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FY2011 Budget - Interior - GOP v Obama

Updated on March 16, 2011

FY2011 Budget

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. <>.

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.

Forest Service

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.

Independent Institutes

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. <>.


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    • junkseller profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Well, my problem so far with the GOP cuts is that they seem completely arbitrary. While some cuts make sense, some don't and it really seems they have just gone through line by line and sliced a chunk off of it.

      I don't necessarily disagree with cuts but I'd like to see justification, such as you have provided for cutting Education and Energy. Whether or not I agree on the cuts, at least I can evaluate it.

      And of course it doesn't really matter what I think, but I suspect that to the public at large, the arbitrariness of the cuts could end up being detrimental to the GOP down the road, because of the appearance of hacking and slashing.

      It really is a monster isn't it? I don't remember what department it was but one of them I looked at had a 1000 page budget. Not just huge and redundant but also interconnected. It is almost so bad it seems like they need to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch.

      It will be interesting to hear the reaction to Rand's budget. He makes some good points as do you.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      junkseller - The meat axe comment is my way of calling for severe cuts in the federal bureaucracy. I'm not a big fan of a large, over reaching federal government.

      Of the 4 departments you have mentioned, I have long advocated abolishing Education and Energy.

      The Department of Education has caused more problems in the state school systems than they have ever created. It has become a tool where they say, "If you don't do this then you don't get these dollars." The states need to reassert their rights to educating our children back down to the local level. Most of us pay dearly in property taxes for education.

      The DOE was a Carter product and a knee jerk reaction to the 70's oil crisis. That was over 30 years ago and what has it accomplished? How many oil wells has the DOE brought on line? None. How many alternative energy sources has it produced? Think about what every Department in the federal government does, or does not do, as you ponder the cuts.

      The federal government has become a bureaucratic monster over time. My particular ax would cut it by 50% in size.

      Much of it is wasteful and as the GAO recently pointed of many departments are duplicating efforts for a particular project(s).

      I'm basically a 10th Amendment guy and if you see what is going on on many state levels, the states are starting to make the necessary moves to reassert their rights under the US Constitution. I don't need a Nanny, I'm a grown man.

    • junkseller profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Frog Prince.

      For this part of the budget what they are doing does seem like a meat axe to me. There are quite a few programs getting pretty deep cuts. Ideologically they might make sense, fiscally not as much. Cutting the IRS for instance even though they will make more than what they spend.

      I don't know if you have looked too closely at the proposed budget cuts or not (I'm about half way through I guess). One of the things I have noticed is that there are a lot of cuts to programs that funnel money into local, state, and regional organizations; The EPA State Revolving Funds, The COPS program, regional commissions such as the Denali Commission, construction projects, etc. Because of the fiscally poor shape States and local governments are in, I wonder if the additional pressure from losing these federal funds will be what pushes them over the edge.

      That isn't necessarily an argument not to cut some of these programs just that it is important to unwind them in a way that isn't unnecessarily brutal. Part of the conservative ideology is supposedly fiscal responsibility, but some of this stuff seems more like budget serial killing - just hacking and slashing.

      Of course, your meat axe comment I’m assuming was about the large spending programs (entitlements and defense). And, yes, ignoring these says a lot I think about their real motivations.

      I just noticed Rand Paul put out a budget proposal. His budget cuts four entire departments from the government (Commerce, Education, HUD, and Energy). The link I had for it doesn’t seem to be working anymore, but if you can find it, check it out. It might satisfy your meat axe desires.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Good research and analysis. What we need is a meat ax and all these idiots want to do is use a pair of scissors.


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