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FY2004 Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations (01-28-04)

Geoscience-related agencies covered by the Interior and Related Agencies appropriations include the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Energy oil and gas research programs, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and U.S. Forest Service. For more information about the geoscience value of these agencies, click here.

Most Recent Action: President Bush signed the FY 2004 Interior and Related Appropriations bill into law (Public Law 108-108) on November 10th. The House approved the final conference report on the bill by a close 216-205 vote on October 30th. The Senate also approved the measure in an 87-2 vote on November 3rd. The conference report laid out specifics as to how the differing budget numbers in versions previously passed by the House and Senate were reconciled. Details below.

FY04 Interior Appropriations Process

Account

FY03 Enacted
($million)

House Action
($million)

Senate Action
($million)

FY04 Final*
($million)

U.S. Geological Survey (total)

919

896

936

929

950

944

Geological Programs

233

222

231

237

236

234

-- Mineral Resources


51


40


53


57

56
56

-- Advanced National
Seismic System

3.9

2.0

3.9

4.4

4.4

4.4

Mapping Progams

133

120

130

129

130

129

Water Resources Programs

207

200

215

210

217

216

Biological Resources Programs

170

169

173

170

176

175

Facilities

91

93

94

93

94

93

Science Support

85

91

91

91

91

90

DOE Fossil Energy R & D (total)

621

609

609

593

681

677

Natural Gas

47

27

36

42

43

43

Petroleum - Oil Technology

42

15

32

34

35
35

Carbon Sequestration

40

62

41

40

41
41

Bureau of Land Management (total)

820

828

834

847



850

 

844

Energy and Minerals Management

106

106

110

107

112

111

Minerals Management Service (total)

164

164

164

166


165

 

164

Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation

138

139

139

141


140

 

139

National Park Service (total for park system)

1,560

1,630

1,640

1,640



1,630

 

1,619

NPS Resource Stewardship - Geologic Resources Division

3

3

3

3



3

 

3

Inventory and Monitoring

32

41

41

37



38

 

38

Water Quality Monitoring

12

12

12

12



12

 

12

Smithsonian Institution (total)

446

477

490

488



495

 

492

U.S. Forest Service (total)

1,353

1,369

1,400

1,371



1,321

 

1,312

Minerals and Geology Management

54

54

54

54



54

 

54
* All conference report values are subject to a 0.656% across-the-board reduction.

Geoscience Value of Agencies within the Department of the Interior Appropriations bill

Created by an act of Congress in 1879, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has evolved over the years, matching its talent and knowledge to the progress of science and technology. According to their website, the USGS serves the Nation as an independent fact-finding agency that collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The value of the USGS to the Nation rests on its ability to carry out studies on a national scale and to sustain long-term monitoring and assessment of natural resources. Because it has no regulatory or management mandate, the USGS provides impartial science that serves the needs of our changing world. The diversity of scientific expertise enables the USGS to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations that build the base of knowledge about the Earth. In turn, decision makers at all levels of government--and citizens in all walks of life--have the information tools they need to address pressing societal issues.

The priorities of the Department of Energy's (DOE) energy program are to: increase domestic energy production; revolutionize our approach to energy conservation and efficiency; and promote the development of renewable and alternative energy sources. As the website illustrates, fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas -- currently provide more than 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity, and virtually all of our transportation fuels. Moreover, it is likely that the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels to power an expanding economy will increase over at least the next two decades even with aggressive development and deployment of new renewable and nuclear technologies. Because our economic health depends on the continued availability of reliable and affordable fossil fuels, the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy oversees two major fossil fuel efforts: emergency stockpiles of crude oil and heating oil and research and development of future fossil energy technologies.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 262 million acres of land--about one-eighth of the land in the United States--and about 300 million additional acres of subsurface mineral resources. The Bureau is also responsible for wildfire management and suppression on 388 million acres. Practices such as revegetation, protective fencing, and water development are designed to conserve, enhance, and develop public land, soil, and watershed resources. Keeping public lands protected from fire on all Department of the Interior managed lands in Alaska, and suppressing wildfires on the public lands in Alaska and the western States is a high priority for BLM since they are dominated by extensive grasslands, forests, high mountains, arctic tundra, and deserts. The BLM manages a wide variety of resources and uses, including energy and minerals; timber; forage; wild horse and burro populations; fish and wildlife habitat; wilderness areas; archaeological, paleontological, and historical sites; and other natural heritage values. The Bureau also has an active program of soil and watershed management on 175 million acres in the lower 48 States and 86 million acres in Alaska.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is the federal agency that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The agency collects, accounts for and disburses more than $5 billion per year in revenues from federal offshore mineral leases and from onshore mineral leases on federal and Indian lands. There are two major programs within MMS, Offshore Minerals Management and Minerals Revenue Management.

