The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on September 25 released draft text of legislation funding the Department of the Interior, including the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service (USFS), and various independent and related agencies for the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13). In total, the bill includes $29.7 billion in funding – an increase of $500 million from FY12. The proposal in the House committee on Appropriations earlier this year was for $28 billion.
The Senate bill funds most wildlife-related programs at or slightly above the level requested by the President, which, for most programs, is at or slightly above the level for FY12. The legislation would fund USFWS at $1.41 billion, down $60 million from FY12, but not as steep a drop as the President’s FY13 proposal of $1.35 billion, or the House budget proposal which cuts funding by 21.5 percent to $1.16 billion. The legislation calls for a 2.6 percent increase to endangered species programs, while the House bill offered a 23.8 percent cut. The Senate bill increases funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System by $3.8 million, while the House bill would decrease it by $48 million (9 percent). Funding would remain approximately level for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act ($34.6 million), and State and Tribal Wildlife Grants ($61.3 million).
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would see a 1.7 percent cut under the Senate bill, but wildlife management programs would be funded at $47 million, an increase of $10 million on current funding levels. The president’s request for a similar increase to the BLM’s threatened and endangered species programs was not included; those funds remained level at $22 million.
Under the Senate bill, the US Geological Survey (USGS) would receive an increase of $16 million to $1.08 billion, $18 million less than the President’s request and $116 more than the house proposal. The Senate would increase the USGS ecosystems research budget 6% to $171 million, the president requested a 10% increase, and the house proposed a 24% cut to $132.5 million. Under the Senate bill the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units would receive the President’s requested increase of $165,000 for a total of $22.9 million. USGS Climate Science Centers which received $25.5 million in FY12 would receive an additional $160,000 under the Senate legislation or $790,000 less under the house bill.
The Senate bill would provide $2.6 billion for the National Park Service, about the same as current funding levels and on par with the administration’s request. It also includes $378 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a 17 percent increase over current funding. The House proposal would cut it by nearly 80 percent.
The bill also includes a measure to create the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and amendments from John Tester (D-Montana) to designate new wilderness areas and set minimum quotas for restoration logging.
Click here for the table from the Senate proposal.
Sources: E&E Publishing (Greenwire, June 28, 2012, September 25, 2012), US Senate Committee on Appropriations, US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations