Continued from page 6

Percentage change from 2014: None

Highlights: In a flat budget year for Interior, Obama’s proposal would allow the agency, along with the Agriculture Department, to draw funds from a special disaster account to fight wildfires. That’s the same approach the government currently takes when responding to hurricanes and tornadoes. Obama said it would provide more certainty for agencies that fight fires, including the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service.

The proposal is part of the administration’s effort to ramp up its response to the growing impacts of climate change, including more severe wildfires and drought.

The budget also would allocate $900 million to support land and water conservation programs that protect parks, wildlife refuges, forests, rivers, trails, battlefields, historic and cultural sites. The budget also includes $400 million as part of a three-year, $1.2 billion plan to upgrade and restore national parks in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. The proposal includes $300 million per year in federal spending, with another $100 million per year in private funds. The program is aimed at ensuring that 1,700 “high priority” park assets are restored to good condition by 2017.

The budget again floats new fees for the oil and gas industry to pay for the processing of permits and would impose fees on leased parcels where no production is occurring. Officials say the fees would save an estimated $250 million a year and expedite drilling on public lands, but the ideas have made little headway in Congress.

The plan includes $375 million for two agencies that oversee offshore drilling and award leases to energy companies. The money would continue reforms begin after the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In a move sure to irk coal-state lawmakers, Obama again calls for changing a fee system designed to clean up abandoned coal mines. States with no abandoned mines would not receive payments. The proposal has made little headway in Congress.

–-

Agency: Justice

Discretionary spending: $27.4 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 0.7 percent increase

Highlights: Obama’s proposed Justice Department budget would provide $8.5 billion to maintain federal prisons and detention facilities, including investments in programs designed to reduce recidivism.

It also calls for $4 billion in national security investments, including a $15 million increase to fund a new FBI laboratory in Alabama that analyzes bombing attacks, such as the one at last year’s Boston Marathon. The president’s budget also seeks additional funds for his “Now Is The Time” initiative to reduce gun violence, a multi-prong strategy Obama announced in the aftermath of the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school shootings. The spending plan provides $13 million so the FBI can maintain improvements made to the National Criminal Instant Background Check system, and the department is seeking money to support active-shooter training for law enforcement officers.

The proposed budget also includes $681 million for financial fraud enforcement and $2.9 billion to support immigration enforcement. The president is seeking a $23 million investment for immigration courts, including for additional immigration judge teams and appeals attorneys, to deal with an increased caseload.

The spending plan calls for increased spending on civil rights to support enforcement of laws on fair housing, hate crimes, human trafficking, disability rights and voting. The budget includes requested program increases of $7.6 million for the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.

The proposed budget would also include grants to support state, local and tribal enforcement.

Story Continues →