Updated March 30, 2019
Bureau of Land Management: FY2019 Appropriations
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages
246 million acres of land, nearly all in the West, under a
multiple use mission. Uses of BLM land include livestock
grazing, recreation, and preservation. The agency also
administers onshore federal energy and mineral resources
covering nearly 700 million acres of federal subsurface
mineral estate, and it supervises the mineral operations on
about 60 million acres of Indian trust lands.
Issues for Congress included determining the amount of
funding to provide for BLM programs and activities for
FY2019, the terms and conditions of such funding, and
whether to enact related Trump Administration proposals.
Discretionary appropriations for BLM were enacted (P.L.
116-6, Division E) on February 15, 2019. The enacted
appropriation was $1,346.2 million, a $14.3 million (1.1%)
increase over the FY2018 appropriation of $1,331.9
million. The FY2019 enacted amount also was an increase
of $322.9 million (31.6%) over the Administration’s
FY2019 request ($1,023.3 million) and of $2.8 million
(0.2%) over the FY2019 Senate-passed level ($1,343.4
million), but was $40.8 million (2.9%) lower than the
FY2019 House-passed amount ($1,387.0 million). These
House- and Senate-passed levels were contained in H.R.
6147 (115th Congress). (See Table 1.)
Because no regular FY2019 appropriations were enacted
until February 15, 2019, BLM received continuing
appropriations at the FY2018 level after the start of the
fiscal year on October 1, 2018. However, continuing
appropriations lapsed during part of the fiscal year,
resulting in a partial agency shutdown between December
22, 2018, and January 25, 2019. During this time, BLM
operated under a “contingency” plan.
BLM discretionary appropriations generally are provided in
Title I of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
appropriations laws. Mandatory (permanent) appropriations
also are provided to BLM under various statutes within the
jurisdiction of authorizing committees. For FY2019, BLM
estimates its mandatory appropriations at $241.2 million.
threatened and endangered species, recreation, resource
protection, law enforcement, resource management
planning, and facility maintenance.
The Administration proposed a budget restructuring within
the account to increase flexibility, cost savings, and
program integration. Affected budget activities and
subactivities included soil, water, and air; riparian areas;
rangeland; threatened and endangered species; wildlife and
fisheries; abandoned mine lands; and hazardous materials.
The FY2019 enacted appropriation adopted this
restructuring, as had the Senate, but not the House.
The FY2019 enacted appropriation, House, and Senate
included more money for this account than requested for
FY2019 and enacted for FY2018. The Administration had
sought a decrease for this account and most of its activities.
For BLM’s deferred maintenance of its assets, the FY2019
enacted appropriation was $75.0 million, a $4.2 million
(5.3%) reduction from the FY2018 level of $79.2 million.
The House had supported a higher level for FY2019
($114.2 million), the Senate had approved a lower level
($59.2 million), and the President had requested a lower
level ($24.9 million). BLM had estimated deferred
maintenance of $955.3 million as of September 30, 2018.
The President’s request included $5.9 million to support a
Department of the Interior (DOI) reorganization to achieve
common regional boundaries for DOI agencies and to
transfer some BLM functions from headquarters to the
field. The intent is to improve public service, efficiency,
and communication. The conference report on the FY2019
appropriation (H.Rept. 116-9) identified a total of $14.1
million for DOI reorganization related to five agencies, but
did not specify the portion for BLM reorganization.
Figure 1. BLM FY2019 Administration-Requested
Appropriations (dollars in millions)
BLM discretionary appropriations are provided through
several accounts. The Administration’s FY2019 request for
these accounts is shown in Figure 1. For each account,
Table 1 contains FY2018 enacted appropriations, and
FY2019 appropriations requested by the Administration,
passed by the House in H.R. 6147, passed by the Senate in
H.R. 6147, and enacted in P.L. 116-6.
Management of Lands and Resources. The largest
account—Management of Lands and Resources—
comprised 89.1% of the request. This account funds an
array of BLM programs, including energy and minerals,
rangelands, wild horses and burros, wildlife and fisheries,
Source: Prepared by CRS with information from the House
Committee on Appropriations. Not shown are rescissions totaling
$12.1 million (including $6.6 million from the Land Acquisition
account), and a request of $0 for Service Charges, Deposits, and
Forfeitures due to a match by offsetting fees.
