Bureau of Land Management: FY2020 Appropriations

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Updated January 15, 2020
Bureau of Land Management: FY2020 Appropriations
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 246
FY2020 enacted appropriation generally included level or
million acres of federal land, nearly all in the West. Under
increased program funds relative to FY2019. Among other
its multiple-use mission, BLM manages lands for diverse
activities, increases were provided for management of wild
purposes, including livestock grazing, energy development,
horses and burros, renewable energy, wildlife habitat, and
recreation, and preservation. The agency also administers
the National Landscape Conservation System.
onshore federal energy and mineral resources generally and
supervises mineral operations on Indian trust lands.
The FY2020 appropriations law rescinded $19.0 million in
prior year unobligated funds. The House Appropriations
For FY2020, issues for Congress included determining the
Committee asserted that older unobligated funds are
amount of funding to provide BLM programs and activities
unlikely to be needed (H.Rept. 116-100, p. 13). Also, the
and the terms and conditions of such funding, as well as
law changed the availability of most funds in the account
whether to enact related Trump Administration proposals.
from “no-year” (available until expended) to “two-year,” to
Because no regular FY2020 discretionary appropriations
minimize unobligated balances and better align with
were enacted until after the start of the fiscal year on
operation accounts of other agencies.
October 1, 2019, BLM initially received continuing
appropriations at the FY2019 level. Regular appropriations
Reorganization. The BLM reorganization seeks to improve
of $1,369.8 million were enacted on December 20, 2019
public service, communication, and efficiency. For
(P.L. 116-94, Division D). This was $23.6 million (1.8%)
FY2019, $14.1 million was appropriated for Department of
more than the FY2019 amount of $1,346.2 million. It also
the Interior (DOI) reorganization, though the BLM portion
was $182.4 million (15.4%) more than the Administration’s
was not specified. BLM requested $7.7 million for FY2020
FY2020 request ($1,187.4 million) but $42.0 million
to foster common regional boundaries of agencies, transfer
(3.0%) less than the FY2020 House-passed amount
some headquarters functions outside DC, and integrate
($1,411.8 million) and $29.6 million (2.1%) less than the
agencies’ business operations. The FY2020 appropriations
FY2020 Senate-passed amount ($1,399.4 million). House-
law did not make explicit whether funds were provided for
and Senate-passed levels were contained in H.R. 3055.
BLM reorganization. The explanatory statement submitted
for the Congressional Record asserted an insufficiency of
BLM discretionary appropriations generally are provided in
information and directed DOI to brief the Appropriations
Title I of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committees monthly on the status and impacts of the BLM
appropriations laws. Mandatory (permanent) appropriations
reorganization. It further specified that guidelines on
also are provided to BLM under various statutes within the
reprogramming of funds apply to reorganizations.
jurisdiction of authorizing committees. For FY2020, BLM
Figure 1. BLM FY2020 Administration-Requested
estimated its mandatory appropriations at $201.3 million.
Appropriations (dollars in millions)
This would be a decrease from the $241.2 million estimated
for FY2019, in large part due to an anticipated reduction in
receipts from the sale of BLM lands in Nevada.
Appropriations Accounts
BLM discretionary appropriations are provided through
several accounts. For each account, Figure 1 shows the
Administration’s FY2020 request and Table 1 contains
amounts enacted for FY2019 and requested, House-passed,
Senate-passed, and enacted amounts for FY2020.
Management of Lands and Resources. The largest
account—Management of Lands and Resources—was 89%

of the Administration’s request. It funds diverse programs
Source: Prepared by CRS with information from the House
including energy and minerals, wild horses and burros,
Appropriations Committee. Not shown are rescissions for the Land
rangelands, wildlife and fisheries, facility maintenance,
Acquisition account (-$10.0 million) and $0 for Service Charges,
resource protection, law enforcement, and recreation.
Deposits, and Forfeitures due to a match by offsetting collections.
Overview. The FY2020 enacted appropriation included
Land Acquisition. BLM typically receives appropriations
more money for this account than requested for FY2020
from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire
and enacted for FY2019 but less than approved by the
lands. To focus on maintaining current BLM lands, the
House and Senate for FY2020. The Administration sought a
Administration’s FY2020 request did not include funding
decrease for many programs in this account, but the
for particular acquisition projects or acquisitions that
generally facilitate access to BLM land for recreation. The

