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President's FY2003 Budget Request (7-10-02)

President George W. Bush released his fiscal year (FY) 2003 budget on February 4, 2002.  Despite a tight budget due to the War on Terrorism and a transitioning economy, overall federal funding for research and development activities are at a historical high -- $111.8 billion, up 8 percent from last year.  Unfortunately the increases are targeted to primarily medical science research and defense applied research, leaving nearly all of the geoscience related federal programs with little to no increase or sizable cuts.  Funding for geoscience programs in the FY 2003 budget is a unique challenge because of several proposed transfers of programs between agencies that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has included in the budget request -- more information on the transfers is available below in the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Science Foundation sections.  A complete list of budget documents is available at the OMB website, and information on the science and technology aspects of the budget is available at the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) website.

Much of the information on the President's FY2003 budget request was originally sent out as an e-mail Special Update to AGI's member societies.


 Commerce 
 (NOAA) 
 Energy & Water 
 (DOE) 
 Interior 
 (USGS, DOE-Fossil) 
 Labor/HHS 
 (Education) 
 Agriculture 
 (USDA) 
 VA/HUD 
 (NSF, EPA, NASA) 


Commerce, State, Justice, Judiciary (NOAA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The president's 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 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/.



Energy & Water (DOE)

Department of Energy
Overall, the request for the Department of Energy (DOE) is up 3.2% to $19.8 billion. Of that total, $8 billion goes to the National Nuclear Security Agency with responsibility for development and maintenance of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile; $7.4 billion goes to cleaning up waste associated with nuclear weapon production over the past sixty years; $3.3 billion goes to support scientific research at national laboratories and universities; and $2.4 billion funds programs related to energy.

The president's budget request for DOE's Office of Science is $1 billion, a 2% increase from last year's allocation.  A key area of interest for the geosciences is the Basic Energy Science (BES) program, which sponsors fundamental research in areas to support the department's missions in energy, environment, and national security.  A budget restructuring to align the accounts with the BES working structure would move geoscience programs into a combined Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Energy Biosciences Research account, which would total $220.1 million, a 5.9% increase.  Within that total, Geoscience Research would remain at the $21.3 million received last year, continuing to support geophysical research focused on "new approaches to understand[ing] physical properties of fluids, rocks and minerals." The Office of Science and Basic Energy Science budget documents are available at http://www.sc.doe.gov/orm/Budget_Finance/FY_03_Budget/FY_03_Budget.htm.

DOE funds research into geothermal energy production through the department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The geothermal program would receive $26.5 million in FY2003, a 3% decrease. Overall, spending on renewable energy would increase 5% to $291.5 million. For more details on the renewables budget request, see http://www.eren.doe.gov/budget/.

Yucca Mountain
President Bush's budget request includes a large increase for the Yucca Mountain project in response to the decision to officially recommend the Nevada site to Congress as the nation's permanent disposal site for high-level nuclear waste. The president's decision comes after DOE spent $4 billion over the past 20 years characterizing the site.  The FY 2003 budget for DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management would increase 40% to $527.1 million with the bulk of the increase related to a shift from site characterization to activities supporting submission of a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The president acted one day after Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham made his official recommendation. Abraham noted in his letter to Bush: "I have considered whether sound science supports the determination that the Yucca Mountain site is scientifically and technically suitable for the development of a repository. I am convinced that it does. The results of this extensive investigation and the external technical reviews of this body of scientific work give me confidence for the conclusion, based on sound scientific principles, that a repository at Yucca Mountain will be able to protect the health and safety of the public when evaluated against the radiological protection standards adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency and implemented by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

Under the procedures outlined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (amended in 1987). the president's recommendation triggers a series of actions. The State of Nevada has 60 days to submit a Notice of Disapproval to Congress, which the state will certainly do (in addition to suing DOE for failing to follow proper procedures). Often referred to as a veto, the Nevada governor's notice must be voted on by Congress within the next 90 days that they are in session ("in the first period of 90 calendars of continuous session"). Unlike a presidential veto, the state's notice can be overturned by a simple majority vote in both houses. If the disapproval is overturned, then the Secretary of Energy has 90 days to submit a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This series of actions could be over in a matter of months, although a recent General Accounting Office report suggested that DOE would not be ready to submit a license application for several years. Moreover, Nevada is launching a full-court press, both legally and politically, to stop the project. For more on developments related to Yucca Mountain, see http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis107/yucca.html.

