Washington, D.C. – Among the Bureau of Land Management’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget priorities in President Obama’s requested $1.1 billion for the agency are a non-profit foundation, a fee system to cover BLM’s oil and gas inspection and enforcement activities, fertility control for wild horses and burros, an updated online data and mapping system, and Sage-Grouse habitat conservation.
“The BLM carries a great responsibility in its stewardship of roughly 10 percent of the nation’s land. We strive each day to strike the right balance under our multiple use and sustained yield mandate,” said BLM Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze. “We are proud to be working with partners all across the country on critical and complex issues like Sage-Grouse conservation, responsible energy development, and landscape-level management. Our key initiatives for FY 2015 reflect our focus on laying a solid foundation for the future.”
Testifying today at a congressional hearing before the House Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Kornze also noted that the BLM generates roughly $150 billion annually in economic output for the nation and supports more than 750,000 jobs through resource development and conservation and recreational activities on BLM-managed public lands.
The FY 2015 priorities include:
- BLM Foundation: The President’s budget calls for the authorization of a congressionally chartered non-profit BLM Foundation that would provide the agency with new avenues for working with the public on critical programs and landscapes. The BLM is the only major land management agency without a congressionally chartered foundation in place to support its efforts. A BLM Foundation could help bring additional resources to key initiatives like the National Conservation Lands, wild horses and burro management, restoration projects, and many other areas.
- Inspection and Enforcement Fee: In support of responsible development and oversight of energy management, the budget includes the creation of a fee system to cover the BLM’s inspection and enforcement activities in the oil and gas program. In 2010 Congress established a similar fee system to support offshore oil and gas inspections. This program would allow the BLM to improve production accountability and serve areas with high or growing oil and gas production more effectively.
- Fertility Control for Wild Horses and Burros: The budget calls for an increase of $2.8 million for the Wild Horse and Burro program that would allow the BLM to continue multi-year studies focused on the development of more effective and longer-lasting fertility control agents and techniques. It would also further the BLM’s implementation of the National Academy of Sciences recommendations made in 2013.
- Generational Leap Forward in Online Data and Mapping: The BLM is seeking to take a major step forward in developing and using a simple, easy-to-use online interface where the public, industry, and BLM’s employees and partners can find critical information about the landscapes we manage.
- Sage-Grouse Conservation: The budget request maintains funding for the BLM’s Sage-Grouse initiative, which will allow the BLM to take critical steps towards long-term conservation of the West’s sagebrush ecosystems that are critical to sage grouse and other species. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM will complete a west-wide planning effort focused on sage grouse that has been undertaken in close partnership with western states, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“The BLM remains an excellent investment for America,” he said. “Our goal with these priorities is to help ensure that the public lands remain a lasting legacy for generations to come.”
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.