Oversight Hearing on "Spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request for these Agencies"
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs
1334 Longworth House Office Building


SUBCOMMITTEE ON FISHERIES, WILDLIFE, OCEANS AND INSULAR AFFAIRS
1334 Longworth House Office Building
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
10:00 a.m.

OVERSIGHT HEARING ON:

  • "Spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request for these Agencies"

OPENING STATEMENTS:

The Honorable John Fleming
Chairman

The Honorable Doc Hastings
Full Committee Chairman

WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:

Panel I

The Honorable Jane Lubchenco
Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
Administrator
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Accompanied by:
Eric Schwaab
Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Honorable Dan Ashe
Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Accompanied by:
Christine Nolin
Chief of the Division of the Budget
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tom Bussanich
Director of Budget
Office of Insular Affairs

BACKGROUND:

The hearing will review the Department of the Interior's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) spending priorities and the President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget request. Congress provided NOAA with approximately $4.9 billion in discretionary appropriations in Fiscal Year 2012. The Administration has requested approximately $5.06 billion in discretionary appropriations in Fiscal Year 2013, an increase of $154 million from Fiscal Year 2012. This represents an increase of approximately 3.14 percent from the enacted Fiscal Year 2012 appropriation level. The budget request does not provide adequate funding for basic fisheries research to support economic activities such as commercial and recreational fishing.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated that its Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission includes a number of "tough choices." A close examination of their request finds that major accounts such as construction, fisheries, Migratory Bird Management and the National Wildlife Refuge Fund are reduced below Fiscal Year 2012 levels. However, the Service has requested a huge increase for its land acquisition account. The Service acquired an additional 112,000 acres in Fiscal Year 2011 and desires to purchase more than 85,000 acres in Fiscal Year 2013. This budget request once again fails to include a $75 million dollar request for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act which was a commitment made by the Secretary of the Interior four years ago. A major focus of the hearing will be to inquire as to the rationale behind these choices.

Finally, insular areas face unique challenges having limited land and resources, small populations and limited expertise to address the needs ofthe communities. Federal funds are used to assist these areas and address community needs. The hearing will review the use of federal funds, efforts by the Office of Insular Affairs to institute oversight and accountability measures to oversee the use of its funds, and efforts to assist the insular areas in achieving the goal of economic self-sufficiency.

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