Congress gave the Interior Department 6 percent more money than President Reagan had requested for fiscal 1985, including big spending boosts for wildlife and park programs and more than twice as much as the administration had wanted to purchase new federal refuges.
The department, operating for the fourth straight year under a continuing resolution, started the year with $5.37 billion, not counting trust funds. That's $309 million more than the president's $5.06 billion request.
Congress added $39 million for the Bureau of Land Management, including nearly $12 million extra for the bureau's wild horse and burro program and more than $14 million for management of rangeland, the environment and wildlife habitats.
The U.S. Geological Survey got an extra $30 million, including $9 million for a state water resources grant program that the administration had targeted for elimination.
Congress again rejected the department's request to raise park entrance fees, and it also rejected efforts to wipe out the Historic Preservation Fund and curtail matching grants for state land acquisition. The historic fund got $25 million, the state grants program got a $73.5 million boost, and the park service ended up with a net $96 million budget increase.
In Interior's Indian and territorial offices, lawmakers added nearly $90 million for service programs, construction and "infrastructure development" projects.
But Congress also reduced the president's request in some areas, notably in the Bureau of Reclamation. The department had wanted $18 million to start five new western water projects; Congress rejected them all.
The Minerals Management Service also took a slight budget cut, but of more concern to the administration in that area was a continued congressional moratorium on offshore oil and gas leasing in certain tracts off California and New England. Offshore leasing restrictions were lifted in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, however.
Congress also lifted a coal-leasing moratorium, opening the way for the department to get a revised sales program back on the road after an extended controversy over whether it was getting a fair price for public resources.