Established in 1916, the National Park Service (NPS) has stewardship responsibilities for the protection and preservation of the national park system. The system, consisting of 388 separate and distinct units, is recognized globally as a leader in park management and resource preservation. The national park system represents much of the finest the Nation has to offer in terms of scenery, historical and archeological relics, and cultural heritage. Through its varied sites, the National Park Service attempts to explain America's history, interpret its culture, preserve examples of its natural ecosystems, and provide recreational and educational opportunities for U.S. citizens and visitors from all over the world, according to the NPS website.

The Smithsonian Institution is unique in the Federal establishment. Established by the Congress in 1846 to carry out the trust included in James Smithson's will, it has been engaged for over 150 years in the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men" in accordance with the donor's instructions. With the expenditure of both private and Federal funds over the years, it has grown into one of the world's great scientific, cultural, and intellectual organizations. It operates magnificent museums, outstanding art galleries, and important research centers. Its collections are among the best in the world, attracting approximately 25,000,000 visitors in 2002 to its museums, galleries, and zoological park, according to the Smithsonian webiste. As custodian of the National Collections, the Smithsonian is responsible for more than 140 million art objects, natural history specimens, and artifacts. These collections are displayed for the enjoyment and education of visitors and are available for research by the staff of the Institution and by hundreds of visiting students, scientists, and historians each year. Other significant study efforts draw their data and results directly from terrestrial, marine, and astrophysical observations at various Smithsonian installations.

Congress established the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture in 1905 to provide quality water and timber for the Nation’s benefit. Their website indicates that over the years, the public expanded the list of what they want from national forests and grasslands. Congress responded by directing the Forest Service to manage national forests for additional multiple uses and benefits and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation. Multiple use means managing resources under the best combination of uses to benefit the American people while ensuring the productivity of the land and protecting the quality of the environment. National forests encompass 191 million acres (77.3 million hectares) of land, which is an area equivalent to the size of Texas. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the purpose of the Forest Service—"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

President's Request for FY 2004

Geoscience-related agencies covered by the Interior and Related Agencies appropriations bill took a beating in the president's fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget request. Cuts were proposed for every major geoscience account within the USGS and all programs within DOE's Fossil Energy Research and Development with the lone exception of Carbon Sequestration, which garnered an impressive increase over last year's funding. Other agencies, such as the Minerals Management Service, were either level funded or given modest increases. For more detailed analysis of the budget request, see AGI's budget update.

House Action

On June 25th, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Interior and Related Agencies bill (H.R. 2691). House Report 108-195 accompanied the bill and contains specific instructions for agencies to follow. Of significant interest to the geoscience community is the report language expressing concern that recent changes to Florida's 1994 Everglades Forever Act threaten the future of Everglades restoration. The report includes stipulations that Federal funding for Everglades restoration be linked to specific progress on improving water quality. For additional details, see AGI's update on Everglades policy.

