President Proposes $1.1 Billion Budget for BLM in Fiscal Year 2018
President Donald Trump today requested a $1.1 billion Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that supports the Administration’s priorities, including increased American energy development and promoting job growth.
“The President’s budget gives the BLM the resources needed to carry out our multiple-use and sustained yield mission, which includes promoting American energy and mineral production on Federal lands and supporting local economies,” said BLM Acting Director Mike Nedd. “The proposed budget will allow us to continue working with our non-Federal partners and strengthen these vital relationships in order to be good neighbors in the communities we serve. BLM lands create jobs in local communities, and the President's budget supports traditional land uses such as timber harvesting, responsible energy development, grazing and recreation including hunting and fishing.”
The BLM budget generally prioritizes and advances the President’s priorities of enhancing American energy security and creating jobs with resource allocation that supports an “all of the above” energy development approach, including increased coal, oil and gas, and renewable energy production. The BLM also proposes to address the explosive cost growth in the Wild Horse and Burro program, which has become unsustainable due to several factors. To help achieve a balanced budget by 2027, the President’s budget proposes various necessary reductions across the Federal government, including within the BLM budget. The BLM’s overall budget reflects a net reduction of $162.7 million from the FY 2017 CR baseline.
“President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that's exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I've seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President's budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines."
Congress charged the BLM with a mandate of managing public lands for a variety of uses such as energy development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting while ensuring natural, cultural, and historic resources are maintained for present and future use. The agency manages 245 million surface acres of public lands—the most of any Federal agency—primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska, and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate nationwide. This equates to 10 percent of the nation’s surface and roughly one-third of its subsurface mineral resources.
The FY 2018 budget reflects the President’s focus on the following priorities:
Strengthening America’s Energy Independence: The 2018 BLM budget proposal includes significant funding increases in support of American energy development, which will facilitate domestic energy production, generate revenue, and increase jobs in the energy sector. In particular, there is a proposed $16 million increase in the Oil and Gas Management program to help ensure BLM has sufficient administrative and staff capacity to quickly process Applications for Permits to Drill and Expressions of Interest, and to help alleviate administrative burdens in processing rights-of-way requests for critical infrastructure needs.
The BLM budget proposal also includes an $8 million increase within the Coal Management program to support improvements to the Federal coal leasing and permitting processes. In particular, the increased funds will support staff capacity to meet additional coal application processing and inspection requirements, processing and approving exploration licenses and recovery and protection plans, and conducting lease sale fair market determinations.
Managing America’s Lands and Resources for Multiple-Use: The budget proposes $47.2 million for Recreation Resources Management. With these funds, the BLM will focus on sites with the highest visitation and make necessary adjustments to staffing resources and core functions (e.g., visitor services, travel management planning, and law enforcement) to meet the public’s demand for access and diverse recreation opportunities.
The proposed budget calls for $67.8 million for the Rangeland Management program for monitoring and evaluating the health of the public grazing lands, administering grazing use, managing invasive weeds, and other activities. In addition, the budget proposes $75.1 million for the Wildlife Management program, which conserves and restores wildlife habitat as an essential part of BLM’s mission. More than 3,000 species of wildlife live on BLM-managed lands. The budget request also funds the Threatened and Endangered Species Management program at $20.3 million. Priority will be given to recovering federally-listed species; conservation and other pre-emptive actions will continue on a smaller scale.
Managing Healthy Wild Horses and Burros on Healthy Rangelands: The budget request proposes $70.7 million for the Wild Horse and Burro program and eliminates appropriations language restricting BLM from using all of the management tools provided for in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM manages wild horse and burro herds on 26.9 million acres of public lands. Low public demand to adopt or purchase excess animals, a lack of effective reproduction-control tools, and high costs to care for unadopted or unsold animals have restricted the BLM's ability to manage herd growth. As a result, the BLM estimates that nearly 73,000 wild horses and burros roam public lands as of March 2017, almost three times the number that is sustainable and healthy for the land and the animals. The President’s budget would help reverse the declining health of wild horse and burro herds and the public rangelands on which they—and many other species—depend, by allowing the BLM to use the full range of tools identified in the 1971 Act, including humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.
Supporting Local Communities: The budget requests $89.8 million for the Oregon and California (O&C) account to support BLM’s management of the 2.4 million acres of O&C grant lands, Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands, and intermingled public domain lands in western Oregon. The BLM manages certain O&C Railroad grant lands and Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands for forest diversity and sustainability. Furthermore, appropriated funds will support local communities and employment opportunities by supporting timber harvests commensurate with the approved resource management plans and the O&C Act.
Additional details on the President's FY 2018 Budget are available on the Department’s website.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.