SPECIAL UPDATE: The President's FY 2003 Budget Request: NOAA, NASA, EPA

(Posted 2-21-02)

This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

IN A NUTSHELL: This update is the third in a series on how the geosciences fared in President Bush's fiscal year (FY) 2003 budget request. Previous updates covered activities at the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey. They are available at http://www.agiweb.org/gap. A future update will address the Department of Energy and other remaining geoscience programs. The president requested $3.2 billion for NOAA, a 1.5% decrease. Within that total, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would receive $308 million, down 20%; the bulk of the cut is due to transfers. Within NASA, earth science programs are flat-funded at $1.6 billion, but most programs are cut in order to make room for a large increase in mission operations. Earth Science Program Science funding would increase by 3.9% to total $354 million. Funding for Mars exploration is up 9.4% to $454 million. The president has requested $7.7 billion for EPA, a decrease of 3.5% from FY 2002. Funds for science programs -- the "sound science" goal in EPA budget parlance, would drop 2.4% to $327.8 million.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The presidentís budget request for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) totals $3.2 billion in discretionary spending, which is a 1.5% decrease from last year's allocation.  According to NOAA budget documents, the agency would see a saving of $24.3 million in program terminations.  In what seems to be a favorite past-time in agency budget offices, NOAA has realigned several of its budget accounts, creating a challenge for comparison with past years. The budget total also includes the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposal for agencies to fund all of their employee retirement funds out of the agency's budget rather than, as is currently done, through the White House Office of Personnel Management.

The majority of research at NOAA is managed by the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), which requested $307.5 million, a cut of 20% from FY 2002 funding.  The majority of the decrease is due to the transfer of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation program ($2.3 million) to the National Weather Service and the transfer of the National Sea Grant program ($62 million) to the National Science Foundation.  OAR climate change research activities would go up by close to 14% from last year -- the president's newly unveiled Climate Change Research Initiative (CRRI) would provide $18 million of that boost.  Weather and air quality research would increase by 6.5% to a total of $59 million.  The largest decrease in OAR is targeted at the Oceans, Coastal, and Great Lake Research account, which would go down by 61% to $54 million. That decrease largely removes additions made by Congress for specific projects ("earmarks") in the FY 2002 appropriations process.

The National Oceans Service (NOS), which is steward of the nation's coastal and ocean resources, would receive a total of $410.9 million, nearly a 19% decrease from last year's allocation.  Within NOS, the ocean resources conservation and assessment activities are down close to 21% for a total of $122.6 million.  The request for activities under the Ocean and Coastal Management account total $140.5 million, which is an increase of just over 1% from last year.

The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service is up 8.6% in the budget request, for a total of $764.7 million.  Funding for the National Weather Service (NWS) is up by nearly 8%, totaling $800.8 million.  The big winner in NWS is the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service, which is marked to be more than tripled.  The National Marine Fisheries Service would total $741.2 million, a 6% decrease from last year.

NOAA's budget documents are available at http://www.ofa.noaa.gov/~nbo/.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The president's request of $15 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would increase the agency's budget by less than one percent above last year's allocation. Funding for the Office of Earth Science would be virtually unchanged at $1.6 billion. Within that apparent flat funding, a four-fold increase in mission operations is offset by cuts in virtually all the other programs within the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE). ESE data information system activities would receive $74.3 million, a cut of almost 75%.  The Earth Explorers satellite programís budget would be cut by 4% to $71.2 million. Earth Science Program Science funding would increase by 3.9% to total $353.9 million. Budget documents indicate that no new missions will be undertaken until the administration conducts a review of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (http://www.usgcrp.gov). The lion's share of the funding coordinated by this interagency initiative, established by the first President Bush, is related to NASA Earth Science satellite systems.

NASA's human space flight program would receive a 10% decrease, most of which is related to the International Space Station.  The Space, Aeronautics and Technology account -- which includes the Office of Earth Science -- would go up by 9.9% to total $8.8 billion.  Of this total, $3.4 billion would go to space science, an increase of 19%; another $842 million would go to biological and physical research, an increase of 2.7%; and $2.8 billion would go to aerospace technology, an increase of 12.3%.  Education activities at NASA would decrease by 36.8% to total $144 million.  The Mars Exploration program requested $453.6 million, a 9.4% increase from last year.

NASA budget documents are available at http://ifmp.nasa.gov/codeb/budget2003/. Additional information is available from AGU Science Legislative Alert (ASLA) 02-05 at http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/asla/asla-list?read=2002-05.msg.

Environmental Protection Agency

No agency has done a better job of aligning its budget request with performance goals related to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unfortunately, those GPRA goals have little to do with either the agency's organization structure or with the way that congressional appropriators fund the agency. As a result, EPA budget numbers -- presented in the context of the agency's ten GPRA goals -- are rather difficult to assess. With that caveat in place, President Bush's budget requests $7.7 billion for EPA, a decrease of 3.5% from last year's allocation not including the additional funds from last year's anti-terrorism supplemental bill.

Funding for the clean air goal would increase slightly to $598 million.  The request for the clean and safe water goal is $3.2 billion, a decrease of 14%. Within that goal, the Total Maximum Daily Load program is up close to 1% to total $21.4 million, and the wetlands program would increase by 3% to total $18.4 million. Under the budget request, funding for clean air programs would be $5.97 billion to continue the National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program to reduce air toxics and acid rain risks. Waste management, restoration of contaminated waste sites, and emergency response programs would receive $1.5 billion. The Brownfields program would more than double under the president's budget, totaling $200 million.  A new proposal in the EPA budget is $8 million to maintain the Homestake Mine until a decision is made about making the site into a federally funded physics laboratory for neutrino collection. Global and Cross-Border Environmental Risk programs would receive $276 million in funding, a cut of 2.5%.  These programs deal with greenhouse gas emissions, ozone depletion and the development of cleaner technologies.

The majority of science done at EPA is funded through the sound science goal, which requested a 2.4% decrease to total $327.8 million. This request continues a tradition begun by the Clinton administration of requesting cuts for the sound science goal. We are resisting the temptation to draw conclusions but cannot resist suggesting that a new name be found for the goal. Two EPA programs are zeroed out in the budget request, the Common Sense Initiative and the STAR fellowship program.  Funds associated with the latter, totaling roughly $9 million, would be transferred to the National Science Foundation. Coastal environmental activities would go up by close to 5%, for a total of $7.7 million. Research activities to support pollution prevention would increase by 17% to total $44 million, and the EPA Science Advisory Board would see an increased to $3.3 million.

EPA's budget documents are available at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/budget/budget.htm.

Special update prepared by Margaret A. Baker, AGI Government Affairs Program; Heather Golding, AGI/AAPG Semester Intern; and David Applegate.

Sources: American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted February 21, 2002

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