Does an Interior bureaus have the authority to expend appropriated funds on lands beyond the boundaries of lands managed by the bureau?
Yes, in certain circumstances. Expending funds on activities and/or improvements on lands beyond the boundaries of land managed by the bureau requires either: 1) specific legislative authority to undertake the expenditure, or 2) the expenditure must be necessary to achieve the legislatively established obligations of the agency. An example of the second category is the expenditure of funds on interpreters who sometimes perform duties outside a park or refuge boundary. The Solicitor’s Office can assist in determining whether a proposed expenditure falls within either of these categories. Generally, appropriated funds may not be used to make permanent capital improvements to property not owned in whole or part by the federal government. Of course, such expenditures are permissible when authorized by Congress. Further, such expenditures may be allowable in the absence of specific congressional authority if the expenditure meets certain criteria noted in opinions of the Comptroller General