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Thursday, February 23, 2012

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 December 23, 2011, Congress enacted H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-74). Division E contained $29.23 billion for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies in FY2012. This figure included an across-the-board reduction of $47.0 million. The FY2012 appropriation was a $381.4 million (1.3%) decrease from the FY2011 level ($29.61 billion) and a $2.11 billion (6.7%) decrease from the President’s request for FY2012 ($31.34 billion).

While the Administration had primarily proposed increases over FY2011 for major agencies funded by the bill, the FY2012 law included few increases over FY2011. However, one notable increase in the FY2012 law was $244.2 million (6%) for the Indian Health Service, and another was $51.9 million (7%) for the Smithsonian Institution.

While the FY2012 law reduced most agencies from the FY2011 levels, the amount of reduction varied. Among the enacted decreases were the following: 
         $219.1 million (3%) for the Environmental Protection Agency, 
         $83.4 million (2%) for the Forest Service, 
         $27.3 million (1%) for the National Park Service, and 
         $25.3 million (2%) for the Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Neither the House nor the Senate passed a free-standing regular, annual appropriations bill for FY2012. From July 25, 2011, to July 28, 2011, the House had considered
H.R. 2584, but it came to no resolution thereon. No bill to fund Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies for FY2012 was introduced in the Senate. However, on October 14, 2011, the leaders of 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 were funded through a series of continuing appropriations laws until the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012.

Congress typically debates a variety of funding and policy issues when considering each year’s appropriations legislation. Issues debated during consideration of FY2012 legislation 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 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:
February 7, 2012
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R4
Price: $29.95

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