Update on FY2002 Commerce, Judiciary & State Appropriations (11-16-01)
The fiscal year (FY) 2002 Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies (Commerce) Appropriations bill (H.R. 2500, S. 1215) provides federal funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). President Bush's request for NOAA totaled $3.15 billion, a 1.8% decrease from last year's allocation. The decreased funding, according to the budget request, is due to the removal of congressional earmarks and targeted funding for pet projects. Key programs within NOAA for the geosciences include the Oceanic & Atmospheric Research program and the National Weather Service. NIST works with industries to develop and apply new technologies, and NTIS acts as a central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information.
Most Recent Action
The House-Senate Conference Committee completed its action on H.R. 2500, the FY2002 Commerce Appropriations bill, by filing its report (H. Rept. 107-278) on November 9th. The final version of the bill, which passed the House in a 411-15 vote and passed the Senate in a 98-1 vote, provides $3.3 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This funding levels represents a 3% increase from the budget request. Funding for the Operations, Research and Facilities (ORF) account, which totaled $2.3 billion, includes $223 million for conservation activities. Within the ORF account, the National Ocean Service is up 14% to total $414 million, the Oceanic & Atmospheric Research area is up 8% to total $356 million, the National Weather Service is up 2% to total $672 million, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service is up 6% to total $140 million. More information on the details of the conference report is available below.
After a June 27th subcommittee approval, the full House Appropriations Committee began action on H.R. 2500. It passed the bill by voice vote and filed its report on July 10th. The House report (H. Rept. 107-139) explains that NOAA would receive $3.08 billion and NIST would receive $489 million -- there was no line item given for NTIS because it is a revolving fund. Following a favorite pastime of budget players, congressional appropriators and NOAA managers have "realigned" the budget structure to help ensure stronger support for core programs. A portion of the $3.08 billion that NOAA would receive are funds transferred from a fishery program and "deobligations" collected from the Coastal Zone Management Fund.
NOAA's Office of National Ocean Service (NOS) would receive $68.5 million for mapping and charting activities, including $1.5 million for shoreline mapping and half a million for coastal storms. Geodesy activities within NOS would total $22.9 million, with the base activities getting a slight boost over the $20.6 million requested. The ocean assessment programs would receive $74.2 million, an almost 3% increase from the request, but in total the estaurine and coastal assessment activities are up 6% to a total of $124.2 million. NOS activities related to Coastal Zone Management and Marine Sanctuaries received their respective request levels of $104.7 million and $36 million.
The Office of Ocean and Atmospheric Research (OAR) would decrease by almost 4% from the requested level to total $317.5 million. Climate research would receive a slight boost to total $49.1 million, and the Climate and Global Change Program would receive $74.6 million, an increase of almost 3 percent. Climate observations and services decreased by just over 2% to total $23.5 million -- the only cut was to the ocean observations/ocean systems line item. Overall, climate research would decrease by less than one percent from the requested $148 million. Weather and air quality research activities, such as the geophysical fluid dynamic laboratory ($3 million), would total $46.9 million, a 3.3% decrease from the request. The U.S. Weather Research Program would decrease by nearly 37% to a level of $3 million. Activities in the ocean, coastal and Great Lakes research programs would receive their requested allocations. The biggest loser in OAR was the ocean exploration line item that is down 57%. Science education in OAR would be decreased to total $15.3 million -- GLOBE would be cut by 18% to total $2.5 million.
Funding for the National Weather Service (NWS) would receive a minor boost above the requested level to total $659.3 million. Local warning and forecasting activities would receive a minimal decrease to a funding level of $522.6 million. The Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service would receive a 50% increase from the request to total $1.5 million. NOAA's National Environmental, Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) would receive a 5% increase above the request to total $149.6 million. Climate database modernization activities increased by more than 150% to $16 million, and regional climate centers that were zero funded in the president's request would receive $3 million under the House version.
