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The 2002 Budget of $9.8 billion for the Department of the Interior (DOI) supports Administration initiatives to: fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million starting in 2002; eliminate the National Park Service (NPS) deferred maintenance backlog within five years and implement vital management reforms, in part by directing a greater percentage of existing user fees to address the backlog; increase NPS science funding for the benefit of natural resource protection; and continue reducing the Bureau of Indian Affairs' school maintenance backlog in addition to replacing six schools.
The 2002 Budget provides DOI with $9.8 billion. This represents a four-percent reduction below 2001 but a 15-percent increase (almost $1.3 billion) over the 2000 level. This level also continues substantial funding for new conservation and Native American initiatives and is consistent with a reasonable rate of growth based on historical funding levels. The budget allows the Department to direct resources to its priorities, including new initiatives, while still meeting its core responsibilities. Funding for the wildland fire program will continue at a level 113 percent above comparable 2000 levels; additional funds will also be available for energy and land use planning and Indian Trust reform, and funds will be available for CALFED (a joint venture to improve water quality in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary), which was not funded in 2001.
The largest reductions are achieved by not repeating one-time emergency and other completed or non-recurring items in 2002. Among the decreases proposed for Interior are one-time costs, such as emergency fire costs (-$358 million), and programs that have been completed, such as the Millennium Initiative to Save America's Treasures in the NPS (-$35 million). Other reductions will be achieved through streamlining of existing programs and management reforms. It is expected that additional savings achieved through management reform will allow the redirection of further funding to core DOI programs and new initiatives. Many unrequested earmarks are also proposed to be discontinued in 2002.
The 2002 Budget assumes several significant DOI management reforms to enhance efficiency and ensure that resources are spent effectively. The management of our national parks and other Federal lands has been identified as a high risk activity by the General Accounting Office and a top management challenge by the Inspector General. For instance, in the past, more than 20 percent of the NPS construction budget has been used to construct new facilities rather than repair existing problems. Today, the NPS has accumulated a large backlog of maintenance work. To address the deferred maintenance backlog on facilities in the National Park System, the NPS will improve its maintenance management system; develop and implement a better process to prioritize maintenance projects for funding from appropriated or non-appropriated funds; focus on managing the land under its jurisdiction; and enhance its partnerships and concessions programs. These reforms, in conjunction with substantial Federal funding in the 2002 Budget, will ensure that the maintenance backlog for National Park facilities will be eliminated over five years in a cost-effective manner.
The budget also proposes to better target many U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) activities. The self-stated performance goal of USGS is "to provide science for a changing world." DOI is examining ways to focus USGS on providing sound science to support the Department's land management agencies in their decision-making processes. In addition, the budget supports ongoing reforms relating to the management of Indian trust funds and assets that were initiated pursuant to the enactment of the 1994 Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act. DOI is implementing new land records, real estate appraisal, leasing, and probate management systems, as well as consolidating small ownership interests in Indian trust lands.
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