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President Proposes $1.1 Billion for BLM in Fiscal Year 2011 To Protect Resources and Manage Uses of Public Lands

   2/1/10

With a focus on renewable energy development, climate change adaptation,
and other key priorities, President Obama today requested $1.1 billion in
appropriations for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land
Management in Fiscal Year 2011. This represents an $8.0 million increase
from the BLM’s FY 2010 enacted funding level. The President’s request
reflects his continuing commitment to be prudent with taxpayer dollars
while setting priorities for spending.

“Today’s budget proposal will advance the BLM’s mission of protecting the
land’s resources while facilitating environmentally sound use of America’s
public lands,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “Under this proposal, we can
and will meet the challenges facing our agency in today’s fast-growing
West.” Under the President’s proposed budget, the BLM will focus on the
following priorities:

New Energy Frontier

The New Energy Frontier initiative recognizes the value of environmentally
sound, scientifically grounded development of both renewable and
conventional energy resources on the Nation’s public lands. To encourage
and facilitate renewable energy development, the President’s FY 2011 BLM
budget proposes a $3.0 million increase that builds on the $16.1 million
increase for renewable energy provided in FY 2010. The funds would be used
to complete environmental studies for solar energy projects in Nevada and
potential wind energy zones in Oregon and Nevada. In the conventional
energy program, the BLM will focus on implementing oil and gas leasing
reforms put forward by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar while placing
continued emphasis on oil and gas inspections, environmental enforcement,
and production monitoring activities. The budget includes a $2.0 million
increase in BLM’s Soil, Water, and Air Management program for air quality
monitoring that will be targeted to areas with current or anticipated
intensive oil and gas development to help BLM ensure that the energy
development complies with environmental requirements and minimizes or
addresses potential litigation issues.

The Budget maintains BLM’s oil and gas management program capacity at
current levels, with a $3.0 million decrease to reflect the completion of
specific Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) studies. In addition,
the Budget proposes new fees – estimated to generated $10 million annually
– to help offset the cost of BLM’s oil and gas inspection and enforcement
activities.

Climate Change Adaptation

The Secretary’s Climate Change Adaptation initiative recognizes the need to
understand the condition of BLM-managed landscapes at a broad level;
identify potential impacts from climate change; and develop and implement
strategies to help native plant and animal communities adapt to climate
change. These efforts are coordinated with other Interior bureaus and
other partners through a network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.
The President’s proposed FY 2011 BLM budget includes a $2.5 million
increase in support of the Climate Change Adaptation initiative, in
addition to the $15.0 million increase the Bureau received in 2010.

– more –




Page 2/FY 2011 Budget Proposal for BLM

Treasured Landscapes

The Treasured Landscapes initiative recognizes the need to take a
landscape-scale approach to conservation. Through this initiative, the BLM
is dedicated to preserving species and habitat; conserving and restoring
rivers and riparian areas; and protecting lands of historical and cultural
significance.

The FY 2011 BLM budget request makes a major contribution to the Treasured
Landscapes initiative with a proposed $13.1 million increase for
high-priority land acquisition projects, for a total of $37.8 million for
high-priority line-item projects. The total of $37.8 million will add
Federal protection to 25,679 acres of lands with key natural and cultural
resources.

Youth in Natural Resources

The Youth in Natural Resources initiative recognizes the value of
encouraging young people to experience the myriad resources offered by the
Nation’s public lands and to engage and connect with the land around them.
In FY 2010, the BLM received an increase of $5 million to support programs
and partnerships that engage youth in natural resource management;
encourage young people and their families to visit, explore, and learn
about the public lands; and promote stewardship, conservation, and public
service. In FY 2011, the BLM will continue to fund these programs and
partnerships, as well as direct $1.0 million in base funding to support a
new public-private partnership program with the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation.

Other Funding: the National Wild Horse and Burro Program

Putting the BLM’s wild horse and burro program on a sustainable track is
one of Secretary Salazar’s top priorities. Today the BLM finds itself in
the position of needing to gather thousands of wild horses from
overpopulated herds on Western public rangelands at a time when public
demand for adoptable horses has declined. This has left more than 34,000
wild horses and burros in holding facilities that cost approximately $35
million to operate out of a FY 2010 wild horse budget of $64 million.

Taking note of the BLM’s holding costs and recognizing the agency’s limited
management options concerning unadoptable horses, the Government
Accountability Office issued a report in October 2008 that found the Bureau
to be at a “critical crossroads.” In response to this situation, Secretary
Salazar announced on Oct. 7, 2009, a new plan to put the BLM’s wild horse
and burro program on a sustainable track. The strategy emphasizes a
combination of aggressive fertility control and the relocation of wild
horses to new preserves in the Midwest or Eastern portions of the United
States as a means to accelerate the attainment of appropriate management
population levels. To advance the Secretary’s efforts toward program
sustainability, the President’s FY 2011 BLM budget proposal requests $75.7
million for the wild horse and burro program, a $12 million increase over
the FY 2010 level of $64 million. The budget proposal makes a separate,
but related land-acquisition funding request of $42.5 million for the
purchase of land for one wild horse preserve.

Budget Decreases

The 2011 budget funds Administration priorities and reduces funding for
lower-priority programs, projects, and activities. Included is a reduction
of $8.2 million for resource management planning; a $5.0 million reduction
in the Oregon and California Lands Management program; a $13.0 million
reduction in the Alaska land conveyance program; elimination of the $9.5
million Challenge Cost Share program; a reduction of $600,000 by
discontinuing two congressional earmarks in the Management of Lands and
Resources account; a total of $3.8 million in smaller base funding
reductions in several programs; management efficiencies totaling $10.6
million; and a reduction in the construction program of $5.0 million.

The BLM manages more land – 253 million acres – than any other Federal
agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is
primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with
a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of
sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use
mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for
the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau
accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation,
livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by
conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public
lands.

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