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President's Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Request (3-4-04)

President George W. Bush released his fiscal year (FY) 2005 budget on February 2, 2004.  At the time of the budget release, Congress had not completed action on the FY 2003 appropriations bills, complicating the reporting of the newest budget request by making it impossible to compare the two budgets. As a result, budget documents released by the administration are in terms of last year's presidential request. While Congress continued to work out the final funding levels, federal agencies were being funded under a series of continuing resolutions at FY 2002 levels. Congress passed a FY2003 budget at the end of February, with $819 billion in total discretionary spending, which includes $123 billion for research and development (R&D). 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. The funding comparisons below are primarily based on the final FY2003 appropriations.

Much of the information on the President's FY2004 budget request was originally sent out as an e-mail Special Update to AGI's member societies.

Commerce, State, and Judiciary (NOAA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA is slated to receive $3.3 billion for FY 2004, a 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 has requested a 12% decrease to total $350 million. The National Ocean Service has requested $394.3 million (down 22%) and the National Weather Service requested $749 million (up 3%).

NOAA's budget slashes funding for the "wet side", which includes the National Ocean Service and the OAR. Programs in the National Ocean Service 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

Energy & Water (DOE)

Department of Energy

Office of Science

Total funding for the DOE Office of Science would be cut by 1% to $3.43 billion in the president's request.. Within the Office of Science, the Basic Energy Sciences programs would receive $1.06 billion, up 5.2%. The Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biological Energy Sciences account is slated to receive $228 million, an increase of 4% from last year's request. Also within the Office of Science, the Biological and Environmental Research program would receive nearly $501 million, down almost 22% from last year, but up slightly from the FY2003 budget.

Nuclear Waste Disposal

Last year's decision by the President and Congress to accept the Yucca Mountain site as the nation's permanent disposal site for high-level nuclear waste, means that the project has moved into its second phase. After more than 20 years and $4 billion in site characterization, funding for Yucca Mountain will now be focused primarily on activities to support the submission of a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The budget request includes $591 million for licensing and program management activities, basically flat from last year's request but an increase of nearly 58% from the allocation two years ago. Within this amount, there is a sizable jump in funding for activities related to waste acceptance, storage, and transportation in anticipation of the repository accepting waste by 2010.

Environmental Management

The Office of Environmental Management (EM) is responsible for managing the cleanup of the environmental legacy of the nation's nuclear weapons program -- everything from research to testing to production. EM has been under pressure from DOE and Congress to reform its management to result in quicker, more cost effective cleanup of sites. To respond to this request, the EM budget for FY 2005 is outlined in five new appropriations accounts. The total EM request comes to $7.4 billion, a 4.1% increase from the comparable FY 2004 budget request. The budget request states that this level of funding should provide the resources for EM to work towards its goal to complete cleanup of 89 of the 114 sites by the end of 2006.


Geothermal technology funded under the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is marked for a increase of 1% from last year's request, to total $25.8 million. Again, research related to hydrogen has won out over the established programs within this account. In total, EERE has requested $374 million, an increase of 1.2% from last year's request.

More details on the overall DOE budget request can be found at

Interior & Related Agencies (USGS, DOE-Fossil Fuels, USFS, Smithsonian)

Department of the Interior

Total funding request for the Department of the Interior (DOI) comes to $11 billion, a 2.8% increase from the FY2004 funding level and the "largest presidential request in the Department's history". Among the agency's priorities are supporting coorperative conservation, accelerating Indian trust reform, reforming the Abandoned Mine Lands program, implementing the Healthy Forests Initiative, addressing the National Park Service's maintenance backlog and enhancing the education of American Indian children.

Funding for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is up just about 5% for a total requested level of $179 million. The Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation program is also up 5% to $146.1 million.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has requested $1.7 billion, a 2% cut from last year's allocation. Funding for BLM energy and mineral programs has decreased 3% from last year's allocation, giving a total of $104 million for these activities. However, the leasing of gas fields will raise an additional $4.0 million in revinue, keeping the total budget at the 2004 enacted level.

The National Parks Service (NPS) is slated for an increase of just under 5%, for a total request of 2.4 billion. Resource stewardship geologic resources funding within NPS will stay the same at $2.7 million. Within this account, the NPS budget document outlines a monitoring program for water quality in the parks and an "inventory and monitoring program for park vital signs" which will increase 8% to $41 million. Also with the resource stewardship account is the water quality monitoring program that will see a 5% increase to $12.6 million.

