FY 2009 Department of the Interior Budget

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 16:00:00 GMT

From E&E News:
Overall, the president’s $10.7 billion budget proposal released last week represents a slight decrease from last year’s budget, with funding shifted from standard functions like construction and range improvement for specific department initiatives.

Kempthorne defended the cuts when testifying before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee last week, calling the cuts “strategic reductions” that reduce overlap with other federal efforts while boosting funding for key department priorities.

“In tight budgetary times, I do feel that to the extent possible that we have to balance the budget, and by balance I mean with the issues,” Kempthorne said.

The National Park Service, for example, would receive $2.4 billion – a $47 million cut – but the request would also increase the service’s operations budget by more than $160 million, to $2.1 billion, making it the largest budget for park operations ever.

The increased funding for park operations is part of Bush’s National Parks Centennial Challenge in honor of NPS’s 100th anniversary. The plan calls for $1 billion – $100 million over each of the next 10 years – in donations from the public, friends groups and corporations, to be matched “dollar for dollar” in mandatory funds by Congress.

Kempthorne is expected to ask for support for the matching funds. The administration is also looking for additional funding for its Water for America, Birds Forever, Oceans and Coastal and Safe Borderlands initiatives.

Witness
  • Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Department of the Interior

Investor Summit on Climate Risk

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 15:53:00 GMT

The 2008 Investor Summit on Climate Risk will bring together more than 450 institutional investors, Wall Street leaders and CEOs from around the world to consider the scale and urgency of climate change risks, as well as the economic opportunities of a global transition to a clean energy future.

Purpose

The purpose of the Summit is to provide a high-level forum for state treasurers, leading institutional investors, and financial services firms from around the world to consider the scale and urgency of climate change risks, as well as the economic opportunities of a global transition to a clean energy future.

Objectives

Based on a vision of hope and opportunity, the Summit will focus on how investors can advance solutions to climate change, with a particular emphasis on the benefits of energy efficiency. The Summit aims to help investors:
  • Examine recent scientific findings on climate risk and technological solutions
  • Assess potential capital flows into energy efficiency and clean technologies
  • Learn how treasurers, institutional investors and financial services firms worldwide are factoring climate risk into their policies and strategies
  • Consider prudent steps investors can take to address climate risk and opportunities

Background

The 2008 Summit builds on the groundbreaking success of the first two UN Investor Summits on November 21, 2003, and May 10, 2005. Hundreds of institutional investors and asset managers from around the world, representing trillions of dollars in assets, attended the previous Summits. The information they shared raised profound concerns about investor exposure to climate risk, the future security of investment assets, and the fiduciary duty to take prudent steps to address climate risk on behalf of shareholders and beneficiaries. Information on previous Summits can be found at the Investor Network on Climate Risk website.

Climate Risk – and Opportunity

Climate change poses regulatory, legal, physical and competitive risks for companies. In the two years since the 2005 Summit there has been a growing recognition that climate change presents serious risks, not only for businesses and investments, but also for the global economy. Left unattended, risks from climate change will worsen over time, harming company assets and global investment portfolios. Leading economists, investors, and business leaders have stated recently that the costs of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are both affordable and significantly lower than the costs of inaction. Where there are risks, there are also opportunities, and the business opportunities posed by addressing climate change are significant. With the proper government policies and market conditions, low-carbon technologies that are available today could be more broadly deployed, and significant reductions in emissions could be achieved over the next few decades—all while creating vast new economic opportunities and new jobs.

International Aspects of a Carbon Cap and Trade Program

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

Witnesses
  • Jennifer Haverkamp, Senior Counsel, Environmental Defense, Washington, DC
  • Abraham Breehey, Assistant Director of Government Affairs, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers
  • Kjell Olav Kristiansen, Director, Advisory Services, Point Carbon North America
  • Ruksana Mirza, Vice President, Government and Environmental Affairs, Holcim, Inc.