Bureau of Land Management: FY2019 Appropriations
Land Acquisition. BLM typically receives appropriations
from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire
lands. For FY2019, the enacted appropriation was $26.5
million, a $1.6 million (6.4%) increase over FY2018 ($24.9
million). The FY2019 appropriation included funding for
14 specific acquisitions as well as acquisitions to foster
recreation. The Administration did not seek funding for
particular acquisitions or for access to BLM land for
recreation, requesting -$6.6 million (reflecting a rescission).
The House approved $17.4 million, including funds for
recreational access generally but not individual
acquisitions, pending additional information. The Senate
included $26.0 million, with portions for 11 individual
projects and acquisitions benefitting recreational access.
Oregon and California Grant Lands. Oregon and
California (O&C) Grant Lands constituted 8.8% of the
request for FY2019. This account funds management of
more than 2 million acres of forested lands in western
Oregon, primarily for sustained yield of timber production.
The FY2019 appropriation was $107.0 million, essentially
level with FY2018 and the House and Senate amounts for
FY2019. The Administration had sought reduced funding
($90.0 million). Also, the FY2019 appropriation did not
accept an Administration proposal to consolidate funding
for activities to enhance flexibility and program efficiency.
The House, but not the Senate, had accepted the proposal.
Range Improvements. The Range Improvements account
funds rehabilitation, protection, and improvement of BLM
rangelands. Of the Administration’s total request, 1.0% was
for this purpose. For FY2019, the enacted amount was
$10.0 million, as requested by the President and approved
by the House and Senate, and appropriated for FY2018.
Service Charges, Deposits, and Forfeitures. This account
provides BLM monies received by the agency for varied
purposes, such as costs of processing rights-of-way and
energy and mineral authorizations. The FY2019 amounts
enacted, requested, and passed by the House and Senate are
offset by collections, making them $0, as in FY2018.
Miscellaneous Trust Funds. This account appropriates the
contributions (for various purposes) from individuals,
businesses, user groups, and states. It comprised 2.3% of
the FY2019 request. The FY2019 appropriation, request,
House, and Senate contained funding level with FY2018
Legislative Proposals by the Administration
In the FY2019 request, the Trump Administration proposed
extending or amending authorities through changes in law.
Some of these proposals are discussed below.
Energy and Minerals. The request proposed changing the
distribution of revenues from geothermal leasing on federal
lands—currently 50% to the states, 25% to the Treasury,
and 25% to counties—to a distribution of 50% for states
and 50% for the Treasury. This change was not enacted in
the FY2019 appropriations law.
Wild Horses and Burros. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses
and Burros Act (16 U.S.C. §§1331 et seq.) provides BLM
authority to destroy healthy, excess wild horses and burros.
The FY2019 appropriations law continued to bar the use of
funds for the destruction of healthy, unadopted BLM wild
horses and burros and for the sale of animals for processing
into commercial products. The House and Senate had
approved this funding ban, but the Administration had
proposed removing it to reduce the overpopulation of
animals. Also, the FY2019 appropriation increased funding
for wild horse and burro management, as had the House and
Senate, but not the President. Further, the conference report
on the FY2019 appropriation directed BLM to provide an
analysis to Congress, within 180 days of enactment, of
options to reduce excess wild horses and burros.
Recreation. The authority in the Federal Lands Recreation
Enhancement Act (16 U.S.C. §§6801 et seq.) that allows
BLM (and other agencies) to charge, collect, and use fees
for recreation on agency lands had been scheduled to expire
on September 30, 2019. The Administration, House, and
Senate supported differing extensions. The FY2019
appropriations law extended the authority to October 1,
2020. (Earlier, P.L. 115-245 had extended the authority to
September 30, 2020).
Table 1. BLM Discretionary Appropriations by Account (dollars in millions)
Management of Lands and Resources
Oregon and California Grant Lands
Service Charges, Deposits, & Forfeitures
Miscellaneous Trust Funds
Source: Prepared by CRS with information from the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.
Notes: The amounts of $0 for Service Charges, Deposits, and Forfeitures are a result of an appropriation matched by offsetting fees. The
FY2019 request total reflects a -$5.5 million rescission of prior-year unobligated funds for construction not shown in the column.
Carol Hardy Vincent, Specialist in Natural Resources
Bureau of Land Management: FY2019 Appropriations
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