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News Release

For release: Monday, Feb. 4, 2008
Contacts: Tom Gorey, 202-452-5137 or Carl Rountree, 202-452-7745 

  President Proposes Budget for BLM in FY 2009 to Protect Resources and Manage Uses of Public Lands

With a focus on the protection and sustainable development of public land resources, the administration today requested a $1.002 billion gross budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in fiscal year 2009. 

The FY 2009 budget proposal includes a $10 million increase for the BLM’s role in implementing Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne’s Healthy Lands Initiative, which supports landscape-level restoration work in key areas across eight western states.  These targeted areas have experienced numerous pressures – such as population growth, energy development, wildfire, and the spread of weeds – that affect the health of the land.

“Today’s budget proposal supports the BLM’s commitment to managing for healthy public lands in today’s fast-growing, fast-changing West,” said BLM Director Jim Caswell.  “This funding will enable the BLM to address the key challenges facing our agency in the years ahead.”

Director Caswell said the BLM’s top priorities in 2009 and the coming years are to protect the health of public land resources, including wildlife habitat; to conserve resources in the management units comprising the National Landscape Conservation System, which includes wilderness areas and other sensitive resource areas; and to protect natural and cultural resources on public lands affected by illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bureau also will promote America’s energy security through environmentally sound development on public lands; deal with increased recreational use of public lands and other impacts resulting from population growth; ensure visitor and employee safety; and maintain working landscapes by ensuring timely renewals of grazing permits and making forest woodland products available for commercial production.

Besides the increase requested for BLM’s role in the Healthy Lands Initiative, operations funding for the BLM increases by $10.2 million, including funding most of the 2009 fixed costs increases.  Other highlights in the administration’s proposed BLM budget for 2009 include the following:

An $11.2 million increase in the oil and gas program to continue remediation of the Alaska North Slope legacy wells that pose significant threats to the Arctic environment.

An increase of $1 million for continued mitigation of resource damage resulting from illegal immigration and drug smuggling on public lands along the Southwest Border in support of the Safe Borderlands Initiative.  This builds on a significant funding increase for Southwest border law enforcement provided in 2008.

Stable funding for the wild horse and burro management.

A re-direction of some funding to areas experiencing rapid growth, where there is a greater need for the protection of resources from off-highway vehicle impacts.

The budget consolidates funding for the National Landscape Conservation System into a line item in the management of lands and resources account and one line item in the Oregon and California grant lands account.  This presentation will provide greater visibility and transparency to funding for the system of national monuments and other areas of special designation.  The 2009 budget includes $22.3 million for the system and maintains $3 million of a $4.9 million increase provided by Congress in 2008.

In order to focus on operational funding needs, the budget reduces funding for land acquisition by $4.5 million and construction by $1.9 million.  Funding for deferred maintenance is also reduced by $10 million.

The proposed $1.002 billion gross budget for BLM represents a net decrease of $5.8 million from the 2008 enacted funding level.  The 2009 budget also proposes a cancellation of unobligated balances of $24.7 million, which results in a total net budget of $977.4 million.  In the current fiscal year, BLM-managed lands will generate an estimated $5.1 billion in revenue, including royalties from oil and gas leases. 

In a break from past budgets, the department-wide wildland fire management appropriation – starting in FY 2009 – will be reassigned from BLM to the office of the secretary.  The change will facilitate better fire-management coordination among four Interior agencies (BLM, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs). 

The BLM’s proposed FY2009 budget is online at www.BLM.gov.

– BLM –

Last updated: 02-04-2008