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Funding for State & Tribal Wildlife Grants for FY12 still uncertain
Even though the federal fiscal year started on October 1, a final budget has not been passed and most of the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until November 18th. With each passing day it appears more likely that Congress will need to extend the CR into December. As background, last summer the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed an Interior and Environment budget that included just $22M for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants. We got better news from the Senate several weeks ago when they released a draft of their bill which would fund the program at $61.4M or just slightly less than last year’s level. Even though this would still be over a 30% cut from FY10, in the current fiscal environment it’s about the best we can hope for. t looks like the most likely path to a final budget for Interior will be through a minibus (a small number of funding bills bundled together). Before this happens there will need to be some agreement by the House and Senate on how to deal with controversial riders that are attached to the House bill. We are hopeful that funding levels in a final bill will be at or very near to the Senate number so that this successful program can continue providing resources to state fish and wildlife agencies and their partners to prvent endangered species listings. The only federal program by the way that has that specific purpose.