STATEMENT OF DENIS P. GALVIN, ACTING DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, AND RECREATION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE BUDGET REQUEST FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002
MAY 10, 2001
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Fiscal Year 2002 budget request of the National Park Service.
The FY 2002 request of $2.5 billion in appropriated funds for the National Park Service (NPS) reflects a net increase of $364 million above the FY 2001 enacted level. Of the total amount, $1.5 billion would fund NPS operations, including the U.S. Park Police. The request is highlighted by three key initiatives: full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, continued support for the NPS Natural Resource Challenge, and additional funding for improving and rehabilitating park facility infrastructure.
The budget request supports the Presidentís commitment to fund fully the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million, including $450 million for State grants within the NPS budget. The $450 million State grant program funding level would significantly increase the National Park Serviceís capability to assist States and local governments in meeting the demand for public outdoor recreation and conservation needs. Matching funds would be available to assist States in developing their State plans, a prerequisite for participating in the LWCF program, as well as for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities, including projects which conserve and restore threatened wildlife, wetlands, and habitats. It is estimated that approximately 5,700 new grants would be awarded. Projects would range from acquisition of open space and natural areas to the development of active-use facilities. In addition, within the amount requested, $10 million would be set aside to be apportioned to Federally recognized Indian tribes through a new competitive grant program.
This budget proposes an increase of $20 million for the third year of the Natural Resource Challenge. Continued funding of this initiative is a priority in order to provide a level of information that is critical to sound management and decision-making for resources within the parks. The support of Congress for the Natural Resource Challenge in the previous two fiscal years has enabled us to increase significantly our resource management in the parks through strengthened inventory and monitoring. We have expanded our network of university partners, fielded four teams to deal with exotic species, and begun to staff a network of learning centers.
The third initiative is increased funding in support of the Presidentís commitment to address facility infrastructure needs in units of the National Park System. The request includes $247 million for line-item construction (an increase of $138 million over last yearís request), $15 million for housing replacement, $3 million for the dam safety program, and $75 million for repair and rehabilitation projects. These programs would increase by $61 million over FY 2001 levels and, with another $40 million in fee revenue directed toward elimination of the deferred maintenance backlog, the FY 2002 NPS budget would increase park facility infrastructure work by over $100 million.
In conjunction with the increase in infrastructure funding, the proposed budget would enable NPS to continue to improve the software management systems we have put in place to help track and prioritize projects. Our Project Management Information System (PMIS), initiated in phases beginning in 1998, is now fully operational and provides a single, easy-to-use vehicle for parks to identify and prioritize project requirements systematically. We are also continuing the implementation and field testing of a new system for management of our maintenance operations, the Facility Management Software System (FMSS). We anticipate that at the end of FY 2001, FMSS will be operational in up to 120 park units. The budget request would enable us to complete the deployment of the system in FY 2002 and allow the system to be fully operational in all parks in FY 2003.
In addition to the new management systems, the NPS is conducting a Servicewide comprehensive condition assessment of all facilities. Additional funds are requested in this budget to continue the multi-year effort as parks are brought online with the maintenance software. The continuing condition assessments, along with the full implementation of the management software systems, will enable the NPS to provide Congress with a clear listing of priority projects for the NPS to address systematically. It will take time before all of the assessments are complete, but our goal is to begin in FY 2002 a process that uses available data to make reliable estimates of deferred maintenance needs and establishes objective measurements of facility maintenance performance.
Other management reforms made by the NPS include the Business Plan Initiative, which has been accomplished in 24 parks in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association. A business plan for a park includes the cost of core park functions, any gap between current funding and identified need, and the parkís strategy for addressing the difference. The information from the business plan can then be used as input to the NPS project or operations management systems, depending on the specific needs identified.
Other specific issues addressed in the FY 2002 budget proposal include:
The NPS is also committed to increasing the efficiency of our management of the public funds entrusted to us while maintaining the operational capabilities of the parks. This budget would realize savings of approximately $6.1 million through the following streamlining actions: $4.4 million in management consolidation, $1.2 million in decreased travel costs; and $500,000 in using technological advancements, including electronic contracting, to create savings through more efficient systems and processes. Through further streamlining, in keeping with Administration policy for all the Department of the Interior bureaus, the NPS would absorb about $11 million in additional fixed costs.
Due to the expanded opportunities for State grants for recreational purposes through the $450 million State grants program, no funds are requested for the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery grants program. The request also discontinues funding for the grants program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which has been funded to its fully authorized level of $29 million. The request also reduces funding levels for Statutory or Contractual Aid, Historic Preservation Fund grants, and partnership funding for Heritage Areas.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I will be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.