U.S. Geological Survey

A summary and analysis of the funding levels for USGS approved by the House were sent out as an AGI Special Update. The House bill recommends restoring approximately $57 million in cuts to USGS programs. The House report expresses frustration with the administration's repeated attempts to cut the USGS budget:

For the third year in a row the [House Appropriations] Committee has restored a number of high-priority research programs that were proposed for reduction or elimination. The Department [of the Interior] has placed a high-priority on both cooperative programs and programs that are outsourced to the private sector. For the most part, the programs that are being proposed for reduction or elimination in fiscal year 2004 are the very programs that meet these criteria. More than any other Bureau in the Department, the Survey has been a leader in the development of cooperative programs and outsourcing its activities. The Committee believes that Bureaus that are successful in implementing these policies should be rewarded and not penalized.

USGS Geologic Programs programs would receive $231.4 million in the House bill, slightly below FY 2003 levels but 4.5% above the president's request. Specific USGS programs affected include:

Advanced National Seismic System -- The House bill restores a $1.9 million proposed cut to the Advanced National Seismic System.

Geologic Mapping -- The House bill restores all but $0.5 million of the administration's proposed cut to the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program and also provides $0.5 million for the Great Lakes geologic mapping project.

Mineral Resources -- One of the largest cuts proposed for USGS by the administration was to the Mineral Resources program. The House bill would fully restore funding for this program and add $1.3 million for aggregate and industrial minerals studies. The House report explains why:

The Committee strongly disagrees with the proposed reduction in the Survey's mineral resources program. Minerals and mineral products are important to the U.S. economy with processed minerals accounting for over $370 billion to the economy in 2002. Mineral commodities are essential to both national security and infrastructure development. Mineral resources research and assessments are a core responsibility of the survey. Since the 1996 review by the National Academy, the Survey's mineral program has refocused its efforts to address better the Nation's need for more and better information regarding the regional, national, and global availability of mineral resources. For these reasons the Committee has restored the proposed cuts to this high-priority program.

Other increases above the president's request in the House bill would go to global dust event impact studies and the national coastal program, but the bill rejects the administration's request for $4 million directed at Everglades research.

USGS Water Resources Programs -- The House bill would fund the Survey's water programs at $215.2 million, up nearly 4% above FY 2003 and up 7.5% above the president's request. Both House and Senate bills restore roughly $6 million in funding for the Water Resources Research Institutes, which were zeroed out in the president's budget, and restore cuts to the Toxic Substances Hydrology program. And both the House and Senate reports call for quite a number of site-specific studies.

USGS Mapping Programs -- The Survey's mapping programs would receive $130.2 million from the House. This figure is 2% below FY 2003 levels and 8% above the president's request.

National Map -- The House report includes extensive language supporting the Survey's National Map project, laying out its justification and emphasizing the importance of partnerships. The House report notes that funding is restored for "data collection activities through partnerships and contracts with the private sector,…cooperative topographic mapping to expand and enhance initial National Map implementation through partnerships," and geographic analysis and monitoring related research, among others.

EROS Data Center -- The House report also emphasizes the importance of the USGS EROS Data Center and supports USGS efforts to "convert its archived remote sensing data from outdated storage media to disk-based storage [in order to] … provide access to users more efficiently and at lower cost." Noting the data center's designation as critical infrastructure for homeland security, the report also supports "implementation of a continuity of operations capability… utilizing `remote mirroring' technology, which will eliminate a single point of failure for data storage infrastructure and ensure full recovery with zero data loss from any potential outage."

USGS Biology, Facilities, and Science Support Accounts -- The Survey's biological programs would receive $173.3 million in the House bill. The president requested $168.8 million, and these programs received $169.8 in FY 2003. The Survey's Facilities account is slated for $93.9 million in the House bill. It received $90.8 million in FY 2003, and the president requested $92.9 million. The Science Support account is slated for $91.5 million in the House bill, the same as requested.

DOE Fossil Energy R&D

Overall, the House bill would provide $609.3 million for Fossil Energy research and development, which is 2% below FY 2003 but 18% over the president's request. The lion's share of Fossil Energy funding goes to coal programs, particularly those focused on clean coal technology. The House report notes the Appropriations Committee's prior support for the administration's National Energy Policy but chastises the administration for requesting "a few major initiatives and program expansions at the expense of critical ongoing research." The report goes on to note that the committee has restored many of the proposed cuts "for research to improve fossil energy technologies. It would be fiscally irresponsible to discontinue research in which we have made major investments without bringing that research to a logical conclusion."

