President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) aims to reign in the agency while refocusing its priorities on energy production.
Trump’s budget, released Tuesday, allocates $1.1 billion total in federal funds to BLM, a cut of $160 million from last year.
In large part, the cuts are made to functions of the agency related to protection of federal land and conservation of resources, Lori Sanders told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Sanders is the vice president of federal affairs for the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank.
“There’s a huge focus [in Trump’s budget proposal] on energy issues and creating an American energy renaissance,” Sanders said.
This “American Energy Renaissance” is actually a return to traditional fuels like coal and oil while withdrawing emphasis from renewable energy investment. The Energy and Minerals Management section of the budget, which covers coal, oil and gas, and renewable energy programs, reflects Trump’s America First energy plan.
Coal management funding increased by $8 million, despite the BLM’s overall budget being cut. According to budget justifications released by the Department of the Interior, the increased funding will go towards implementing a more efficient system of leasing and permitting coal companies to develop federal land.
The BLM’s Oil and Gas Management program was given a larger raise: $16 million. The funds were justified to “help ensure BLM has sufficient administrative and staff capacity to quickly process applications for permits to drill” as well as expressions of interest, a suggestion of an area to be leased for oil and gas development in the future.
The renewable energy program is cut by $13 million. According to the Interior Department, the cut was made to match the expected demand for services the program provides like processing leases and applications for development, as well as granting right-of-way privileges for transmission lines connecting renewable energy projects.
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