More details on the overall DOE budget request can be found at http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/03budget/.



Interior & Related Agencies (USGS, DOE-Fossil Fuels, BLM, NPS, MMS, USFS)

Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior (DOI) request -- including the funds for the 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 -- would total $13.2 billion, of which $12.2 billion is funded under the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  According the budget documents, total funding for the programs in the  Interior Appropriations bill would increase by $20.5 million over last year's allocation.  Similar to other agencies, DOI is promoting management changes throughout the agency, including a review to determine "as to whether activities should be performed in house or by the private sector" -- Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act (FAIR) that was passed in 1998.

Department Priorities
The budget document highlights nine major initiatives in this year's budget request: the Cooperative Conservation Initiative, Local and Private Conservation, Trust Programs, Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools, National Park Service Backlog, National Resource Challenge, National Wildlife Refuge System, Energy and Minerals, and Wildland Fire Management.  Announced in January 2002 by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, the Cooperative Conservation Initiative (CCI) to promote conservation by individuals at the local level.  The budget request would provide $100 million to CCI to fund "restoration, protection, and enhancement of natural areas through established programs and new pilot programs that feature creative approaches to conservation."  Also listed as a  priority is $18 million for the Natural Resource Challenge that continues the collaborative work between the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), universities, and research scientists to strengthen natural resources management in the parks.  Several of the Interior agencies are listed as key to President Bush's National Energy Policy (NEP), and a priority for DOI is to help implement aspects of the NEP.  The budget would provide a total of $17.9 million, primarily to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Minerals Management Service (MMS), to support the NEP.  Another priority for DOI is Wildland Fire Management -- a topic that is contentious on Capitol Hill.  The budget would provide $675.5 million across several agencies.

Funding for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) would increase by $13.6 million over last year's allocation, providing a total of $170.3 million in appropriations for the agency.  According to the budget documents, activities at MMS will focus on increased activity in Gulf of Mexico outer continental shelf leasing and working with BLM to initiate a web-based management information system for federal oil and gas activities.   The Minerals Revenue Management project that restructured the operation management for royalty collection would receive $83.3 million, the same allocation as last year, to ensure revenue from leases are "effectively, efficiently, and accurately collected, accounted for, and disbursed to recipients."

The National Park Service (NPS) is marked to receive $2.4 billion in the budget request, an increase of 1.4% over last year's allocation.  Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) would total $286.1 million, and funding for the LWCF state assistance program would total $200 million, of which $50 million would go towards the CCI.  Also included in the LWCF account would be $20 million in grants to Florida to acquire land critical to the Everglades restoration project.  Activities related to operation of the National Park System would see a 7.3% increase, to total $107.6 million.  Within this amount, resource stewardship, which includes water resources and resource inventories, would see a $16.6 million increase, providing a total of $334.9 million.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) that is marked to receive $279.4 million, a decrease of just under 9%.  Funding for abandoned mine reclamation activities related to environmental restoration would receive a 16% cut to total $157 million.  The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would receive a slight increase over last year's allocation to total $1.28 million.  Ecological activities within the FWS would decrease by nearly 4%, providing a total of $211 million.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) would receive an increase of 1%, bringing the total to $2.2 billion.  DOI offices would receive $423.5 million, an increase of 16%.  According to the budget documents, the increase is due trust reform activities related to the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians.

More information on the DOI budget request is available at http://www.doi.gov/budget/toc.html



Bureau of Land Management
Funding for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would decrease by slightly more than 2% to total $1.83 billion.  This decrease is primarily due to a "major reduction" in the funding for Wildland Fire Management, which received additional funding in FY 2002 through emergency funds.  Increases at BLM include $14 million for land-use planning, $10.2 million to expand energy related activities, $10 million in the Cooperative Conservation Initiative, $2 million "to manage areas with special designation status," and $2 million for improve science data on endangered and threatened species.