The largest cuts to geoscience-related programs in the president's budget request were directed at DOE's Natural Gas Technologies and Oil Technology programs. The House report takes the administration to task for requesting deep cuts to these programs: "Oil and natural gas research is critical to improving current technology and ensuring the best use of our domestic oil and gas reserves. These research areas need more serious consideration in future budgets." The Senate report expresses "regrets that the current budget scenario prevented the restoration of many accounts vital to our Nation's energy security."

Natural Gas Technologies Programs -- The House bill includes $36.5 million for natural gas research, down 22% from FY 2003 but 35% higher than the president's request. Both the House and Senate bills deny the administration's request to transfer natural gas funding to hydrogen research. The House report "rejects the premise that domestic natural gas production and infrastructure research and development should be cut at a time when natural gas demand is increasing and supplies are already insufficient to meet demand. Similarly, it is an unwise policy decision to balance a new initiative to turn natural gas into hydrogen (and potentially adding more stress to natural gas markets) by cutting the programs necessary to stabilize natural gas supplies."

Carbon Sequestration -- Within the coal accounts, carbon sequestration research would receive $40.8 million, nearly the same as FY 2003 but 52% below the president's request. Both the House and Senate reports argued that the president's proposed National Climate Change Technology Initiative, which was to receive the bulk of the increase, needs to be more clearly defined. The House report suggested that it should be funded within the Energy and Water appropriations bill.

Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center -- The House bill restores funding for this center, located on the national petroleum reserve at the infamous Teapot Dome site in Wyoming. The president's request proposed to eliminate the center.

National Academies Study -- The House report directs that $0.5 million go to the National Academy of Sciences to provide an annual review of Fossil Energy R&D programs "to measure the relative benefits expected to be achieved and to inform decision making on what programs should be continued, expanded, scaled back, or eliminated." In 2001, the Academy produced a report entitled "Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000."

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The House bill would provide $109.7 million for BLM's Energy and Minerals program, slightly above FY 2003 levels and the president's request. According to the House report, the additional funds are intended "to address the significant coalbed methane permit backlog."

Minerals Management Service (MMS)

The House bill provides MMS with $264.4 million, virtually unchanged from either FY 2003 or the president's request.

National Park Service (NPS)

In the House bill, the National Park Service is slated to receive $1.64 billion, up $73 million from what the agency received in FY 2003 and essentially the same as the president's request for FY 2004. The Geologic Resources Division is funded within the NPS Resource Stewardship account, which is slated for $340.4 million in the House bill. This figure is slightly above FY 2003 and the request. The House report calls for an increase of $7.9 million for inventory and monitoring activities, and identifies a $0.6 million increase for water quality monitoring.

Smithsonian Institution

The House bill would fund the Smithsonian at $489.7 million, a 10% increase over the FY 2003 allocation and 3% above the president's request.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

In the House bill, the USFS Minerals and Geology Management program would receive $54.1 million, up 3% from FY 2003 and the same as requested.

Senate Action

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its Interior and Related Agencies Bill (S. 1391) on July 10th. Senate Report 108-89 accompanies the bill's funding levels with instructions for the agencies involved.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The Senate bill would provide $236.9 million for USGS Geologic Programs, up 1.5% over FY 2003 and up 7% over the request. Specific USGS programs affected include:

Advanced National Seismic System -- The Senate bill restores a $1.9 million proposed cut to the Advanced National Seismic System, and provides an additional $0.5 million "to expand the earthquake program's capabilities."

Geologic Mapping -- The Senate bill restores the cut to the geologic mapping program and adds an additional $0.5 million, but does not fund the Great Lakes geologic mapping project.

