The USFS’s proposed 2014 budget includes “a decrease of $116 million for hazardous fuels” but says “non-Wildland Urban Interface Hazardous Fuels work will occur within the Integrated Resource Restoration line item in order to accomplish work more efficiently.” Integrated Resource Restoration (IRR) has a proposed line item of $757 million.
However, the IRR, which was a pilot program in three regions, had a proposed budget for 2013 of $793,124 (I don’t know what was actually allocated — anyone know?). So the 2014 IRR program gets $36 million less, but is expanded.
My question is this: Is the decrease of $116 million for hazardous fuels actually a bigger decline that is obscured by the shift to IRR?
Here are two sections from the 2014 Budget Overview, (http://www.fs.fed.us/aboutus/budget/).
Integrated Resource Restoration. We propose extending the Integrated Resource Restoration Program from the current pilot program in three regions to cover all National Forest System lands. By folding together funds from six budget line items (Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Vegetation and Watershed Management, Forest Products, Non-Wildland Urban Interface Hazardous Fuels, Rehabilitation and Restoration, and Legacy Roads and Trails), we will gain administrative efficiencies and increased flexibility for multiple activities across a single landscape. We propose a national Integrated Resource Restoration budget line item of $757 million. As part of this funding, we propose $3.9 million in spending to generate 3.1 million green tons of woody biomass and $800,000 for the USDA Wood to Energy Initiative in support of community and business efforts to convert wood to energy.
Hazardous Fuels. We propose $201 million, a decrease of $116 million for hazardous fuels from the FY 2013 annualized continuing resolution level. As proposed in FY 2013, non-Wildland Urban Interface Hazardous Fuels work will occur within the Integrated Resource Restoration line item in order to accomplish work more efficiently. We also propose allocating $10.5 million to support wood-to-energy initiatives including $6 million for Woody Biomass Utilization Grants; $2.5 million for State Wood to Energy Teams; $1 million for Biomass Air Quality Improvement; and $1 million for Development of Financial Instruments for Wood Energy efforts.
This kind of stuff makes my head hurt, especially on Mondays.