- Politics and Social Issues
FY2011 Budget - Interior - GOP v Obama
I have been going through the budget and putting together charts which
compare the GOP and Obama budgets with the FY2010 budget. The next part of the budget, the Interior and Environment section, is the responsibility of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, a subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations. I have previously been going line by line through the budget cuts but am running out of time to get this done, so am going to start consolidating the budget cuts into manageable chunks. In this case I have consolidated by agency. Most of the agencies in this setion belong to the Department of the Interior, but it also includes the Forest Service, the EPA, and some smaller institutions.
The information comes from the House Appropriations Committee1 which breaks the budget up by congressional committees
The first graph below shows program funding levels for FY2010. The value shown represents FY2010 funding levels. The red bar represents the GOP's budget request and the blue bar represents Obama's budget request.
The second graph compares the Obama and GOP budgets to the FY2010 budget.
The third graph shows the percentage difference between the GOP and the Obama budgets.
The fourth graph shows the dollar difference between the GOP and Obama budgets.
Earmarks and Construction
I don't know all of the individual pieces included in these categories. I am assuming that the GOP is zeroing out all earmarks so it is likely the 2010 budget for earmarks was $378.8 million. Since there is no difference with the Obama budget there isn't any point of contention here.
There also isn't much of a difference with the construction budget. Both budgets are requesting less than the 2010 budget, with only a modestly larger cut proposed by the republicans.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The purpose of the LWCF is primarily to acquire and or develop lands for conservation and recreational use. The fund has $900 million dollars deposited into it annually which for the past decade has come entirely from revenues from offshore oil and gas leases. These funds, however, are not necessarily spent on LWCF projects, and have to be specifically appropriated by congress to individual projects. So for instance, last year, only $306 million was appropriated for LWCF projects. The rest can be spent on other federal activities.
Outdoor recreation is a $730 billion a year industry that employs 6.5 million people. The Trust for Public Land estimates that the LWCF returns $4 of economic value for every dollar spent by supporting outdoor recreation and through the environmental services provided by natural landscapes. This is another program for which the justification in cuts for fiscal and/or job growth reasons seems unwarranted.
Information from the following source:
"LWCF general fact sheet." Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition, n.d. Web. 15 Mar 2011. <http://lwcfcoalition.org/files/LWCF%20General%20Factsheet.pdf>.
National Park Service
There are relatively moderate cuts being requested for the NPS and only moderate differences between the two budgets. The largest two cuts are from the construction and maintenance budget and the Save America's Treasures program and are the same proposed cuts in both budgets.
Bureau of Land management
The BLM also has moderate budget cut requests and moderate differences between budgets
Fish and Wildlife Service
The GOP request for the FWS is around $400 million less than the Obama request. The bulk of these cuts are to the Conservation Fund and Grant programs.
United States Geological Service
Moderate cuts and differences.
Moderate cuts and differences.
Environmental Protection Agency
There has been a lot of discussion about the cuts to the EPA, but for most of the EPA the cuts are relatively modest. The huge GOP cuts come from reductions in the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs. They are also of course slashing funding for the new regulatory structures necessary to address greenhouse gases but even these funds amount to only $43.5 million. The cuts from the two SRFs are a combined $1,767 million. Being that the SRFs are loan programs, all the money this program spends should eventually come back. I don't think I have ever heard any legitimate complaints levied against these programs, so again, am completely unsure the justification for the GOP's proposed cuts.
There are very minor proposed cuts and differences for these institutes.
The following institutes/agencies are included in this section:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (HHS)
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (HHS)
Council on Environmental Quality (White House)
Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (Ind.)
Smithsonian Institution (Ind.)
Smithsonian Institution Tropical Research Institute (Ind.)
Smithsonian Institution Legacy Fund (Ind.)
National Gallery of Art Repair Restoration & Renovation of Buildings (Ind.)
John F. Kennedy Center (Ind.)
Woodrow Wilson Intl. Center for Scholars (Ind.)
1. FY2011 Continuing Resolution Reductions. The U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations , n.d. Web. 22 Feb 2011. <http://republicans.appropriations.house.gov/_files/ProgramCutsFY2011ContinuingResolution.pdf>.