Mineral Resources -- The Senate bill would restore the full $11.2 million cut for this program and provide for a number of earmarked increases over FY 2003. These include volcano monitoring in Hawaii and Alaska, a mineral inventory in Nevada, a Kansas well log inventory, a coalbed methane study in Montana, a North Carolina erosion study, completion of the Alaska Minerals at Risk program, South Carolina/Georgia Coastal erosion, coastal monitoring studies and land subsidence studies in Louisiana, and INSAR data acquisition. Cuts are directed at the global dust program, a LIDAR consortium and an unspecified "Tampa Bay pilot project."

USGS Water Resources Programs -- The Senate bill is not quite as generous, providing $209.5 million, still slightly above FY 2003 and nearly 5% above the request. Both Senate and House bills restore roughly $6 million in funding for the Water Resources Research Institutes, which were zeroed out in the president's budget, and restore cuts to the Toxic Substances Hydrology program. And both the House and Senate reports call for quite a number of site-specific studies.

USGS Mapping Programs -- The Survey's mapping programs would receive $128.9 million from the Senate. This level is 3% below FY 2003 funds and 7% above the president's request.

EROS Data Center -- The Senate report notes the restoration of funding for data collection and geographic analysis as well as taking exception to the administration's proposed $6.6 million cut associated with government-wide information technology savings, noting that this is an amount much greater than proposed for agencies two to four times the Survey's size. The Senate report also notes a $3 million cut for the AmericaView program and a $1.4 million cut associated with closure of the Center for Integration and Natural Disaster Information (CINDI) program and transfer of its functions elsewhere.

USGS Biology, Facilities, and Science Support Accounts -- The Survey's biological programs would receive $169.6 million in the Senate bill. The president requested $168.8 million, and these programs received $169.8 in FY 2003. The Survey's Facilities account is slated for $92.6 million in the Senate bill. It received $90.8 million in FY 2003, and the president requested $92.9 million. The Science Support account is slated for $91.4 million in the Senate bill, up $6.2 million above FY 2003.

DOE Fossil Energy R&D

Overall, the Senate bill would provide $593.5 million, down 5% from FY 2003 but up 15% from the president's request. Concerning the large cuts to DOE's Natural Gas Technologies and Oil Technology programs, the Senate report expresses "regrets that the current budget scenario prevented the restoration of many accounts vital to our Nation's energy security."

Natural Gas Technologies Programs -- The Senate bill would provide $41.9 million for natural gas programs, down 11% from FY 2003 but up 58% over the request. Like the House, the Senate refused the administration's request to transfer natural gas funding to hydrogen research.

FutureGen -- In February of this year, the President annouced that the United States would sponsor a $1 billion 10-year research project to build the world's first coal-fueled plant to produce electricity and hydrogen with zero emissions. The FutureGen plan will establish the technical and economic feasibility of producing electricity and hydrogen from coal while capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide generated in the process. The Bush administration did not request any funds for this project in their FY04 budget proposal; however, the Senate approved some report language on the floor that would free up $9 million of the $325 million left over from clean coal projects that went belly-up. The $9 million could be used for activities like site assessments and baseline monitoring, starting the NEPA process, doing a preliminary facility design and do non-site-specific permitting activities.

Carbon Sequestration -- The Senate bill allocates $39.8 million for carbon sequestration research. Both the House and Senate reports argued that the president's proposed National Climate Change Technology Initiative, which was to receive the bulk of the increase, needs to be more clearly defined. The Senate bill states: "The Committee understands the need for additional Sequestration R&D…but does not believe it is a wise policy decision to eliminate basic research and development in well-established and successful coal, oil and gas programs in order to shift funds to unexplained initiatives."

Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center -- The Senate bill restores funding for this center, located on the national petroleum reserve at the infamous Teapot Dome site in Wyoming. The president's request proposed to eliminate the center.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The Senate report identifies increases for processing applications for permits to drill and increased inspection and monitoring activities along with decreases for EPCA activities and information technology.

Minerals Management Service (MMS)

Senate action would leave MMS funding virtually unchanged from either FY 2003 or the president's request. The Senate bill provides an additional $1.8 million for the Outer Continental Shelf resource evaluation program "to support exploration and
sustainable development of seabed minerals," earmarking the funds for two centers in Mississippi and Alaska.

