National Science Foundation
This funding increase is less than the amount authorized last year by legislation, signed by President Bush in December 2002, which would put the agency on a budget-doubling track similar to that achieved by the National Institutes of Health over the past five years. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Ranking Minority Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) both support the NSF and are deeply disappointed by the 3% increase. At a hearing of the subcommittee in late February, Senator Mikulski stated: "Senator Bond and I are committed to doubling the NSF's budget. It's bipartisan and bicameral. But we cannot do it alone."
In FY 2005 GEO will emphasize research on the key physical, chemical and geologic cycles with in the Earth system. Both the Earthscope and Ocean Drilling Programs operations budgets were doubled in the FY 2005 budget request. The Climate Change Research Initiative funding would stay flat with the 2004 funds.
Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction Account
The budget documents also clearly state the priorities for MREFC funding in FY 2005. EarthScope is one of seven projects highlighted. Others include continued support of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), and continued construction of the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMSIR). For FY 2005, the $47.4 million requested for EarthScope in the MREFC account would support three of its components: the United States Seismic Array (US Array), the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), and the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO).
The NSF budget documents provide a wealth of information regarding the research and education funded by the foundation, including multi-year trends in funding and descriptions of successful past research that is benefiting the nation. The budget documents are available on the web at http://www.nsf.gov/home/budget/.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Programs that feel the effect of the reallocation are the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) and Earth science applications. ESE would be cut by 7% to $1.41 billion and Earth science applications would decrease 15% to $76.9 million. Despite the cuts, the ESE budget includes funding to complete the current generation of satellite systems, the June 2004 launch of the Aura satellite that will look at the physics and chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere, and Cloud-Sat satellites to study climate and weather.
NASA budget documents are available at http://www.nasa.gov/about/budget/index.html.
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA's budget documents are available at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/budget/budget.htm.
On September 9th, the House Appropriations Committee passed H.R. 5041, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 federal budget recommendation for the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies. The total House budget recommendation for VA/HUD is $128 billion, $66 billion of which will go to the Veteran's Administration. Appropriations to geoscience-related functions of the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the EPA are outlined below.
National Science Foundation
The Research and Related Activities account was allocated $4.2 billion, $73.7 million below FY04 and $194.3 million below the budget request. Office of Polar Programs was given $350 million, as requested by the President. In their report the Committee noted that, "expenses for the Antarctic operation programs have substantially increased due to rising fuel costs, increased Coast Guard support costs, the weather, and extraordinary ice conditions in the bay. The Committee expects NSF to provide the necessary resources for operations, research support and logistics, and science and research grant support to fully fund the Antarctic operations."
The Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account is slated to receive $208 million, an increase of $53 million from FY04 but $5 million short of the President's request. Within this account, the Committee recommends $47.3 million for Earthscope and $30 million for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.
NSF's Education and Human Resources activities are designed to encourage the entrance of talented students into science and technology careers, to improve undergraduate and K-12 science and engineering education, and to provide opportunities for underrepresented segments of the scientific and engineering communities. The Committee proposes $843 million for this account, $90.5 million short of the FY04 level and $2.9 million less than the budget request. The Math and Science Partnerships would receive $82.5 million, $2.5 million more than the request and $56.7 million less than the 2004 level.
The Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration account funds research and development in space science, earth science, biological and physical research, and aeronautics and education programs. The Committee proposes $7.6 billion for this account, $139 million less than the budget request and $209 million less than the FY2004 level. Within this account, the Earth Science Enterprise and the Office of Space Science are slated to receive $1.476 billion and $4.037 billion respectively. Full funding is provided for several important NASA missions, such as the Mars exploration programs, because, "the Committee believes that the planetary exploration and space science programs at NASA are essential to the mission and success of the federal space programs." The Committee also urged NASA to take the advice of the National Academy of Sciences and look into ways to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope
The Committee explained the cuts it did make by saying that, although they are supportive of the exploration aspect of NASA's vision and President Bush's proposal, they do not believe it should take priority over NASA's science and aeronautics programs. The elimination of funding for many new initiatives accounts for most of the cuts to the agency. It also cut funding requested for the International Space Station due to delays in the shuttle operations.
The Environmental Protection Agency
The Committee recommends an appropriation of $729 million for the Science and Technology account, a decrease of $52.6 million below last years level but an increase of $39.8 million above the budget request. This account funds "all EPA research carried out through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements with other Federals agencies, states, universities, and private business, as well as in house research."