A great deal of the BLM budget in FY 2003 is focused on energy and mineral resources on public land, especially as these activities related to the National Energy Policy (NEP).  According to the budget documents, "energy and mineral resources generate the highest revenue values of any uses of the public lands."  It goes on to state that in FY 2003, "a $10.2 million increase will be directed to more responsive management of oil and gas, geothermal, coal, mineral materials, energy-related rights-of-way, and Indian trust responsibilities."  The budget would provide $750,000 for renewable energy resources -- $300,000 for hydropower licensing in the West Coast, $100,000 for wind research at the Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Laboratory, and $350,000 for geothermal resources.

In total, the Energy and Minerals activities would increase by 9.7%, to total $104.8 million.  Of this amount, $84.9 million (up 10.9% from last year's allocation) would go towards oil and gas management, $9.6 million (up 8.6%) for coal resource management, and $10.3 million (up 2.2%) for other mineral resources.  The budget document states that $3 million of the oil and gas management funds would be used to begin environmental and planning studies "to support a 2004 lease sale in the northeast sector of the National Petroleum Reserve, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, if authorized, and support for the Joint Pipeline Office's re-permitting of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline."  Also the geothermal program will be managed through the oil and gas management group.  Some of the funding for the coal management activities will be used to help resolve conflicts that often arise between coalbed methane and coal development and to review leasing and royalty guidelines.  Funding for the Alaska Minerals line item would be cut by 44%, providing a total of $2.2 million for these activities.

Additional information on the BLM budget is available at http://www.blm.gov/budget/




U.S. Geological Survey
For the second year in a row, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) faces substantial cuts in the president's request. Last year's proposed cuts totaled $70 million, but Congress ultimately restored those funds and provided an additional $30 million for the Survey to total $914 million. For fiscal year (FY) 2003, the Bush Administration is seeking a $47 million, or 5.1%, cut to $867.3 million. Geologic programs would be cut $8.2 million (-3.5%) to $224.7 million; water programs take the biggest hit, down $28 million (-13.6%) to $177.8 million; mapping is down $4 million (-3.0%) to $129.3 million; and biological programs are down $5.9 million (-3.5%). In addition, the USGS is expected to save $6 million through unspecified management reforms, and $1 million from travel reductions. Taking into account the cost-of-living increases, actual program funds would fall $55.2 million.

Another troubling aspect of the president's request that is not apparent from the budget documents is the lack of funding for the USGS activities in support of homeland security and the war on terrorism overseas. All four disciplines within the Survey have made and continue to make significant contributions to these efforts, but neither the emergency supplementals nor the FY 2003 request provide any direct funding. Instead, those costs must be absorbed in addition to the proposed cuts.

A final note before addressing some of the specific changes: the official budget request number for USGS is $904 million, which includes a one-time transfer of $35.9 million for the pension system and health benefit program for current employees. Under the present system, those funds go through the Office of Personnel Management, and OMB is seeking to have the funds assigned to individual agencies. Because it does not appear that the proposal will make it through Congress, we will use the lower number of $867.3 million, which is directly comparable to previous years.

As was the case a year ago, USGS water programs take the brunt of the cuts in the president's request. Several programs are targeted for elimination and, in one case, transfer out of Interior. Funding for the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program is to be cut by 9.2% to total $57.3 million for collecting data from 42 large river basins and aquifers.  According to a USGS budget fact sheet on NAWQA, the proposed $5.8 million decrease would terminate activities in 6 of the 42 study units -- with a systematic analysis to determine which specific ones to cut.  Budget language states that this decrease "reflects a plan to obtain cost-sharing funds from NAWQA partners and customers."  More information on NAWQA is available at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/.

Two other water programs would be eliminated by the budget request: the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program (Toxics) and the Water Resources Research Institutes.  The Toxics program supports long-term research on water resource contamination in both surface and groundwater environments.  Toxics research is a collaborative effort of USGS scientists, university and private-sector researchers, and state, local, and federal agency scientists.  Research from the program has helped to understand the transport of various contaminants, such as MTBE and radioactive waste, in ground water.  The administration proposal would downsize the program from the $13.9 million allocated in FY 2002 to only $10 million, which would be transferred to the National Science Foundation.  Budget language notes that there would be a three-year transition period in which the two agencies will work together "for the orderly phase-out of USGS long-term research and methods development activities."  More information on Toxics is available at http://toxics.usgs.gov/. For more on the program transfers, see the February 6th Special Update on the President's Request for NSF at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis107/fy2003budgetupdate_usgs.html.