National Park Service (NPS)

In the Senate bill, the National Park Service is slated to receive $1.64 billion, up $73 million from what the agency received in FY 2003 and essentially the same as the president's request for FY 2004. The Geologic Resources Division is funded within the NPS Resource Stewardship account, which is slated for $342.5 million in the Senate bill, slightly above FY 2003 and the request. The Senate report provides a $5 million boost for inventory and monitoring activities and a $0.6 million increase for water quality monitoring.

Smithsonian Institution

The Senate would provide $488.0 million for the Smithsonian, which amounts to a slightly smaller increase over FY 2003 allocation than the House bill recommends. The Senate report notes that $1.1 million is provided "to expand the Latino grants program and reinstate the science fellowships program."

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

In the Senate bill, the USFS Minerals and Geology Management program would receive $54.1 million, up 3% from FY 2003 and the same as requested. The Senate bill restores funding for the trust overseeing the Valles Caldera site in New Mexico, which the administration proposed to cut by two-thirds. The site, an immense collapsed volcano in northern New Mexico, was purchased by the federal government several years ago to preserve and study its unique geological and ecological characteristics.

Conference Action

On a close 216-205 count, the House approved the conference report for the FY '04 Interior Department and Related Agencies spending bill on October 30th. The Senate also approved the measure in an 87-2 vote on November 3rd. The conference report laid out specifics as to how the differing budget numbers outlined by the House and Senate were reconciled.

Much of the opposition in the House vote came from a controversial legislative provision, or "rider", that was added to the bill in conference. Nicely summed up by E & E Daily, the rider would delay for a year deadlines set by a federal judge in the Cobell v. Norton case regarding funds held in trust for American Indians.

Overall, the bill would provide $1.63 billion for the National Park Service, nearly $65 million over FY '03. BLM would receive $850 million, an increase of $30 million from FY '03. The Fish and Wildlife Service would receive $1.3 billion, $73 million over FY '03, including a $24 million increase for the National Wildlife Refuge system. The USGS would be allocated $950 million, $31 million more than last year. And Forest Service operations would get $1.4 billion, a $29 million increase from FY '03.

The conferees were also spurred on by the disasterous wildwire in Southern California. They included $2.9 billion for firefighting and fire prevention. That figure includes $2.5 billion for wildland firefighting and the National Fire Plan, up $280 million from FY '04, as well as $400 million in emergency firefighting funds for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, both of which borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from other agency accounts to pay the extra costs in FY '03.

U.S. Geological Survey

In deciding next year's funding levels for the USGS, conferees first had to wade through all of the congressionally-directed projects (earmarks). Instead of picking winners and losers among members' projects, the conferees funded the base programs and included the special projects as well. That move swelled the USGS budget to $950 million, $21 million more than the Senate provided, $14 million more than the House provided and $54 million more than the administration requested. Geological programs were funded at $236 million ($1 million less than the Senate but $5 million more than the House and $14 million more than the budget request). The Advanced National Seismic System will receive $4.4 million next year ($500,000 over last year and $2.4 million more than the president's request); however, within that increase $250,000 will fund seismic monitoring and hazard assessment in the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area. Mapping programs are slated to receive $130 million. Water Resources Program received a bump up to $217 million in conference ($10 million more than last year, $17 million more than the request, $2 million above the House mark and $7 million above the Senate mark). Biological programs also received a "plus-up" of $6 million over the Senate allocation to bring it up to $176 million.