After the Appropriations Committee reported on the bill, the full House considered the bill in floor debate. Several amendments were offered during H.R. 2500 debate but few of them were related to geoscience-related programs. In an unusual event, Rep. John Olver (D-MA) was successful in removing language that has become standard in appropriations for the last few years to prohibit the use of funds "to propose or issue rules, regulations, decrees, or orders for the purpose of implementation, or in preparation for implementation, of the Kyoto Protocol." The amendment (H.Amdt. 184) removed this language, found in Sec. 623 of the House version of the bill, and was passed by voice vote.
NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) would receive a 22.7% increase to a funding level of $447.2 million. Mapping and charting activities would total $85 million, an increase of almost 30%. Funding for geodesy activities would receive $24.8 million. Also receiving a health boost, the ocean assessment program would total $107.6 million, a 49% increase above the request. Ocean and coastal research would be allocated $10.3 million, and the grand total for ocean resources conservation and assessment activities would total $199.2 million (up 70%). Activities related to Coastal Zone Management would be decreased by 14% to total $89.9 million, and the Marine Sanctuaries program would receive a similar decrease to total $31 million.
NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) would total $367.6 million, a 11% increase above the requested amount. Funding for climate research laboratories and joint institutes all received their requested amounts. Similar to the House action, the Senate would provide a slight decrease in funding for the "ocean observations/ocean system" line item within the climate observations and services program, which overall would be up by 4% to total $25 million. In total climate research would be up 2.4% for a grand total of $151.5 million. Weather and air quality research would go up by 25% to $60.7 million, within this amount the U.S. Weather Research Program would go up by 190% to a funding level of $13.7 million and the geophysical fluid dynamic laboratory would receive just over the request to total $3.1 million. Ocean exploration, which was cut heavily by the House, would receive the requested $14 million in the Senate version.
The National Weather Service (NWS) would be allocated $668.6 million, an increase of less than 2 percent. Identical to the House action, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service would receive a 50% increase from the request to total $1.5 million. NOAA's National Environmental, Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) would go up by nearly 6% to total $150.5 million -- regional climate centers would receive $3.6 million compared to the zero funding in the budget request.
The House-Senate Conference Committee filed its report (H. Rept. 107-278) on November 9th. On November 15th the House passed H.R. 2500, the FY2002 Commerce Appropriations bill, in a 411-15 vote, and the Senate followed suit the next day by passing the bill in a 98-1 vote. The House Appropriations Committee press release on the conferenced bill notes that the National Institute of Standards and Technology will receive $674 million, which is an increase above both the budget request and last year's funding level. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received good news in the final bill with a total fiscal year (FY) 2002 funding of $3.25 billion, which includes $223 million for conservation activities.
NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) received a grand total of $414 million, a 14% increase above the budget request. Navigation services line item is up 13% to total $120 million, including $75 million for mapping and charting and $25 million for geodesy activities. Also under NOS are the Ocean and Coastal Management programs that are funded at a 3% increase, totaling $1.5 million, and includes nearly $69 million for Coastal Zone Management grants. The Marine Sanctuary Program is funded at $34 million.
Funding for the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) overall is up 8% to total $356 million for a range of research activities and programs. Climate Observation and Services programs will received a total of $23.5 million, which is a 2% decrease from the budget request, and includes $2.3 million for carbon cycle research and $2.5 million for baseline observatories. The base programs for the Climate and Global Change Program is funded at nearly $67 million. Also within OAR the National Sea Grant College Program received $62 million and the ocean exploration programs received the requested $14 million. The U.S. Weather Research Program received a grand total of $10 million and the National Undersea Research Program received a boost of more than 17% to total $16 million. The Tsunami Hazards Mitigation program received a very sizable increase to total $3.3 million. The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory received $14 million.
The National Weather Service (NWS) will receive a 2% increase, which will bring the account up to $672 million for the year. Local warning and forecasts is up 9% to a total of $529 million, including $4 million for a North Carolina flood plain mapping pilot program. Also receiving a boost in funding was NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information System (NESDIS), which received nearly $140 million or 6% above last year's level. The Environmental Satellite Observing Systems account was allocated $75 million, and close to $45 million was set aside for archiving, access, and assessment activities at the NOAA data centers and information services.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Margaret A. Baker, AGI Government Affairs
Posted August 10, 2001; Last Updated November 16, 2001
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