The Water Resources Research Institutes, also targeted for elimination, were established by the Water Resources Research Act of 1984.  For years, different administrations and Congress have played a funding game with this popular program -- administration requests of either no funding or nominal funding always countered with congressional restoration of funds or increases.  Members of Congress are especially fond of the institutes because there is one located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and federal territories.  Historically, the program has been a cooperative between USGS and states, with states matching two dollars for each one from USGS.  More information on WRRI is available at http://water.usgs.gov/wrri/.

For the past two years, several USGS cooperative programs have received funding through a separate account in the Interior and Related Agencies appropriations bill known as the Title VIII Conservation Funding category.  Originally added in the FY 2001 bill, Title VIII was a slimmed-down version of a much broader plan to use funds collected from oil and gas royalties to be used for environmental activities at the state and local level. (The broader plan, known as the Conservation and Reinvestment Act or CARA, is still being considered in Congress; more at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis107/ocs.html.)  Title VIII funding was planned as a six-year initiative, but funding is not mandatory and thus not guaranteed from year to year.

Last year, the USGS receive an additional $25 million from Title VIII. As was the case last year, those funds are zeroed out in the president's request. The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping program is marked for a nearly $6 million decrease of which almost $5 million is from the Title VIII account; this decrease would return the program close to the FY 2000 level. The program funds federal, state, and university geologic mapping projects with a significant cost-share in the case of the state projects. More on the program at http://ncgmp.usgs.gov. The National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP), a network of nearly 7,200 streamgages, would receive a $2 million cut (14.6%), which would eliminate funding for 130 streamgages. Because most streamgages are funded by USGS partners on an as-needed basis, the federally funded portion provides a backbone with much-needed long-term data continuity. More information on NSIP is available at http://water.usgs.giv/nsip/. Several other programs are in a similar situation with a decrease in funding because of the removal of Title VIII funds in the request.

In all, the budget request cuts 35 separate programs in USGS. More than half of these programs are considered by OMB as congressional earmarks, and most of those are projects in specific locations. Six programs would receive additional funding in areas that are administration priorities, supporting the president's National Energy Policy plan, researching environmental and human health connections, and implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.  Focused primarily on the Mexico/U.S. border, the environmental health project is marked to receive $1 million.  USGS would receive a $4 million from the National Park Service to support multi-agency science activities related to the Everglades project.  In the energy arena, USGS would receive $1.2 million to build upon activities from last fiscal year to conduct estimates of undiscovered oil and natural gas resources on onshore federal lands.  Also included was $1 million to produce digital base maps in areas of Alaska with future leasing potential.  Geothermal energy would receive a small boost of $0.5 million.

The USGS budget documents are available at http://www.usgs.gov/budget/2003/



Department of Energy -- Fossil Fuels
The budget request for DOE's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) looks remarkably similar to last year's request -- sizable cuts in the majority of fossil energy programs. The overall FE request is down 5.2% from last year's allocation, bringing the total to $816 million.  Funding for actual R&D activities is down 12.6% to total $548.2 million. Once again, natural gas and oil research programs are faced with particularly large cuts.

The Oil Technology program is slated for a 36.8% cut that would bring the total to $35.4 million. Funding for exploration and production (E&P) activities would drop 49.3% to total $16.4 million. The majority of the E&P funding would go into PRIME, a program designed to "support high-risk, fundamental research that could produce revolutionary advances in oil technology," which will kick off in April 2002.  Funding for fundamental geoscience research to improve characterization of oil-bearing formations will also continue to be funded through E&P.  Also within the Oil Technology account, reservoir management activities would be funded at $9.5 million (down 26.6%) and environmental protection activities related to oil field operations would be funded at $9.5 million (down 11.2%).  The budget document notes that the environmental management account would scale back risk assessment activities in favor of supporting cooperative efforts between oversight agencies, both at the local and federal level, to improve the permitting process for oil production.