The conferees also commented on Landsat 7, the earth observing satellite, saying, "The managers are aware of the recent malfunction of scanning equipment onboard the Landsat 7 earth observing satellite and the disappointing failure to correct the problem. This failure has resulted in degraded data collected by the satellite. The managers recognize the significance of Landsat data to many activities, including agricultural monitoring and research, environmental monitoring, and regional planning, to name a few. The managers understand that, although the data has relatively small gaps, the remainder of each image has data of original quality and hence will remain useful for many of the activities they currently support. The managers believe that the Survey should take a proactive approach where Federal agencies are concerned, particularly the Departments of Agriculture and Defense, to try to secure data purchase agreements now in order to have a stable funding source. In addition, the managers expect the Survey to investigate and document the current level of interest from the user community for continued data purchases. The Survey should conduct data sales in the near term and, based on this, estimate potential annual revenues that may be derived from this source. This analysis will provide the basis for subsequent recommendations regarding the types and amounts of funding necessary to continue operation of Landsat 7. The managers also expect the Survey, Federal agencies, and other users needing medium resolution data to work together to determine how the degraded Landsat data can best meet their needs prior to seeking data from alternative sources. To the degree that Landsat data does meet the needs of Federal agencies, the managers encourage them to use the Survey as the provider of this data."

The conferees were especially supportive of the Survey's efforts to manage the growing volume of collected, archived and distributed data at the EROS Data Center. Report language conveyed their support for the conversion of remote sensing data to a modern disk based storage system as well as a continuity of government operation using "remote mirroring technology".

DOE Fossil Energy R&D

In conference, the DOE Fossil Energy Research and Development account received a big plus-up of $72 million above the House mark and $88 million above the Senate allocation. The increase isn't the result of "new money" distributed by benevolent appropriators. Instead, this money was transferred from the clean coal technology funding account, increasing Fossil Energy R &D $60 million over last year and $72 million above the President's request.

The conference agreement includes the Senate-passed $9 million to initiate the FutureGen program, contingent on the receipt of a complete program plan on or before December 31, 2003. Report language stipulates that any future funding for the FutureGen program should be requested as a direct appropriation in the fossil energy research and development program and should not be derived by transfer from any other account. Further, the conferees agreed that the FutureGen program should not be funded at the expense of ongoing fossil energy research.

Natural gas technologies account received $43 million in conference. Within that funding, exploration and production funds were reduced by $818,000. Gas hydrates and infrastructure both received modest increases ($62,000 and $59,000, respectively). Emerging processing technology applications were completely eliminated and effective environmental protection received $123,000 less than last year.

The oil technology account holds $35.5 million for next year, a $6.5 million reduction in funding but $20 million more than the administration requested. Exploration and production supporting research were funded at almost $19 million, $17 million above the request but still $4.6 million less than last year. Effective environmental management managed to hold on to last year's funding level of nearly $10 million, which is $2 million more than the president requested.

Carbon sequestration received $41 million in the final bill, an increase of $861,000 over last year but $21.2 million less than the president's budget request.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The BLM was funded at $850 million in the final bill. Changes to the House and Senate's previous proposals included a $1.5 million increase to the Energy and Minerals Management account for processing applications to drill for coalbed methane and conventional fuels on the public lands.

Minerals Management Service (MMS)

The final bill provides MMS with $265 million, virtually unchanged from either FY 2003 or the president's request.

National Park Service (NPS)

In the final bill, the National Park Service is slated to receive $1.63 billion, up $70 million from what the agency received in FY03 and the same as the president's request for FY04. The Geologic Resources Division will receive $3 million of the NPS Resource Stewardship account, which is slated for $340 million. This figure is slightly above FY03 and the request. Inventory and monitoring activities will receive $38 million next year, slightly below the administration request but $6 million more than in FY03. Water Quality Monitoring funding levels will stand pat at $12 million.

Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian will receive $495 million in FY04, a $49 million increase over last year. Per the conference report, some of these additional funds, $15 million, have been set aside for the National Zoo to assist with their rehabilitation and improvement efforts.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

In the final bill, the USFS Minerals and Geology Management program would receive $54 million, up 3% from FY 2003 and the same as requested.

Sources: Department of the Interior, E&ENews Publications, United States Geological Survey website, Department of Energy website, Bureau of Land Management website, Minerals and Management Service website, National Park Service website, Smithsonian Institution webiste, Forest Service website, House Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Library of Congress, 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 Brett Bealieu, AGI/AIPG 2003 Summer Intern; Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program staff

Last Update November 11, 2003


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