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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations

Carol Hardy Vincent, Coordinator
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI), except for the Bureau of Reclamation, and for agencies within other departments—including the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture and the Indian Health Service (IHS) within the Department of Health and Human Services. It also includes funding for arts and cultural agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other entities.

On July 19, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee reported H.R. 2584 (H.Rept. 112-151) with $27.52 billion in appropriations for FY2012 for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. If enacted, this would be a $2.09 billion (7.1%) reduction from the FY2011 appropriation of $29.61 billion and $3.82 billion (12.2%) less than the Administration’s FY2012 request of $31.34 billion. While the Administration had primarily proposed increases over FY2011 for major agencies funded by the bill, the House committee proposed few such increases. One notable increase in the House committee bill was $392.4 million (10%) for the Indian Health Service.

While most agencies would be reduced from the FY2011 levels in the House committee bill, the amount of reduction varied. Among the decreases recommended by the committee were the following:

         $1.53 billion (18%) for the Environmental Protection Agency, 
         $310.6 million (21%) for the Fish and Wildlife Service, 
         $172.1 million (4%) for the Forest Service, and 
         $131.7 million (5%) for the National Park Service. 

From July 25, 2011, to July 28, 2011, the House considered H.R. 2584 but came to no resolution. No bill to fund Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies for FY2012 has been introduced in the Senate. However, on October 14, 2011, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies released a draft bill for FY2012. Because no regular appropriations bill was enacted before the October 1, 2011, start of the fiscal year, agencies and activities in the bill are being funded through a continuing appropriations resolution (P.L. 112-55) providing appropriations at the FY2011 level, minus 1.503%, under the authority and conditions in the FY2011 appropriations law (P.L. 112-10). Continuing appropriations for FY2012 are to be provided through December 16, 2011, unless a regular appropriations bill is enacted sooner.

Congress typically debates a variety of funding and policy issues when considering each year’s appropriations legislation. These issues have included regulatory actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, energy development onshore and offshore, wildland fire fighting, royalty relief, Indian trust fund management, climate change, DOI science programs, endangered species, wild horse and burro management, and agency reorganizations. Other issues have included appropriate funding levels for Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement and education; Indian Health Service construction and contract health services; wastewater/drinking water needs; the arts; land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund; and the Superfund program.

Date of Report: December
7, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R41
Price: $29.95

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