USA — Today Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released its preliminary analysis of the House version of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Interior Appropriations Act. The bill allocates $27.5 billion for the Department of Interior, Environment, and related agencies, a $2.1 billion reduction from the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution and $3.8 billion below the Presidents request. The bill contains $321.6 million for four earmarks that represent a substantial increase over the budget request, thus meeting CAGWs long-established earmark criteria. These four earmarks represent 3 percent of the 127 earmarks in the FY 2011 bill, while the $321.6 million represents a 247.3 percent increase from the $92.6 million in FY 2011.
The following earmarks were added to the Interior bill:
$290,037,000 for Wildland Fire Management. Since FY 2005, there have been 14 earmarks for Wildland Fire Management. In FY 2012, appropriators seem to have transitioned from multiple specific (and transparent) earmarks to one lump sum. $17,340,000 for ocean energy management. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement oversees energy and mineral development on the Outer Continental Shelf. $13,980,000 for the National Wildlife Refuge System. In Prime Cuts 2011, CAGW recommended that the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be opened for leasing. This would allow for private firms for natural gas and oil to lease portions of the Arctic National Wildlife refuge and raise $4 billion for the federal government. $253,000 for the Compact of Free Association. The Compact defines the agreement between the U.S., the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Under the agreement, the U.S. provides defense for the countries as well as financial assistance in exchange for certain operating rights within the islands.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.