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overall request was -$10.0 million, reflecting a rescission of
The Administration sought a reduction and the House
unobligated funds. The FY2020 appropriation was higher
approved an increase. The Administration also proposed
than the FY2019 enacted, FY2020 requested, and FY2020
establishing a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund with $6.5
Senate-passed levels but lower than the FY2020 House-
billion over five years, of which 5% would be for BLM
passed amount. It included funding for eight individual
deferred maintenance. This proposal has not been enacted.
acquisition projects and recreational access generally.
Energy and Minerals. The FY2020 request proposed
Oregon and California Grant Lands. Oregon and
altering the distribution of revenues from geothermal
California Grant Lands constituted 9% of the request for
leasing on federal lands—currently 50% to the states, 25%
FY2020. This account funds management of more than two
to the Treasury, and 25% to counties—to a distribution of
million acres of forested lands in western Oregon, primarily
50% for states and 50% for the Treasury. According to the
for timber production. The FY2020 appropriation was
Administration, the change would foster consistency with
higher than the FY2019 enacted, FY2020 requested, and
other revenue-sharing programs and increase the return to
FY2020 Senate-passed levels but lower than the FY2020
the public. Some counties favor the status quo to reflect
House-passed level. Neither the FY2020 law nor the House
their energy investments and enhance funds for services.
or Senate accepted an Administration proposal to
This change has not been enacted.
consolidate funding for activities within the account.
Recreation. The authority in the Federal Lands Recreation
Range Improvements. The Range Improvements account
Enhancement Act (16 U.S.C. §§6801 et seq.), which allows
funds rehabilitation, protection, and improvement of BLM
BLM (and other agencies) to charge, collect, and use fees
rangelands. Of the Administration’s total request, 1% was
for recreation on agency lands, was to expire on September
for this purpose. The FY2020 appropriation was $10.0
30, 2020. The Administration supported permanent
million, equal to FY2019 and the FY2020 requested and
authority through authorizing legislation, while also seeking
House and Senate levels.
a two-year extension (through September 30, 2022) in
appropriations law. The House and Senate supported a one-
Service Charges, Deposits, and Forfeitures. This account
year extension, and the FY2020 appropriations law
allows BLM to use monies paid to the agency for particular
included a one-year extension through October 1, 2021.
activities (e.g., processing rights-of-way). As was the case
for FY2019, the FY2020 amounts proposed by the
Wild Horses and Burros. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses
Administration, passed by the House and Senate, and
and Burros Act (16 U.S.C. §§1331 et seq.) provides BLM
enacted were offset by collections, making them $0.
authority to destroy healthy, excess wild horses and burros
and to sell without limitation excess animals meeting
Miscellaneous Trust Funds. This account appropriates
certain criteria. In practice, BLM generally sells animals
contributions made to BLM from individuals, businesses,
with limits (e.g., a maximum per buyer). The FY2019
user groups, and states. It comprised 2% of the FY2020
appropriations law barred the use of funds for destruction of
request. The FY2020 requested, House, Senate, and enacted
healthy, unadopted BLM wild horses and burros and the
levels were higher than FY2019.
sale of animals for processing into commercial products. In
Legislative Proposals by the Administration
its FY2020 budget, the Administration proposed removing
In the FY2020 request, the Trump Administration proposed
the funding ban and allowing sales without limitations to
extending or amending some authorities and enacting new
reduce the excess of wild horses. The FY2020 law, like the
ones. Some of these proposals are discussed below.
House- and Senate-passed bills, continued to bar funding
for destroying healthy animals. Also, conferees directed
Deferred Maintenance. BLM estimates its deferred
BLM to submit a comprehensive plan for “an aggressive,
maintenance at $955.3 million, mostly for roads, bridges,
non-lethal population control strategy” and conditioned the
and trails. The FY2020 appropriation ($75.0 million) was
availability of $21.0 million on submission of the plan.
level with FY2019 and the FY2020 Senate-passed level.
Table 1. BLM Discretionary Appropriations by Account (dollars in millions)
H. Passed
S. Passed
% Change
H.R. 3055
H.R. 3055
from FY2019
Management of Lands and Resources
Land Acquisition
Oregon and California Grant Lands
Range Improvements
Service Charges, Deposits, & Forfeituresa
Miscellaneous Trust Funds
Total BLM
Source: Prepared by CRS with information from the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.
n/a = not applicable.
a. The amounts of $0 for Service Charges, Deposits, and Forfeitures are a result of an appropriation matched by offsetting fees.
b. FY2020 House and enacted totals reflect rescissions of $5.0 million and $5.4 million respectively of unobligated Construction funds.

Bureau of Land Management: FY2020 Appropriations

Carol Hardy Vincent, Specialist in Natural Resources

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