The Hazardous Substances Superfund account, which funds clean up of "emergency hazardous materials, spills, and dangerous, uncontrolled, and/or abandoned hazardous waste sites," would receive $1.3 billion under the House's plan. This is equal to the FY04 appropriation and $124 million below the budget request.
The Committee recommends $2.2 billion for the Environmental Programs and Management account, which covers the operating and administrative expenses for a broad range of abatement, prevention, and compliance functions. The allocation is $38.6 million less then last year's level and $75.5 million less than requested.
The State and Tribal Assistance Grants account, which provides funds for programs operated by state, local, tribal, and other government partners, is slated to receive $3.36 billion, a decrease of $18 million below the 2004 fiscal year spending and $127 million above the budget request. Within this account, the Committee recommends $850 million for Clean Water State Revolving Funds, $845 million for Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and $95 million for Brownfields assessment and revitalization grants. Money from the State Revolving funds infrastructure projects is designed to improve water quality for residents in rural areas. According to the EPA's website, "A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. EPA's Brownfields Program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields."
The Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, a response program
for, "clean-up of releases from leaking underground storage tanks,"
is recommended to receive $74 million. This is 1.55 million below
2004 funding but $1.45 more than the budget request.
On September 21, 2004, the Senate Committee on Appropriations passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Veteran's Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Bill, S.2825. The following is a summary of the appropriations to geoscience related programs in the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
According to the report, "the Research and Related Activities Account addresses the Foundation's three strategic goals: people--developing a diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers, and well-prepared citizens; ideas--enabling discovery across the frontiers of science and engineering, connected to learning, innovation, and service to society; and tools--providing broadly accessible, state-of-the-art science and engineering facilities and shared research and education tools." This account would receive $4.3 billion, 3.6% more than the current level but 1.1% less than the budget request. The Geosciences Directorate would be funded at $728.5 million. This is the same as the president's request; it reflects a 1.9% increase over the current level. The Office of Polar Programs would suffer a 19% cut from the budget request and an 18% cut from current funding, falling to a $281.6 million budget for FY05. There were no recommendations specified for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation or the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.
The Committee recommended $929 million for the Education and Human Resources Account, roughly equal to current funding but also a 20% increase over the request. According to the report, "the education and human resources appropriation supports a comprehensive set of programs across all levels of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM]. The Committee is on record expressing disappointment by the administration's lack of support in its budget request for assisting smaller research institutions and minorities."
The Committee rejected the administration's request to transfer the Math and Science Partnership [MSP] program to the Department of Education. According to the report, "the MSP program is an important asset in providing improved math and science education by partnering local school districts with faculty of colleges and universities." Therefore, the MSP program is recommended to receive $110 million, 38% more than requested but 21% less than current funding.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration account is slated to receive $7.7 billion in FY05, on par with the budget request and current funding levels. The Earth Science Enterprise would receive $164 million, a 10% increase over the request and a 1.8% increase over the current enacted level. According to the report, "The activities of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise seek to understand the total Earth system and the effects of humans on the global environment. This pioneering program of studying global climate change is developing many of the capabilities that will be needed for long-term environment and climate monitoring and prediction. Governments around the world need information based on the strongest possible scientific understanding. The unique vantage-point of space provides information about the Earth's land, atmosphere, ice, oceans, and biota as a global system, which is available in no other way. In concert with the global research community, the Earth Science Enterprise is developing the understanding needed to support the complex environmental policy decisions that must be addressed. The Committee believes that Earth science has been a critical part of a balanced space program long advocated by this Committee. The Committee remains fully committed to a robust Earth science program at NASA notwithstanding the recent headquarters reorganization plan. The Committee expects NASA to remain fully committed to Earth science, with future missions identified with 5 year funding profiles that reflect a serious commitment to Earth science as a vital part of the Nation's space program."
The Office of Space Science is slated to receive the budget request
of $4 billion, 8.3% more than current funding. The report states,
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The Environmental Programs and Managementaccount, "includes the development of environmental standards; monitoring and surveillance of pollution conditions; direct Federal pollution control planning; technical assistance to pollution control agencies and organizations; preparation of environmental impact statements; enforcement and compliance assurance; and assistance to Federal agencies in complying with environmental standards and insuring that their activities have minimal environmental impact." The Committee recommended $2.3 billion for this account. This is the same as the president's budget request and a 1.3% increase over the current enacted level.
