H.R. 6147: Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2019

H.R. 6147 provides a total of $58.675 billion in total discretionary budget authority for agencies within the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. This includes $35.252 billion for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies and $24.423 billion for the financial services and general government provisions.

###Division A ####Title I—Department of the Interior

The bill provides a total of $13.046 billion for the Department of the Interior, including funding for:

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): The bill provides a total of $1.4 billion for the BLM, an increase of $55 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Resource Management: The bill provides $1.6 billion for FWS, an $11 million decrease below the FY18 enacted levels. Significant investments continue to be made to reduce the deferred maintenance backlogs within the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System, and to ensure that all fish hatcheries continue to operate. Funding to recover and delist threatened and endangered species is increased by $5.5 million, including a $2.5 million increase for Recovery Challenge matching grants to share the costs of recovery with corporate and other non-governmental partners. Proposed cuts are restored to the National Wildlife Refuge Fund and cost-shared grant programs, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, which is increased by $2 million. Bill language is included to delist recovered gray wolves and prevent the unnecessary listing of greater sage-grouse.
National Park Service (NPS): The legislation includes $3.25 billion for the NPS, an increase of $50 million above the fiscal year 2018 level.
United States Geological Survey (USGS): The bill includes $1.2 billion for the USGS, $19 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Funding is targeted to critical infrastructure investments in natural hazards programs, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring network, and critical materials mapping activities. The bill includes $21 million for an earthquake early warning system to help save lives during natural disasters; a $13 million increase for the streamgage network; and $11 million for the Three Dimensional Mapping and Economic Empowerment Program. The bill also fully funds the development of “Landsat 9” – a satellite program that provides land use measurements that are important to local communities for agriculture, forestry, energy and water resource decisions.
Wildland Firefighting and Prevention – In total, the bill funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at $3.9 billion, fully funding the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service, and providing robust additional funding – $500 million – for Forest Service suppression operations.
Native American Programs: The bill increases the federal commitment to honoring government-to-government treaty and Trust agreements entered into with American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Indian Health Service is funded at $5.9 billion, $370 million above the fiscal year 2018 level. The Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education are funded at $3.1 billion, $40 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
Federal Payments to Local Communities: The bill provides $500 million for “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT), $35 million above the budget request. PILT provides funds for local governments in 49 states to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties. Without congressional action, many rural communities would face huge budget shortfalls impacting public safety, education, and other local government responsibilities.

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John Stewart
Editor, OutdoorWire.com
Resources Consultant, California Four Wheel Drive Association
Board of Directors, BlueRibbon Coalition