Interior Dept. budget request up slightly

Feb. 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The fiscal year 2013 budget for the U.S. Interior Department focuses on fiscal discipline, core missions and strategic investments, department officials said.

President Obama requested $11.5 billion for the next fiscal year, up slightly from $11.43 billion allocated this year.

"The president's proposal takes a thoughtful approach, one that allows Interior to achieve our critical missions and to do our part in maintaining a disciplined and responsible budget," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday in a release.

Among other things, the 2013 budget eliminates or reduces lower priority programs, delays project start-ups, restructures operations and captures administrative and efficiency savings, Salazar said.

Proposed terminations and reductions result in reductions of $516.8 million, the department said. Department-wide, construction is cut by $49 million or 16 percent below 2012 to $256 million, focusing funding on the highest priority health and safety and mission critical projects.

Interior programs still will generate revenue in 2013, collecting an estimated $13.9 billion in royalties, rents, bonuses and fees, Salazar said. These receipts are either deposited in the U.S. Treasury, shared with state and local governments, or used to fund natural resource development and conservation programs.

In 2011, Interior collected $13.2 billion in revenues.

The 2013 budget request incorporates legislative proposals and increased offsetting collections estimated to save a net of $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, the department said in a release.

The budget proposal seek $5.1 billion for America's Great Outdoor programs, an increase of $146 million or 3 percent above the 2012 enacted level.

Indian programs in the 2013 budget are funded at $2.5 billion, down from about $5 million from the 2012 level.

The 2013 budget for the Bureau of Reclamation is $1.0 billion, a reduction of $14 million from the 2012 enacted level. Water and related resources programs are funded at $819 million, a decrease of $76 million from 2012.

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