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Fact Sheet: Fiscal Year 2010 Interior & Environment Conference Report


, Oct 27 -

Fact Sheet:  Fiscal Year 2010 Interior & Environment Conference Report
 
The fiscal year 2010 Interior and Environment (I&E) Appropriations conference report is funded at $32.2 billion, a $4.7 billion - or 17 % - increase from last year’s level. This titanic funding increase is in addition to the $11 billion appropriated this year for interior and environment programs in the “stimulus” bill.
 
Total overall funding for the Interior and Environment Subcommittee alone in FY09 - including the FY09 enacted bill ($27.6 billion), FY09 “stimulus” ($11 billion), and FY09 emergency supplemental ($250 million) - was a staggering $38.9 billion.  The incredible, unrestrained spending in this conference report is troubling and unsustainable, and unfortunately is consistent with the Democrat majority’s budget blueprint that increases non-defense, discretionary spending by 12 percent over last year.
 
 
Bill Highlights/Concerns:
 
 
Department of the Interior
 
The Department of the Interior is funded at $11 billion which is an increase of $893 million, or 9 %, over last year’s level.  These funds include:  $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Land Management ($100 million or 10% above last year); $1.6 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ($206 million or 14% above last year); $2.7 billion for the National Park Service ($218 million or 9% above last year); $1.1 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey ($68 million or 7% above last year); and $2.6 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs ($243 million or 10% above last year).
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
 
Of the many large increases included in this conference report, the most alarming are the excessive increases for a variety of accounts within the EPA.  The conference agreement provides $10.3 billion, a $2.7 billion, or 35%, increase over the FY09 enacted level ($7.6 billion).  When combined with “stimulus” funding ($7.2 billion), funding approved for the EPA in this calendar will exceed $25 billion - an amount nearly equal to the total enacted level of the entire fiscal year 2008 Interior and Environment spending bill.
 
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund ($2.1 billion) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund ($1.4 billion) are funded at a combined level of $3.5 billion which represents an increase of nearly $2 billion, or 130%, above last year’s enacted level.  Other notable increases within the EPA include $608 million for so-called Geographic Programs including San Francisco Bay ($7 million, or 40% increase); Puget Sound ($50 million, or 150% increase); Chesapeake Bay ($50 million, or 61% increase) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ($475 million, or 692% increase).  In addition, the conference agreement contains a $2 million in “airdropped” funds (funds that were not included in neither the House nor Senate versions of the bill) for a new “geographic program” known as Potomac Highlands.
 
Great Lakes EPA rider
 
Also “air-dropped” in the conference agreement is a new, controversial legislative rider inserted exempting existing steamships on the Great Lakes from EPA air quality standards.  These large vessels rank second only to power plants as to the health risk their air pollution poses.  The EPA estimates the final rule affecting these ships would produce more health benefits than those it has applied to off-road vehicles, diesel trucks and other sources. 
 
In a turn-around from the pre-conferenced draft conference report, the conference agreement now includes a House-passed provision protecting farmers and livestock producers from an EPA rule on manure management systems.  The provision was originally proposed by Rep. Tom Latham, and was included in the House version of the Interior bill after a bi-partisan committee vote. Without the exemption, farmers and ranchers will be subject to extraordinary and expensive regulations that will be detrimental to their livelihoods and to communities across the country. This provision was re-inserted after the House overwhelmingly passed a motion to instruct conferees to include the Latham language.
 
Climate Change Programs
 
The conference report provides a total of $382 million for climate change-related initiatives.  This includes climate change funding within the EPA ($190 million); USGS ($68 million); BLM ($15 million); Fish & Wildlife Service ($55 million); National Park Service ($10 million); BIA ($6 million); U.S. Forest Service ($32  million); and Smithsonian ($7 million).  Total EPA funding includes $132 million for “climate protection” programs, including $17 million (an $11 million, or 166% increase) for an expansion of the Greenhouse Gas Registry; $10 million to continue providing grants to local governments for climate change initiatives; and $5 million for the EPA’s efforts to assist Congress in analyzing Cap and Trade legislation.
 
USDA (Forest Service)
 
The conference report includes $2.8 billion in non-fire related funding for the U.S. Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture.  This is a $166 million, or 6%, increase over last year’s enacted level.  This includes funding for forest and rangeland research, wildlife and fish management, capital improvement and maintenance, grazing management, vegetation and watershed management, land acquisition, law enforcement activities, and facilities maintenance.
 
Wildfire Suppression and FLAME Fund (DoI & USDA)
 
The conference agreement provides fire suppression funding for five bureaus under the Department of the Interior as well as the U.S. Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture.  Total funding for wildfire suppression for both Departments, including both the suppression and reserve accounts is $1.9 billion.  This amount is equal to the budget request and is $526 million above the FY09 funding level.   This is the largest funding increase ever provided for wildfire suppression. The conference agreement also includes $556 million for hazardous fuels reduction work, an increase of $25 million, or 5 percent. 
 
With the overwhelming support of the House and Senate for the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act of 2009 (FLAME Act of 2009), the conference report includes bill language to provide $474 million in funding for FLAME funds within both the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior. This funding level is equal to the actual expenditures during FY09 by each Department on large wildfire suppression events.
 
The FLAME reserve accounts are transfer accounts from which the each Secretary may transfer funds into their respective wild-land fire management accounts for wildfire suppression activities.  The FLAME funds will serve to cover the costs of large or complex wildfires and act as a reserve when amounts provided for wildfire suppression and Federal emergency responses are exhausted.
 
Land and Water Conservation Fund (DoI & USDA)
 
The conference agreement provides land and water conservation programs with huge and unprecedented increases in funding. Programs funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) are increased to $438 million, or 59% over the FY 2009 enacted level.  Funding for other land acquisition programs have doubled, including BLM land acquisition doubled to $30 million, National Wildlife Refuge land acquisition doubled to $86 million, National Park land acquisition nearly doubled to $86 million, and the State-side parks program is more than doubled to $40 million.  In addition, National Forest land acquisition is up 28% to $64 million, and the State and private Forest Legacy program is up 55% to $76 million.
 
Indian Health Service
 
The conference report provides $4.1 billion for the Indian Health Service, an increase of $471 million, or 13%, over last year’s enacted level.  This includes funding for programs related to contract health services, urban health programs, dental health, mental health, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse treatment, and health facilities construction and maintenance.
 
NEA/NEH
 
The conference report includes $167.5 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  This funding represents a $12.5 million, or 8%, increase for each of the national endowments over last year.   
 
Smithsonian Institution
 
The Smithsonian is funded at $761 million, a $30 million, or 4%, increase. 
 
National Gallery of Art
 
The National Gallery of Art is funded at $167 million which is a $44 million, or 36%, increase over last year.  Of that amount, $40 million is for the repair and restoration of the marble façade of the East Building where loose panels pose an extreme public safety hazard.  The Gallery estimates that this amount represents approximately one-half of the total costs to remove, repair, and re-hang each of the 16,200 marble panels.