In total, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is requesting $11.7 billion for FY 2019. That is roughly $580 million less than the last full-year appropriation in FY 2017, and $60 million less than last year’s request.
In its budget message, the administration emphasizes its focus on energy development in the DOI request. In fact, amid its proposed cuts to the department overall and the Bureau of Land Management, the budget requests $185 million for the Energy and Minerals program, which is $12 million more than FY17, and $7.6 million more than last year’s budget. The biggest plus-up goes to oil and gas management (see below). Part of that is earmarked for initializing oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, after it was authorized in a provision attached to the 2017 tax law.
For years, TCS has reported on the enormous and costly failings of the DOI’s mineral leasing programs. Whether you’re looking at coal, oil and gas, wind, or solar, DOI repeatedly shortchanges taxpayers with its current energy programs. Increasing the budget for these programs to fast track development instead of moving towards reforming the broken systems would mean accelerating losses for taxpayers.
|Funding Item ($, thousands)||FY17 Omnibus||FY18 Request||FY19 Request|
|Energy and Minerals Management||172,846||177,399||184,966|
|Oil and gas||121,939||130,049||137,223|
|Other mineral resources||10,978||12,043||12,167|