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FY 2009 federal budget from White House released

From Trust for Public Land

Big cuts proposed for LWCF, USFS, NPS, USFWS, and BLM programs

On Monday, February 4, President Bush released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 and to no one's surprise it includes significant reductions in conservation and other domestic discretionary programs. Many in Congress have already declared it "REALLY dead on arrival" but at this early stage of the annual process, it is unclear exactly what the end result will be.

As you may recall, the last Congressional session ended in late December with passage of a final budget that came closer to meeting President Bush's demands for reduced spending than had been proposed by Congress earlier this year. Congress, however, still had the final say on priority setting, leading to a repudiation of many of the President's proposed cuts including land conservation programs, which in the end received almost level funding from the previous year despite the President's proposal to decimate them. It is in this tug-of-war context - as well as the externalities of defense spending and concerns about the economy - that the FY09 budget was released. Congressional hearings are just underway, and there are already strong signs that Congress will attempt to imprint the final budget blueprint with its own priority programs and spending levels as the process unfolds.

Here are some details of the FY2009 President's budget proposal for some land conservation programs:

Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): $42.5 Million (compared with $130 M enacted in FY08)

BLM: $4.475 M (compared with $9M enacted in FY08)

USFWS: $10.171 M (compared with $35.144 M enacted in FY08)

NPS: $21.832 M (compared with $44.3 M enacted in FY08)

USFS: $5 M (compared with $41.8 M enacted in FY08)

State grants through LWCF: $0 (compared with $25 M enacted in FY08)

Forest Legacy Program: $12.5 M (compared with $52.3 M enacted in FY08)

North American Wetlands Conservation Act: $42.647 M (same as FY08 enacted)

Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program: $15 M (increase of $7 M over FY08 enacted)

Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program: $97 M (same as FY08 enacted)

Department of Defense buffer program (Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative): $40 million (compared with $46 million enacted in FY08)

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