July 8, 1999
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
WASHINGTON, D.C.Montana Senator Conrad Burns has announced that the Interior Appropriations bill contains over $16.7 million specifically set aside for programs in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. The funding was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which Burns is a member, and will now go before the full Senate.
"For a state like Montana, where nearly a third of the land is owned by the federal government, it is vital that we make sure this land is properly managed," Burns said. "This bill contains funding to improve lands throughout the state and our national parks."
The full Appropriations Committee includes a number of provisions not in the subcommittee version of the bill:
· The bill includes a permanent provision allowing ranchers with grazing permits to continue using Bureau of Land Management lands while environmental reviews are completed. The subcommittee included a similar fix instituting this policy for one year.
· The bill would overturn a Bureau of Land Management interpretation of the law that effectively halts mining on public lands.
· The bill directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to institute a state-led Bull Trout conservation plan.
· The bill provides royalty relief for oil and natural gas producers operating on federal lands.
The Interior Appropriations bill also includes the following Burns requests:
· $5.715 million for sewer upgrades in Yellowstone National Park. This is over $1 million more funding than the Clinton-Gore administration requested for the upgrades. It is part of an aggressive five-year plan to improve the sewer system.
· $3 million for the Lindbergh Lake purchase.
· $2.526 million for sewer upgrades in Glacier National Park.
· $1 million to continue the Western Montana Project.
· $1 million for the Centennial Valley Conservation Project in Southwest Montana.
· $2 million for research on whirling disease, including $700,000 for continued study at Montana State University-Bozeman, and $100,000 for work at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center.
· $600,000 for the Fire Landscape Analysis Center at the University of Montana in Missoula.
· $500,000 for noxious weed research at Montana State University-Bozeman.
· $500,000 for the Rye Creek land exchange south of Hamilton.
· $350,000 for the Montana Cadastral Mapping Project, which is a satellite mapping project for the entire state.
· $300,000 for maintenance and development on the Lewis and Clark Trail, a portion of which will go to Montana.
· $250,000 for dam construction on the Lake Thibadeau National Wildlife Refuge near Havre.
· $200,000 has been set aside for INPSYCH at the University of Montana in Missoula. The program is designed to get more Indian students involved in psychology programs at the graduate and undergraduate level.
· $5 million increase in payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) funding, bringing the total PILT program to $130 million. Montana counties will receive a portion of the funding.
· Montana will receive a portion of $2.312 million for construction and activities related to Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebrations in national parks.
· $500,000 for maintenance on the Continental Divide Trail, a portion of which will go to Montana.
· Funding is available for continuing the design of visitor facilities at the Bear Paw National Battlefield.
· Congress continues its support of the U.S. Geological Survey's work with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte to install realtime seismology stations in Montana.
· The bill would prevent the reintroduction of grizzly bears into Montana or Idaho without the written consent of the governors. This was introduced with the support of Montana and Idaho's governors and a majority of the congressional delegation from both states.
· The bill includes provisions funding the Stewardship Program for national forests in Forest Service Region 1 and authorizes nine new stewardship projects within the region.
· The bill also increases the budget for timber sales management by $30 million and directs the Forest Service not to offer less timber than in fiscal year 1999.
· The bill requires the Forest Service to seek public comment before removing Forest Service roads.