House Republicans say the additional funding would be wasteful and allow the federal government to unnecessarily snatch up more private and state land.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has led the administration’s promotional efforts for the fund, touring the country, joined at times by agency leaders, other federal officials, lawmakers, state or local officials.
In addition to renewing the 50-year-old program, Jewell wants access to the full $900 million annual budget it is supposed to have. Revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling deposits $900 million into the fund every year, but congressional appropriators have only given Interior and the Forest Service one-third of that, amounting to $305.5 million in fiscal 2014.
Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have signed onto a bill with 40 Democrats that would renew the fund indefinitely and give federal officials access to the full $900 million. Even though Graham and Burr are the only Republican supporters of the measure, Graham said it’s something conservatives can get behind. (The Hill, 9/25/2014)