President Trump on Monday proposed allocating $199.3 million to the Interior Department’s energy and minerals management programs, including $139.2 million for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and natural gas programs.
The proposal is included in the president’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request. The total BLM budget of $1.2 billion for FY2021 would provide “the funds needed to strike the right balance of conservation and sustainable use” of U.S. public lands and resources managed by BLM.
Building on FY2019 and FY2020 efforts, the administration said the budget would “enhance efficiencies, reduce planning times, clarify permitting processes and leverage technology to reduce processing times.”
“President Trump’s 2021 budget request for the department is about investing in our people and public lands and waters," said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. “This budget is a critical step in the right direction and provides a path to restore common sense in our budgeting process.”
The majority of BLM’s renewable energy program funding is spent on inspection and monitoring. The proposed 2021 funding level of $29.5 million for renewable energy is designed to support continued wind, solar and geothermal energy development on public lands.
Another $18.9 million would be targeted for coal management, with $11.8 million for programs associated with mining other minerals such as precious metals, trona, limestone, phosphates, sand and gravel.
The proposed budget, likely to undergo changes as it requires approval by the House and Senate, is intended to expand “responsible development of domestic energy resources from public lands,” as well as promote active stewardship of forests and rangeland across the West and Alaska, the administration said.
The funding also would reflect the completion of the BLM’s headquarters relocation to Colorado and bring the agency “closer to the people we serve,” said BLM’s William Perry Pendley, deputy director for Policy and Programs.
“We’re excited about the vision this budget outlines, and eager to implement it with our partners, neighbors, and the American public,” Pendley said.
Under the proposal, $10.3 million would be directed in FY2021 to forest management on public domain lands and $112.8 million in the Oregon and California Grant Lands appropriation.
The budget request also includes $237 million for the land resources activity, which provides for integrated management of public land resources, including forestry, range, cultural and wild horses and burros.