(June 27, 2006) The Senate Interior and Related Agencies Subcommittee (Chairman Burns, R-MT) of the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up the 2007 appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies. This appropriations bill includes funding for the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the EPA. The Appropriations Committee set the subcommittee’s budget allocation at $26 billion.
The subcommittee mark up will take place at 9:45 a.m. in room 124 of the Dirksen Senate Building to mark-up their appropriations bill.
Full committee mark up is scheduled for June 29th at 2pm in 106 Dirksen Senate Building to mark-up the following bills:
* FY 2007 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 5386)
* FY 2007 Energy and Water, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 5427)
* FY 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 5441)
* FY 2007 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill (H.R. 5522)
Senate aides would not detail the specific numbers that will be unveiled in the bill that subcommittee Chairman Conrad Burns, R-Mont., will present Tuesday. But those aides said funding levels for individual programs are likely to track the levels that the House approved in its bill in May.
Last month, the House’s version of the 2007 spending bill allocated $4.2 billion for the Forest Service. This was $95.5 million (2%) more than the President’s request of $4.10 billion, and $65.5 million (2%) less than FY2006 appropriations of $4.26 billion. Forest Service appropriations are provided in several major accounts, including Forest and Rangeland Research; State and Private Forestry (S&PF); National Forest System (NFS); Wildland Fire Management; Capital Improvement and Maintenance (Infrastructure); and Other programs (substantially land acquisition).
While funding for wildfires has been the center of debate, proposed and recommended changes in State and Private Forestry (S&PF) — programs that provide financial and technical assistance to states and to private forest owners — have also attracted attention. For FY2007, the House approved S&PF funding of $228.6 million — $15.8 million (6%) less than the request and $80.4 million (26%) less than FY2006. The House levels differ from the Administration’s proposals for most accounts.
For S&PF forest health management (insect and disease control on federal and cooperative [nonfederal] lands) in FY2007, the House passed $101.9 million, $17.4 million (21%) more than the request and $1.8 million (2%) more than FY2006. This level was 9% above the request for federal lands and 38% above the request for cooperative lands.
For S&PF Cooperative Fire Assistance to states and volunteer fire departments, the House included $39.0 million, $6.2 million (19%) more than the request and $0.2 million (0.5%) more than appropriated for FY2006. Nearly all the difference was in assistance to states, with the requested and House-passed level for assistance to volunteer fire departments changing by about 2% from FY2006.
For Cooperative Forestry (assistance for forestry activities on state and private lands) in FY2007, the House included $80.8 million, $41.4 million (34%) less than the request and $52.4 million (39%) less than FY2006. For Forest Legacy (to purchase title or easements for lands threatened with conversion to nonforest uses, such as for residences), the House passed $12.7 million, reduced by $3.4 million by use of prior year balances. The net funding of $9.3 million is 15% of the $61.5 million requested for FY2007, and 16% of the $56.5 million enacted for FY2006. For Forest Stewardship (for states to assist private landowners), the House included $37.0 million, $3.1 million (9%) more than the request and $2.9 million (8%) more than FY2006. Urban and Community Forestry (financial and technical assistance to localities) received $29.5 million, $2.7 million (10%) more than requested and $1.1 million (4%) more than FY2006. The House accepted the request to terminate the Economic Action Program (EAP; for rural community assistance, wood recycling, and Pacific Northwest economic assistance); FY2006 funding was $9.5 million and FY2005 funding was $19.0 million. However, the House included $5.0 million of S&PF funding for resource inventory, funded at $4.6 million in FY2006, but proposed for termination in the Administration’s budget request.
For international programs (technical forestry assistance to other nations), the House passed $7.0 million, $2.0 million (41%) more than the request and slightly ($64,000, 1%) more than FY2006.