Shaving off DOI’s Top-Line

Rolling AnalysisShaving off DOI’s Top-LineBudget bumps for oil and gas activities reflect Trump Administration priorities.

The Trump administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget request includes a total of $12.6 billion for the Department of the Interior (DOI). That’s a $2 billion decrease compared to the FY19 enacted funding level of $13.02 billion for the department, but nearly $1 billion more than the President’s 2019 request of $11.7 billion.

The budget highlights familiar administration talking points, including streamlining reviews and permitting, eliminating duplicative regulations, and prioritizing energy development on federal lands. For the Energy and Minerals Management section of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) budget, the administration is proposing $198.3 million, which is $4 million more than the current enacted level.

BLM wildlife conservation activities, however, do not seem to be a priority. In the FY19 Omnibus, Congress agreed to the administration’s request to consolidate three BLM programs into two, which together will now be called ‘Wildlife and Aquatic Habitat Management.’ However, Congress declined the DOI’s proposal to eliminate Threatened and Endangered Species Management as a separate line item. DOI makes the same proposal in this year’s request and allocates $118 million to the newly consolidated program, which would be a 35 percent cut from the current FY19 budget of $183 million.

The FY20 DOI budget documents also emphasize programs that support the administration’s “aggressive strategy for leasing offshore oil and gas…” The agency’s budget request, however, differentiates between the two sub-agencies that govern offshore energy development: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE would get a $6 million cut while BOEM would see a $7 million bump.

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