Search Penny Hill Press

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CRS Issue Statement on Interior and Environment Appropriations

Carol Hardy Vincent, Coordinator
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Congress typically addresses a wide array of controversial funding and policy issues during consideration of the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. These issues reflect the diverse agencies and programs that receive appropriations in the bill. The bill provides funding for Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies (except the Bureau of Reclamation), many of which manage land and other natural resource or regulatory programs. It also funds the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two agencies within other departments—the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture and the Indian Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the annual bill includes appropriations for arts and cultural agencies, such as the Smithsonian Institution, National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities, and for numerous other entities and agencies. Each year Congress debates the level of funding for each of these agencies, relative to each other and in the context of overall federal funding. Among the issues that have continued to be of focus during consideration of the Interior bills are those related to energy, the environment, Indians, wildfires, land acquisition, and facility maintenance. 

Oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) has been an important issue in the debate over energy security and domestic energy resources. The extent to which the OCS remains open and available for oil and gas drilling is an issue of contention. Former moratoria on offshore oil and gas development in much of the OCS were not retained in FY2009 and FY2010 Interior appropriations laws, and the Bush Administration lifted the executive moratoria. However, a moratorium is still in place for most of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico until 2022. Opponents of offshore drilling contend that it would pose unacceptable environmental risks and threaten coastal tourism industries, while supporters assert that potential offshore resources could increase domestic energy supply.

Date of Report: January 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 4
Order Number: IS40510
Price: $7.95

Document available electronically as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail or call us at 301-253-0881.