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Posted at 1:18 PM ET, 02/14/2011

Budget 2012: Interior

By Darry Fears

The $12 billion budget request for the Interior Department is largely unchanged, but reflects that painful cuts had to be made in the department's effort "to do more with less," said Secretary Ken Salazar. Construction projects, cut by about $80 million, are among the things Salazar said "we can't afford right now." Departmental travel and technology purchases were cut by another $80 million.

In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the agency dramatically changed the way it will regulate offshore oil and gas drilling. Interior will devote $500 million to a new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. More money was requested for a unit to investigate corporate misconduct and unethical behavior, among other things. The increased funding would be offset in part by an increase in oil and gas inspection fees that would bring in $65 million, officials said.

The budget also includes $73 million for President Obama's pet project, generating 9,000 megawatts of energy through wind, geothermal and solar power initiatives on lands controlled by Interior. Budget cuts were also made to wildlife refuges, national parks, public lands and tribal areas.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

View agency budget document (Annotated PDF)

Budget 2012 analysis: Full list of agencies

By Darry Fears  | February 14, 2011; 1:18 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency, Barack Obama  
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Next: Secretary Clinton: House Republican budget cuts will endanger national security


Having been involved with Interior in the past I appreciate to the important work they perform on behalf of all of us. The mission of each bureau contributes to the American quality of life from land use and conservation, recreation opportunities, wildland fire response, wildlife management, energy development, timber management and cultural stewardship. I couldn't imagine what our lands would be like without the DOI.

Posted by: DCj9 | February 15, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

One cabinet department that is completely worthless.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | February 14, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Very clever propaganda, Mr. Fears.
There are a few bits of information you omit.
While the DOI has a NEW Bureau of Ocean Energy Mgmt., Regulation & Enforcement, it replaces the functions of the corrosive and corrupt Minerals Management Service which has been a source of scandal for years.
Also, it is smaller than MMS as a number of MMS functions were placed with existing offices within DOI.
From the year 2001 through 2009, the DOI endured a 10 percent cut PER YEAR for 8 years.
It’s a skeleton of what it was during the Clinton years.
On top of those cuts, a spending freeze has been in effect along with a hiring freeze on all segments of the Department except law enforcement (because of border needs).
Unless people know the history of this agency, they could mistake this report as suggesting the Obama administration is actually growing this department.
During the early Bush years, GWBush appointed a head of the Department who stated his primary focus was to turn out the lights on this department and phase it out of existence.
Fortunately, for the country, he failed, although I have to say, he gave it a good stab.
(Had that happened, who would have secured the nation’s founding documents, just to mention one responsibility?)
Also, while President Obama has pledged to use federal lands to develop new energy alternatives, at least, so far a huge geothermal plant hasn’t sullied the skyline of Yellowstone National Park, like Glen Canyon Dam sullied the great Grand Canyon.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | February 14, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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