The Hazardous Substances Superfund account is slated to receive the requested $1.4 billion, 9.7% more than the current level. Through this fund, the EPA is mandated to, "(1) provide emergency response to hazardous waste spills; (2) take emergency action at hazardous waste sites that pose an imminent hazard to public health or environmentally sensitive ecosystems; (3) engage in long-term planning, remedial design, and construction to clean up hazardous waste sites where no financially viable responsible party can be found; (4) take enforcement actions to require responsible private and Federal parties to clean up hazardous waste sites; and (5) take enforcement actions to recover costs where the fund has been used for cleanup."
The Committee recommends $70 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, 7.3% less than the current level and 3.4% less than the president's request. According to the report, "the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorizations Act of 1986 [SARA] established the leaking underground storage tank [LUST] trust fund to conduct corrective actions for releases from leaking underground storage tanks containing petroleum and other hazardous substances."
State and Tribal Assistance Grants are slated to receive $3.9 billion,
roughly equal to the current funding but 20% more than the budget
request. Money from this account funds "grants to support the
State revolving fund programs; State, tribal, regional, and local
environmental programs; and special projects to address critical water
and waste water treatment needs." Within this account, the Clean
Water State Revolving Funds would continue the FY04 level of $1.4
billion. That's $50 million, or 3.8%, more than the budget request.
The Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund would also receive the
FY04 level $850 million as requested by the budget. The Brownfieldsaccount
would receive $140 million, 16% above the budget request at the current
Once again, Congress failed to pass all thirteen appropriations bills by the September 30th deadline and opted to pass two continuing resolutions, funding all federal agencies at FY04 levels until December 3. Congress came back into lame duck session on November 16th with the omnibus appropriations legislation first on the agenda. When all the dust settled, Congress agreed on the massive 3000 page $388 billion spending bill H.R. 4818 for FY05. The bill, which was crafted under the mantra of fiscal restraint, employed a 0.8% across-the-board cut to reign in spending. This is reflected in the FY05 Enacted column in the table above. Although most non-defense and non-homeland security agencies were flat funded or had their budgets cut, a few agencies, such as NASA, did get a boost.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The Integrated Ocean Drilling Project, which received no funding last year, was funded this year at $15 million but this is far less than the $40 million budget request. Education and Human Resources took a 10% cut to $841 million, but that is still $70 million more than what was requested. The NSF Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) program was funded at $79.4 million, down from $139 million last year. Most, but not all of this NSF MSP funding was transferred to the Department of Education Math and Science Partnership Program. This effectively stifles the competitive, peer-reviewed NSF program in favor of the DOEd's formula based grant programs to states.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The conferees have included substantial funding for the space exploration initiative, but to date there has been no substantive Congressional action endorsing the initiative. The conferees note that the initiative is a very long-term endeavor and will require tens of billions of dollars over the next two decades. As such, the initiative deserves and requires the deliberative benefit of the Congress. To this end, the conferees call upon the appropriate Committees of jurisdiction of the House and Senate for action to specifically endorse the initiative and provide authorization and guidance. NASA is directed to forward a comprehensive package of authorization legislation for consideration by the 109th Congress."
The Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration Account will receive $7.7 billion, a 2.6% cut from the current enacted level. According to the report, "Federal investments in aeronautics research and development have delivered countless economic and societal benefits to the nation over the years. Challenges in dealing with the projected growth in air traffic as well as the need to reduce significantly the adverse environmental impacts of future aircraft will require that NASA remain deeply engaged in aeronautics research and development."
The Earth Science Enterprise will benefit from a slight increase to $163 million. The Office of Space Science received a 6.8% increase, from $3.77 billion in FY04 to $4.05 billion for FY05.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The State and Tribal Assistance Grants were cut 7.8% to $3.58 billion.
The Clean Water State Revolving Funds took a big hit with a 19% cut,
from $1.35 billion in FY04 to $1.1 billion. The Safe Drinking Water
account stayed roughly the same at $843 million. However, Brownfields
revitalization suffered a 26% cut, from $121 million to $89 million.
Sources: Eos; NASA website; Environmental Protection Agency website; American Institute of Physicists; National Science Foundation website; White House Office of Management and Budget.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.
Contributed by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program; Gayle Levy, AGI/AAPG 2004 Spring Semester Intern; and Ashlee Dere, AGI/AIPG 2004 Summer Intern, David Millar, AGI/AAPG 2004 Fall Semester Intern.
Last Update November 29, 2004