USGS was restructured in the FY09 budget,
creating a new program area, Global Change, which retains $5.0 million
of the $7.4 million allocated by Congress in FY08. The small increase
would be added to a steady budget of $21.6 million for climate change
research, giving the new Global Change Program a total budget of $26.6
million for FY09. An additional $5 million for climate change work
would remain disbursed within the Geographic and Biologic divisions.
So the USGS's total contribution to the Climate Change Science Program
(CCSP) would be about $31.4 million in FY09.
Special update prepared by Marcy Gallo, Government Affairs Staff
Sources: Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted February 6, 2008