FY 2009 Environmental Protection Agency Budget

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

Witness
  • Stephen Johnson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

FY 2009 Department of Agriculture Forest Service Budget

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:30:00 GMT

America's Role in the World: Promoting Environmental and Energy Sustainability

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 19:00:00 GMT

CSIS is pleased to host Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, for a discussion on the future of U.S. foreign assistance, energy and environmental sustainability. Frank A. Verrastro, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

The Smart Power Speaker Series features policymakers, practitioners and opinion leaders from around the world and across the political spectrum to engage in a discussion on U.S. Smart Power. The series is a spin-off of the CSIS Commission on Smart Power.

The Commission on Smart Power, chaired by Harvard’s Joseph Nye and former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, issued a report on November 6, 2007 on how to revitalize America’s image and influence in the world. To read the report or obtain further information, go to www.csissmartpower.org.

Coffee, tea, and soda will be served.

1800 K Street, NW
CSIS B1 – Conference Center
Washington DC, 20006

Please RSVP by emailing Sierra Stanczyk at [email protected] or calling 202-887-0200 ext. 3946

FY 2009 Department of Agriculture Budget

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

From E&E News:
Overall, the fiscal 2009 USDA budget would cut discretionary spending by 4.8 percent. The major increases in the budget would go to food assistance programs to cover the growing number of people who qualify for food stamps and other aid programs. Two of the hardest hit areas of the budget would be research and conservation, which would each see budget cuts of almost 15 percent.

The administration’s proposal would cut more than 10 percent from USDA’s research budget, which includes a wide range of programs, from livestock safety to farm-based energy, biotechnology and food safety. USDA Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner said last week that the cuts came from wiping out congressional earmarks for different research projects.

The White House also made what has become an annual effort to zero out funding for a number of discretionary programs it says are redundant, including local watershed surveys and flood prevention programs. The Bush administration has tried to eliminate the programs in previous years, but congressional appropriators have restored them each year. DeLauro noted she plans to restore the funds again this year.

This year the administration also targeted a popular renewable energy program in its spending cuts for the first time. The budget includes no funding for grants or loans for the “Section 9006” renewable energy program, which gives money to help farmers improve energy efficiency on their farms and develop small on-farm business ventures in wind, solar, biomass or geothermal energy.

The House and Senate both proposed large increases for the renewable energy program in last year’s farm bill and appropriations measures, and the administration had proposed expanding it in the farm bill. USDA included it this year in a list of programs that “serve limited purposes for which financing and other assistance is available.”

Witness
  • Edward Schafer, Secretary of Agriculture

FY 2009 U.S. Forest Service Budget

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

From E&E News:
The agency’s fire suppression efforts would get a $148 million increase – to just under $1 billion – under the plan, a total based on the 10-year average of fire suppression costs. Last year, the Forest Service spent $1.4 billion fighting fires, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

The Bush administration budget proposal would provide $297 million for projects to reduce hazardous fuels, down from $310 million in fiscal 2008. Fire preparedness would fall to $588 million from $666 million in fiscal 2008.

Several lawmakers last week slammed the proposed budget, saying it overemphasizes firefighting at the cost of fire prevention and forest restoration. . . Kimbell will be the sole witness before House appropriators on Wednesday. The chairman of the Interior subcommittee, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), was also highly critical of the agency’s proposed budget cuts.

The Forest Legacy Program, which helps conserve threatened private forests, would be reduced $40 million, to $12.5 million. The budget would also eliminate $40 million that Dicks placed in the fiscal 2008 budget for road decommissioning and reclamation.

“The Forest Service has just gotten crushed,” Dicks said in an interview last week. “It’s cut 16 percent … and they don’t have enough money over there to do the trail work, the road work, the forestry with the states, the conservation.”

Witness
  • Abigail R. Kimbell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service

Recommendations of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

The committee held an earlier hearing on the recommendations.

Witnesses

Panel I
  • Mary Peters, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation
Panel II
  • Pete Rahn, Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation and President, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • Christopher Boylan, Vice Chair, Government Relations, American Public Transportation Association and Deputy Executive Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Randall Mullett, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs, Con-Way, Inc.

FY 2009 Department of the Interior Budget

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 14:45:00 GMT

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