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PRESS RELEASE: President's FY06 Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Budget Analyzed   3/9/05

Washington, DC - Today the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health held an oversight hearing on President Bush's Fiscal Year 2006 budget for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and other subcommittee members heard testimony from BLM Director Kathleen Clarke and Agriculture Department Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey.

"As members of Congress, it is our responsibility to work with federal agencies to help them become as cost-efficient and program-effective as possible and this is particularly critical in a time of budget deficits," said Subcommittee Chairman Walden. "While it will be imperative that the agencies learn to do more with less, it is equally indispensable that Congress adequately fund those programs that are essential to the long-term health of forests and local communities. I look forward to working with the Administration to ensure the full implementation of the Healthy Forests Act and making necessary changes to the budget recommendations."

The President's FY06 budget request for discretionary appropriations for the Bureau of Land Management in Fiscal Year 2006 is $1.74 billion, an increase of $27 million (1.6 percent) over the Fiscal Year 2005 enacted budget. The request for discretionary appropriations for the Forest Service in Fiscal Year 2006 is $4.06 billion, a decrease of $173.6 million (4 percent) from the Fiscal Year 2005 enacted budget.

On-the-ground implementation of the Healthy Forest Act received increased funding under both agencies. Fuels treatment projects under the budget remain a central focus in reducing the threat of ongoing catastrophic wildfire across the West.

"The President's budget would allow for record-breaking levels of fuels treatments as called for in HFRA, however, the budget seemingly reduces the ability of states and communities to participate," said Walden.

 

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