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Sec. Jewell Defends Interior Department Budget

Jewell

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters yesterday that the activities of the Department of Interior contributed $371-billion to the US economy in 2012 and supported 2.3-million jobs in such activities as outdoor recreation and tourism, energy development and grazing and timber harvest.  However, she quickly points out that there is a movement afoot in Congress to cut funding to the department which she says would jeopardize the department’s operations. She told reporters, such a proposal doesn’t make sense.  She says the President has proposed an $11.9-billion budget to support the department’s mission in 2014.  She points out that when one considers that in 2012 took in $13.7-billion in receipts, Interior is one of the few agencies that actually generate more income than it spends.  Says Jewell: “When you think about it this way, it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish to require budget cuts that force the department to reduce activities that support our nation’s economy and create jobs.”  Jewell says the House is looking at cutting the President’s proposed budget for Interior by 12%. She says it would jeopardize the country’s investments in its parks, wildlife refuges, and protections for those places the people love most.  However, she adds that it would also completely eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  That fund, she points out, is used by states and local governments to provide access to such things as hunting and fishing, to protect civil war battlefields, provide ball fields and other areas for children to play, and to provide easements to keep working ranchlands working, and to protect important habitats for wildlife and endangered species. Jewell’s report shows Interior’s annual economic benefits to Wyoming include more than $24 ¾-billion dollars to the state’s local economy in its production of goods and services, and helps in a variety of ways to support nearly 128-thousand jobs.

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