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SPECIAL UPDATE: President's FY 2005 Budget Request
NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, etc.

(Posted 3-15-04)


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

IN A NUTSHELL:

NASA:

NASA has requested $16.2 billion for FY 2005, a slight increase (5.2%) over the agency's congressional appropriation in FY 2004. The increase is largely for reorienting the agency toward space exploration and manned missions to the Moon and Mars. In mid-January President Bush announced a new mandate for NASA; a return to the moon with robotic missions no later than 2008. To accomplish this goal, $11 billion would be reallocated from other NASA programs. The plan also calls for completing work on the International Space Station by 2010 and refocusing onboard research on the effects of space flight on astronaut health. The shift in NASA's mission would add 1% in FY 2005 to the space science budget, which would increase to $4.1 billion.

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.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) :


The proposed funding for NOAA in FY05 is $3.3 billion, an 8.2% decrease from last year's appropriation. Within NOAA, the majority of the research is managed by the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), which is slated to receive a 12% decrease, leaving the program with a total of $350 million. Under the President's FY05 budget request, the National Ocean Service (NOS) would receive $394.3 million (down 22%). The National Weather Service is slated for a 3% increase, bringing the total to $749 million.

NOAA's budget slashes funding for the "wet side", which includes the NOS and OAR. Programs in NOS that will receive less funding than last year include: Navigation Services (down $15 million), Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment (down $80 million) and Ocean & Coastal Management (down $31 million). In OAR, the Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Research program was cut by $50 million. The Weather and Air Quality Research program was cut by $20 million. However, the Climate Research Program requested $13 million more than last year.

NOAA's budget documents are available at http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/budget2005/.

Department of Education (ED):


The Department of Education (ED) requested a total of $57.3.4 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of nearly 3% from last year's funding level. Similar to the last couple of years, the ED program for math and science education for elementary and secondary education is funded through the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program -- there is an identically named program at the National Science Foundation that complements the ED program. The funding request for MSP is $269.1 million, an 80% increase over last year's allocation. However, this funding is primarily for mathematics, not science. In addition, this large increase is due to a decrease in the NSF part of the MSP program. The Administration is phasing the MSP program out of NSF and trying to move it entirely to ED.

Additional information on the ED budget is available at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/Budget04/04summary/index.html.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):


In its FY 2004 request, EPA has sought a total of $7.76 billion, down 2% from the agency's FY 2004 appropriation. Extramural research grants and graduate fellowships administered by the EPA would be severely cut under the FY 2005 budget request. The Science to Achieve Results (STAR) graduate fellowship program would be cut by 33.5 % relative to the FY 2004 enacted level. Approximately 93 fewer of the larger STAR research grants would be awarded. The cuts to the STAR program are somewhat surprising because the National Academy of Science called the program "excellent" in a recent report. Research programs that would be affected by the proposed cuts in EPA STAR funding include: ecosystems protection ($22.2 million decrease), pollution prevention ($5 million decrease), endocrine disruptors ($4.9 million decrease), mercury research ($2 million decrease) and hazardous substance research centers ($2.3 million decrease). Other research programs that would receive less funding next year include an $8.3 million cut for Homeland Security Building Decontamination Research and a $1 million cut for Environmental Technology Verification. Lastly, all funding for the EPA Office of Environmental Education would be eliminated in the proposed budget. The office received approximately $10 million in FY 2004.

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

Department of Agriculture (USDA):


The Department of Agriculture supports several programs in soil science, watershed management, and water resources. Most of these programs are funded through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which requested a total of $2.76 billion. Within this amount, $40 million would go towards watershed and flood prevention operations, $5 million would go towards watershed surveys and planning activities, $20 million would go towards ground and surface water conservation program, and $295 million would go towards the Wetlands Reserve Program. Of all programs mentioned, only the Wetlands Reserve Program would see an increase in funding. The Emergency Watershed Protection account would not be funded at all under the proposed FY 2005 budget.

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

U.S. Forest Service (USFS):


Total funding for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) would decrease by 6.5% from last year's funding level, for a total of $5.2 billion. The FY 2005 budget proposes a $63.8 million increase in funds for the National Fire Plan, which includes program increases for wildfire suppression and hazardous fuel reduction. The total request for the National Fire Plan from both Forest Service and the Department of Interior is $2.5 billion.

Funding for wildland fire management would decrease by 12% from last year's allocation, to total $1.4 billion. Forest and Rangeland research requested an increase of $14.3 million for science and technology. The Minerals and Geology Management program requested $60 million, a 10% increase from last year's funding level.

Addition information on the USFS budget request is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/budget_2005/.

Smithsonian Institution:

The FY 2005 request for the Smithsonian is $628 million, including a new Facilities Capital account. This funding level marks a 27% increase from the FY 2004 appropriation. Approximately $21 million of the $32 million increase would be used primarily for renovation and revitalization of facilities. The National Zoological Park would get $19.5 million and the National Museum of Natural History would get $7 million for revitalization projects.

Last year a specially appointed science commission released a report outlining the role of research within the Smithsonian. The report noted that funding erosion and poor long-term scientific leadership have placed the institution in poor financial standing. Adding to the funding complexities are congressionally mandated increases for targeted programs; the report asserts: "The cannibalization of staff positions to fund these mandated increases must stop." Earlier, the National Research Council released a report with similar findings. The message, however, does not appear to have had a significant impact on the president's FY 2004 request. This year, however $1.5 million would go toward implementing some of the commission's recommendations such as expanding the fellowship program and providing funds for the care of the collections at the National Museum of Natural History.

Special update prepared by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program and Gayle Levy, AGI/AAPG 2004 Spring Semester Intern.

Sources: Agency budget documents, Environment and Energy Daily, Greenwire, The Washington Post

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

Posted March 15, 2004