DOI Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19

Silencing Science Tracker

DOI Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19

On February 12, 2018, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Trump administration’s proposal for the budget of the U.S. government for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The budget proposes to reduce funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI) by $2.3 billion or 16.8% (compared to FY2017 levels). When amounts allocated under the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act are included, DOI’s budget would decline by $2 billion or 14.6% (compared to FY2017).

DOI’s earth sciences research arm, the U.S. Geological Survey, would have its funding cut by approximately 20% (compared to FY2017). USGS programs that monitor earthquakes and volcanoes would see a 21% decline in funding and its water programs a 23% decline. Funding for USGS’s regional climate science centers would also decline. According to a report by E&E news:

“[t]he budget request includes $13 million to fund only three of the eight regional climate science centers and one national climate adaptation science center — the others would presumably close. That is $4.4 million less than the administration allocated in its fiscal 2018 budget proposal and less than half of what Congress enacted for fiscal 2017.”

There would also be large cuts to USGS and other DOI grant programs.

Update: Following release of the Trump administration’s budget, USGS published its Budget Justifications and Performance Information for FY2019, which includes a detailed breakdown of changes to its programs. The breakdown reveals that USGS’s environmental health programs would be eliminated in favor of “higher priorit[y]” areas focused on energy development. USGS’s energy and mineral resources programs would receive an additional $10.1 million and $1.4 million in funding (compared to FY2018 levels).

On September 28, 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 6157 (Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Bill, 2019) into law. Division C of H.R. 6157 provides continuing appropriations for DOI and certain other federal agencies through December 7, 2018. Most DOI projects and activities are funded at FY2018 levels.

On December 8, 2018, funding for DOI and certain other federal agencies lapsed, leading to a partial federal shutdown government. After 35 days, on January 25, 2019, President Trump signed H.J. Res. 28 into law. The resolutiion provides continuing appropriations for various federal agencies through February 15, 2019.

On February 15, 2019, President Trump signed H.J. Res. (known as the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019”) into law. The Act funds DOI and certain other federal agencies through FY2019. Funding for DOI’s U.S. Geological Survey is increased by approximately 1.1% (compared to FY2018 levels), with Congress rejecting the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the division’s budget by 20%.


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