Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - “I commend you for a budget that controls Department expenditure, something that is not easy to do here in Washington,” said Chairman Frank H. Murkowski today during a hearing on the Department of Interior’s requested budget for fiscal year 2002. The Chairman noted that President Bush’s FY 2002 budget request for the Department of Interior is $9.958 billion. A decrease of $345 million over last years budget and $1.4 billion decrease over FY 2000's budget. “This budget reflects an important balance between fulfilling Congressional mandates and keeping the federal bureaucracy in check.” Chairman Murkowski noted the budget balances responsible development of energy resources and protection of federal lands. “As you are well aware, we are in a very serious energy crisis, which threatens to grow worse. The Policies of the past have put too many of our own energy sources off limits,” the Chairman said. “This budget will help ensure that America will be able to reach our own resources – without damage to the environment – from our own public lands.” Murkowski mentioned that the Department’s proposed budget provides important funding for conservation responsibilities, and starts to address the maintenance backlog in the National Park System. The budget request for conservation programs is $980 million, and creates innovative programs for public and private partnerships to preserve and enhance wildlife habitat. “It is refreshing to have a Secretary who believes in the multiple use of public lands and not in locking these up from the American public. Someone who trusts local communities and seeks local input in federal land management decisions, and who encourages public-private partnerships to conserve natural resources and restore wildlife habitat,” said Murkowski. “I appreciate the fact that you have begun the process of repairing damaged relations between federal land managers and Western communities.” ###