The Natural Gas Technologies program is slated for a 50% cut down to $22.6 million. Citing a period of expected growth in the coming years in natural gas, DOE budget documents state that the FE should target funding toward areas with the greatest return and that "industry clearly is not funding major development efforts."  The requested $15.5 million for natural gas exploration and production is a 24.6% decrease from last year's allocation.  A majority of the natural gas E&P account will be directed to the final year of development in several advanced drilling and diagnostic tools, including research in the area of secondary gas recovery.  E&P funds will be invested in developing technologies for drilling in ultra-deep waters and continental deep drilling, such as in the Rocky Mountains.  The budget document states that E&P will continue to support the Stripper Well Gas Consortium. Within the natural gas research program, two subaccounts are zeroed out; Gas Infrastructure activities would be transferred to DOE's Office of Pipeline Safety and Emerging Processing Technologies would fall completely to the private industry.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in funding for research programs associated with gas hydrates.  The FY 2003 budget scales back (by 54.1%) the funding for gas hydrate research, but the $4.5 million requested, according to the budget document, "is still sufficient to collect important data on safety and seafloor stability and the role of hydrates in global climate change."

Even presidential initiatives are not spared from the FE cuts.  President Bush began a new Clean Coal Research Initiative (CCRI) in last year's budget that is continued in the FY 2003 budget.  This budget request is the second in a planned ten-year, $2 billion investment to improve technologies for using abundant domestic coal reserves.  FE plans to combine $150 million from FY 2002, $30 million from the now-closed Power Plant Improvement Initiative (a Clinton-era program), and $150 million from the FY 2003 budget -- for a total of $330 million -- to solicit proposals for cooperative, cost-sharing demonstrative projects for CCRI.  The first solicitation, expected in the coming weeks, "will focus on rapidly advancing technologies that can be accelerated into the power sector through government-industry partnership projects."  Future funding for CCRI is expected to be supported through royalties from patents expected from these early projects.  Research on carbon sequestration is part of the CCRI, and is one of the two areas to see an increase.  The budget directs $54 million, an increase of 67.8% from last year, toward carbon sequestration research to aid in moving promising laboratory projects to field tests.  The other area of CCRI to see an increase in the request is the Advanced Research account, which requested a 13% increase to total $31.7 million.

The FE request includes $188.8 million for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and $93.1 million for the Naval Petroleum Reserves, both increases. Last fall, President Bush announced an executive order to fill the SPR to its full capacity using in-kind royalties from federal leases, and the first deliveries are expected this spring.  Increased funds for SPR are expected to help cover the costs associated with these deliveries.

The FE budget document is available at http://fossil.energy.gov/budget/.



U.S. Forest Service
The total budget request for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is $4.9 billion, which includes the government-wide proposal to include employee benefits. Without these proposal funds, the total request comes to $4.1 billion in discretionary funding, which is a slight decrease from last year's allocation. Funding for the USFS Minerals and Geology Management program would receive a 14% increase to total $56 million. Total funding for the National Forest System would increase by just over 7% for a total of $1.4 billion, including $1 million for the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Addition information on the USFS budget request is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/pages/budget_analysis.html.



Department of Labor/HHS (DoEd)

Department of Education
Passage of H.R.1, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, greatly changed the way in which the federal government funds elementary and secondary education.  Prior to President Bush's signing H.R. 1 into law on January 8, 2002, the majority of federal support for math and science education was through the Eisenhower Professional Development programs --  the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) for Mathematics and Science Education, the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia, and the Eisenhower Professional Development State Grants.  Under the new law, the professional development for math and science educators that was supported through the state grants is now supported through the Math and Science Partnerships program (MSP).  The fiscal year (FY) 2003 budget request would provide only $12.5 million -- it is authorized up to $450 million and Eisenhower was last funded at $485 million. Addition information available at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/Budget03/Summary/index.html.



VA/HUD & Independent Agencies (NSF, NASA, EPA, FEMA)


National Science Foundation
Back in December 2001, OMB lavished praise on the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its efficient management. That praise translated into a requested 5% increase to total $5.1 billion -- favored status compared to the cuts or flat funding faced by many other science agencies.  NSF Director Rita Colwell said in her statement at the public budget release that the strength of the agency relies on two conditions: aiming research at the "leading edge of technology" and awarding grants based on "competitive, merit-reviewed, and time-limited" proposals "with clear criteria for success."

