President Proposes $1.2 Billion for BLM in Fiscal Year 2014 to Protect Resources and Manage Uses of Public Lands
WASHINGTON, DC – Focusing on renewable energy, safe and responsible mineral development, outdoor recreation and other key priorities, the President’s budget has requested $1.2 billion in appropriations for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The request, announced today, represents a $32.6 million or 2.9 percent increase over the agency’s congressionally enacted FY 2012 budget.
“Today’s budget proposal reflects the need to continue to make wise investments in areas that help grow the economy and create jobs through the balanced use of our public lands,” said BLM Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze. “It advances our efforts to reduce costs while meeting our vital commitments.”
The BLM, which manages more than 245 million acres of public land for conservation, energy development, and recreation, generated $4.6 billion in revenues in 2012, returning more than four dollars for every dollar spent on BLM operations. Kornze also noted that the BLM generates an estimated $151 billion in economic output for the nation and supports more than 756,000 jobs through extractive and recreational uses of public lands.
Under the President’s proposed budget for FY 2014, the BLM, which has about 10,250 full-time employees, will focus on the following priorities:
Safe and Responsible Conventional Energy Development – The President’s 2014 budget request includes a more than 20 percent increase to strengthen the BLM’s onshore oil and gas program. The budget provides increased funding to support continued implementation of leasing reform, enhance oversight, and strengthen inspections. The BLM’s 31 onshore lease sales in calendar year 2012 resulted in 1,707 parcels receiving bids, 30 percent more than in 2009, and generated $233 million for taxpayers. Leasing reforms launched in 2010 have resulted in fewer protests, reducing costs and speeding development.
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year the President has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than any time in two decades and natural gas production at its highest level ever. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, foreign oil imports are now lower than they have been in 20 years.
New Energy Frontier – The President’s 2014 budget request includes a program increase of $7.1 million for renewable energy planning, environmental studies, and geothermal management. The budget proposal also seeks $6 million to identify and designate energy transmission corridors to facilitate energy transmission to communities across the West and to support continued economic growth while sustaining healthy lands, water, and air. Under the President’s leadership, renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources has doubled over the last four years.
This funding will help to support continuing efforts that since 2009 have resulted in the authorization of 42 renewable energy projects on or affecting the public lands. If all of these projects are fully built, they could generate enough electricity to power roughly four million homes.
The President’s budget request also recognizes the critical economic role of America’s onshore Federal mineral estate, which accounts for 41 percent of domestic coal production, 13 percent of domestic natural gas production, and 5 percent of the nation’s oil production. Federal coal production alone supports roughly 20 percent of current U.S. electricity supplies.
America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) – The BLM plays a key role in advancing the President’s conservation initiative to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. The FY 2014 budget proposal seeks an increase of $6 million for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands that comprise the 27 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System. This increase, coupled with a request for an additional $2 million in recreation resource management, will support travel management planning (for mountain biking, off-highway vehicle use, and other forms of travel); conserve and remediate habitat; and provide additional law enforcement in specific areas of the conservation system. The BLM budget request also includes a $1.1 million increase for the agency to collaborate with AGO partners to advance community-based, landscape-scale conservation efforts in the desert Southwest, the Crown of the Continent (northwest Montana), and the northern Great Plains grasslands.
Youth in the Great Outdoors – With an emphasis on hiring youth from diverse backgrounds and exposing them to career pathways in natural and cultural resources, the budget requests an increase of $2.8 million for expanded youth programs and partnerships, including an increase of $1.5 million for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This would add to the $1 million base NFWF budget that is currently dedicated to advancing the youth initiative.
Secretary’s Western Oregon Strategy – The President’s 2014 budget proposal seeks an increase of $3.5 million for implementing the Secretary’s Western Oregon Strategy for resource management on the economically critical Oregon and California (O&C) lands, managed by the BLM for forest diversity and sustainability. The funding request includes $1.8 million aimed at increasing timber volumes offered for sale while stepping up surveys of rare and endangered species and facilitating recovery of the northern spotted owl. The request also includes a $1.7 million increase for the preparation of six new Western Oregon Resource Management Plans announced by the Secretary in February 2012.
Land Acquisition – The President’s 2014 budget proposes $48.9 million for BLM land acquisition, an increase of $26.6 million over the 2012 enacted level. The request includes $16.3 million in mandatory funding. Among other things, the total request would underwrite eight projects associated with hunter or angler access in seven states.
Other Program Increases –
Sage-grouse: The 2014 BLM budget proposes an increase of $15 million over the 2012 enacted level to enhance habitat for the Greater Sage-grouse through continued land-use planning efforts and habitat restoration projects. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to decide by 2015 if the bird should be listed as a threatened or endangered species, which carries West-wide implications for energy development, recreation, livestock grazing and fire management.
Wild Horses and Burros: The proposed budget includes an increase of $2 million for the Wild Horse and Burro Program to support continued efforts to reform the program and carry out a long-term management strategy. The funding will also assist BLM in implementing recommendations of a forthcoming National Academy of Sciences study of wild horse management issues. The budget request would maintain program funding with the agency’s 2013 operating plan, which included a $2 million increase for population-control research and development.
Proposals to Offset Costs and Save Taxpayer Dollars –
Oil and Gas: The 2014 budget proposes to shift a significant share of the cost of inspection activity to the oil and gas industry. Through modernizing the cost structure, this plan would generate $48 million in fee revenue, allowing for an increase of $10 million in program resources, while saving taxpayers a net of $38 million. The additional funds would enhance BLM’s capacity to conduct critical inspections and address deficiencies identified by the Government Accountability Office.
Grazing: The budget proposes a three-year pilot project for an administrative processing fee that would offset a portion of the costs of issuing grazing permits and leases on BLM-managed lands.