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The President Proposes an $18 Billion Budget for the Department of the Interior

The President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget for the Department of the Interior includes close to $18 billion in funding, which represents a 3% increase over current funding levels. This includes $3.57 billion for the National Park Service (NPS), $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and $1.9 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service. The budget also proposes adding 1,293 additional staff to the Department.

There are a number of proposals that would directly impact outdoor recreation, including $1.6 billion for the Legacy Restoration Fund (established through the Great American Outdoors Act for deferred maintenance backlog) and $125 million for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (which funds outdoor recreation infrastructure and green spaces in underserved urban communities). Additionally, the proposed budget includes $681.9 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which would be used for federal land acquisition projects ($313 million), a new LWCF Tribal Land Acquisition program managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs ($8 million), and state grants ($117.9 million) – all of which comes from offshore oil and gas revenue.

In alignment with President Biden's prioritization around climate change, the proposed budget for Interior includes $5.5 billion in climate resilience funding, $1.6 billion for wildland firefighting operations (including a new workforce program), and $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Reclaamtion that will help with challenges in the West related to drought. 

The Department of the Interior’s proposed budget is closely aligned with the priorities they have funded through the major infrastructure bills passed during the Biden Administration – climate change, clean energy, tribal communities, wildfire mitigation, and equitable access to the outdoors.  Like much of the President’s Budget, Congress will use the Department of the Interior’s budget as general guidance, but will draft the Fiscal Year 2025 Interior Appropriations Bill based on their own funding priorities.  Large increases in funding for clean energy and climate resilience, for example, will likely be targeted by congressional Republicans in the House of Representatives where they control the Appropriations Committee. 

The Secretary of the Interior will soon be on Capitol Hill to defend the Department’s budget request.  She is likely to also get questions about the Conservation Rule being released by the Bureau of Land Management, the Legacy Restoration Fund (specifically around how much progress in being made in reducing maintenance backlog), and the need for movement around issues within the EXPLORE Act, which is expected to move in Congress.


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