NSF's approach of awarding grants rather than hiring its own researchers was a major selling point for OMB, and the budget proposes to transfer several programs from mission-oriented agencies to NSF. The transfers include $10 million from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for its Hydrology of Toxic Substances program, $57 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its Sea Grant program, and $9 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its environmental education programs.  According to NSF budget documents, $74 million of that will be awarded as grants through the Geoscience Directorate, with the remaining $2 million used for management and administration of the transfer. Without the transferred funds, the increase for NSF's own programs drops down to 3.4% above last year's allocation, just ahead of inflation.

For more on the proposed transfer of USGS programs, see the Geotimes Web Extra at http://www.geotimes.org/feb02/WebExtra0205.html.

Major Research Equipment
In contrast to the mixed news for the GEO directorate, earth scientists will find very good news in the Major Research Equipment (MRE) account request: $35 million for EarthScope. Long the exclusive domain of physicists and astronomers, the MRE account funds large-scale facilities. EarthScope, which comprises four separate projects, is unique in that it is not a single facility (like an atom smasher or telescope) but rather four separate, broadly distributed projects: the United States Seismic Array (USArray), the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), and the Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite (InSAR).

The $35 million of first-year funding would be divided between USArray, SAFOD, and PBO. Although funding for the MRE account is entirely separate from funding that goes to the directorates, the fourth component of EarthScope -- InSAR -- is listed as a priority within EAR (more below). EarthScope is expected to last five years at a total cost of $187 million.

This budget marks the second time that EarthScope has been included in the president's request. In FY 2001, it was part of a whopping 17.5% increase for NSF requested by President Clinton. Although Congress ultimately provided NSF with a healthy 13% increase, EarthScope did not make it into the appropriation. Instead, Congress funded the High-Performance Instrumental Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER), a high-altitude aircraft used for atmospheric research that had been put in NSF's budget the previous year. The FY2001 House-Senate Conference Committee report (H.Rpt. 106-998) made clear that the lack of funding for EarthScope "does not reflect on the quality of research proposed" and was done "without prejudice," leaving the door open for its inclusion in future budgets. President Bush's FY 2002 request contained no new starts in the MRE account.

Now awaiting its final year of funding, HIAPER again is not in the president's request. Since it is almost certain that Congress will provide the money needed to complete HIAPER, EarthScope faces a tough road to stay in the budget. Without a strong effort from the geoscience community, EarthScope is in danger of being frozen out for the second time. It is not likely that there would be a third chance.

EarthScope is one of three new starts proposed for the MRE account along with the National Ecological Observation Network (NEON) -- also in the FY 2001 request but not funded -- and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA II), a follow-up to a previous MRE project.

More information on EarthScope is available at http://www.earthscope.org. A new National Research Council study on the science plan for EarthScope is available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10271.html.

Geosciences Directorate
The proposed transfers pose a significant problem for the Geosciences Directorate (GEO) since virtually all of its requested 13.4% increase, to $691 million, is due to transferred funds. Within that total, the Earth Sciences Division (EAR) would receive a 21.2% increase to $153.1 million (including $2.5 million of EPA money, $10 million of NOAA money, and $9.7 million of USGS money); Atmospheric Sciences Division (ATM) would receive an 8.4% increase to $218.9 million (including $3.6 million from EPA and $5 million from NOAA); and Ocean Sciences Division (OCE) would receive a 13.5% increase to $319 million (including $2.5 million from EPA and $40.8 million from NOAA).

Behind that facade of a healthy increase provided by the transfers, existing GEO programs would receive a 1.2% increase, providing a decrease in funding in real dollars. EAR would increase by 3.6%, ATM's increase would be 4%, and OCE would receive a decrease of nearly 2%.  When NSF Director Colwell was asked how GEO would fare if the transfers do not go through, she responded that there was a contingency plan but did not provide any more details.  At the GEO budget briefing, Assistant Director for Geosciences Margaret Leinen seemed much more optimistic that the transfers would occur, stating that GEO has been talking with people at the affected programs in order to work out a smooth transition. More details on the GEO divisions can be found below.

