Committee Republicans Conduct Oversight of Increased Budget Requests, Lack of Results
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries held an oversight hearing on the president's Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) released the following statement in response:
"We Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee – and the Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries Subcommittee – are focused on promoting access, conservation, innovation, and transparency. Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s budgets (not to mention its agencies) do not meet these goals, nor do they provide the environmental benefits being paid for by the American taxpayer. Democrats have continually poured billions of dollars into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service without considering the enormous impact of litigation-generating regulations. Likewise, NOAA is promulgating policies that don’t help fish, nor recreational or commercial fisheries. Today’s hearing provided oversight of the Biden’s administration proposed budget in these areas, and we look forward to more hearings looking into these shortcomings."
The BOR manages federal water projects for agriculture, municipal and industrial use, hydropower and environmental purposes. It also provides flood control and recreation for millions of people in 17 western states. At this time, most of California's water reservoirs are at or above their historical averages, and many regions of the state face increased flood risks as the existing snowpack melts. While the Biden administration continues to funnel money into this agency, committee Republicans share growing concerns that a lack of focus on projects that would improve water storage capacity will inevitably lead to water shortages in the future.
The USFWS manages more than 850 million acres of land and water and is responsible for implementing the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Lacey Act and international agreements like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The agency's FY 2024 budget request represents a $314.9 million increase over the FY 2023 enacted level. Yet, the agency's request makes no reference to efforts to streamline the permitting processes.
NOAA’s core mission and activities include weather forecasting, climate prediction and management of fisheries, coastal and ocean resources, as well as research to support and advance these operational areas. The FY 2024 budget request for NOAA is $6.8 billion, a $407 million increase from the FY 2023 enacted level, yet there is a lack of clarity on specific goals intended to be achieved by the requested increase.
Each PMA markets and delivers (via transmission lines) electricity generated at federal dams and reservoirs operated by BOR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Biden administration is pursuing policies such as dam removal and high flow experiments that would reduce hydropower generation and increase electricity rates.
Over the past few years, Democrats have poured billions of dollars into government agencies without a clear framework for ensuring these funds help reach their stated goals. This oversight hearing was another step by the Republican majority in conducting robust oversight to ensure these agencies are utilizing taxpayer resources in the most efficient possible manner.To learn more, click here.
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