Returning to the Geosciences Directorate for a closer look at line items, the Earth Sciences Division is slated to receive $116.9 million for Earth Science Project Support, which funds researchers in the Earth Sciences, in multidisciplinary groups, and in outreach activities related to the geosciences.  Also under EAR is funding for Instrumentation and Facilities at $36.2 million.  One of the listed priorities for this area is the "development of a dedicated InSAR satellite mission, carried out jointly with NASA and USGS, to provide spatially-continuous strain measurements over wide geographic areas."

The Atmospheric Sciences Division funding for the Research Support account would come to $145.3 million, a 15.9% increase.  Funding for the National Center for Atmospheric Research would decrease to $73.6 million, a change of nearly 4% below last year's allocation.  Leinen noted that a part of this decrease is due to the fact that some projects are concluding.  In the Ocean Sciences Division, funding for Research Support activities would increase by 15.4% to $120 million, the Integrative Programs account would increase by 11.1% to $104 million, and the Marine Geoscience account would increase by 13.8% to $95 million. As noted above, all of these increases dominantly reflect transfers, not new money for existing programs.

NSF Priority Initiatives
At the budget rollout, in addition to highlighting several of the agency's priorities, NSF Director Colwell also noted that the FY 2003 budget will increase graduate stipends from $21,500 to $25,000 at a cost of close to $37 million.  Graduate research fellowships, graduate teaching fellowship in K-12 education, and integrative graduate education and research traineeships (IGERT) programs will also benefit from this stipend increase.  She also noted that the agency's administrative and management account will receive one the largest increases in several years to total $268 million.  Staffing at NSF has remained essentially the same since 1990, and the $41 million increase will be used to recruit more employees and to help the agency continue its work on E-Government.

A major winner in the president's budget is the Math and Science Partnership program, which is marked to receive an increase of 25% over the FY 2002 budget.  The $200 million request for the partnership program is the second installment of a planned five-year, $1.0 billion initiative to improve math and science education at the primary and secondary levels.  It also was a keystone of the president's education reform bill that was signed into law in January 2002.  According to Colwell, NSF is working closely with the Department of Education to develop a connection between the two agencies.

NSF identified a number of priority areas, all of which would receive healthy increases in the budget request.  A new priority area of the agency is social, behavioral and economic sciences, which would receive $10 million in seed money.  Other NSF priority areas by the numbers: biocomplexity in the environment would receive $79.2 million (a 36% increase), information technology research would receive $285.8 million (a 3% increase), nanoscale research would receive $221.3 million (an 11% increase), Learning for the 21st Century Workforce would receive $184.7 million (a 27.5% increase), and mathematical sciences would double to $60 million. Now that the budget request is out, it moves on to Congress and the appropriations process, where legislators get a chance to rewrite it at will. A concerted effort by the geoscience community will be required to keep EarthScope in the final budget and ensure that GEO receives real increases. The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled its hearing for NSF on April 11th, and the Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet announced its schedule for hearings on the FY2003 budget.

More information on the NSF budget is available at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/bud/fy2003/start.htm.  More information on the Geosciences Directorate budget is available at http://www.geo.nsf.gov/geo/about/directhome.htm#budget.



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 program's 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.



Agriculture

Department of Agriculture
Key USDA programs of interest to the geosciences include the U.S. Forest Service, which is funded through the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, and activities within the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Total CSREES funding would come to $1 billion, with $563 million of that going toward research related grants and programs. The CSREES budget site provides details for specific programs. Funding for NRCS would total $ 1.3 billion, a small increase from last year's allocation. Several of the watershed programs within NRCS are marked for elimination, including the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations, Watershed Surveys and Planning, the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, and the Wetlands Reserve Program. The Soils Survey program would increase by 3% to total $90 million.

Additional information on the Department of Agriculture's budget request is available at http://www.usda.gov/agency/obpa/Home-Page/obpa.html.


Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, USBudget.com, U.S. Geological Survey, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by Margaret A. Baker and David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted April 29, 2002


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