More information on the DOI budget request is available at

U.S. Geological Survey

Looking at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as a whole, almost every major program area has had funding decreases, and the FY 2005 budget represents a step backward from FY 2004 levels. The total request is $920 million, down 2.5% from the FY 2004 level of $944 million.

In all cases, the many increases and decreases described here do not take into account the uncontrollable costs (salaries, maintenance, etc.…) that increase each year and cut into funds available for actual program activities. This year there have been reductions across many programs, and targets some specific programs such as mineral resources (down almost $7 million) and cooperative topographic mapping (down $3 million). However USGS director Charles Groat told EOS that "We are not seeing the big program gashes that we had before." Groat attributes this change partly to better internal management and information technology improvements. The budget winners were water availability, invasive species and natural hazards. The Enterprise Information budget, a new program for FY05, would receive funding from each division of the agency to total $45 million, and will consolidate funding for technology, management and information throughout the agency.

Geologic Programs

Overall, geologic programs would receive $220.8 million, a 5% decrease from last year's enacted level. In addition to cutting funds for mineral resource assessments and seismic networks as described below, the request also calls for the survey's energy resources program to use existing funds to provide scientific information regarding methane hydrates to the Minerals Management Service.

The biggest hit in the geologic discipline goes to the Mineral Resources Program, which would receive a $7 million decrease after undergoing a $9.1 million cut in the FY04 budget. As with other programs, such cuts are in addition to the budgetary erosion due to increases in uncontrollable costs. The proposed cuts transfer over $3 million to the new enterprise information budget and an $11 million reduction for earmarks.

The Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) will be funded at a flat rate from FY04 budget, however, the program was cut by almost $2 million last year from the FY03 budget. The program has never come close to the funding levels called for in the last reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP). That legislation, signed into law in November 2000, authorized $170 million over five years. The flat funding after last year's cut would eliminate nearly half of the increases that previous budgets had provided toward that lofty goal.

Water Programs

Overall, water programs would receive $202.7 million, still down 6.2% from last year's allocation. The Water Resources Research Institutes, which were zeroed out in the president's FY 2003 and FY 2004 requests would be cut again by $6.4 million this year. It is expected that the Institutes get the majority of their funding from non-USGS sources and are self-sufficient. The water resources program would receive $1 million this year for research into the water quality in the Klamath basin

The National Water-Quality Assessment program requested an increase of $200,000, its first increase since FY 1999. The Ground Water Resources Program would increase by $800,000 for a water availability and use initiative. The Toxic Substances Hydrology Program would decline by $518,000 to $12.64 million, which is far less drastic than last year when cutbacks were proposed and a transfer of what remained to the National Science Foundation.

Mapping Programs

Overall, mapping programs would receive $118.9 million, down 7.8% from last year's allocation. The budget request includes an $8.6 million transfet to the Enterprise Information program and a $1.9 million decrease for the National Map a program to create a comprehensive geographic information data base which incorporates elevation data, orthophotography, hydrology and other information. According to EOS, National Map program director Barbara Ryan said "that cut arrests the development of the National Map."

Biological Programs

Biology is also marked for a small decrease from last year's allocation. Totaling $167.6 million, biology programs would receive increases for finding solutions and assisting the mitigation of biological resource problems facing Federal agencies and State, local and tribal governments. The budget proposes transferring $2.9 million to the Enterprise Information program and a $2.8 million reduction in fire science. Some of the fire science programs will be funded by the Wildland Fire Management account.

More information on the DOI budget request is available at

Department of Energy -- Fossil Fuels

The Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) requested a total of $729 million, a decrease of just over 9% from last year's funding level. Within that total, Research and Development (R&D) programs would receive $636 million, a cut of over 5% from last year's level. More than 60% of the R&D funding goes to the president's $447 million Coal Research Initiative (CRI), which is predominantly directed at downstream technology. CRI does include $49 million for carbon sequestration R&D, which marks a 19% increase from last year's allocation.

Funding for oil and natural gas R&D combined make up only 6.5% of the total Fossil Energy R&D budget, a percentage that continues to drop with each new request. Funding for Natural Gas Technologies totals $26 million, an 40% cut from last year. Also funded through the natural gas account is $6 million for joint research with industry into the potential of gas hydrates as a future energy resource. The funding for hydrates is down 36% from last year, for a total of $6 million. The budget proposes to consolidate a number of programs under the Natural Gas Exploration and Production account into a new Sustainable Supply account while cutting 21% from last year's allocation. According to budget documents, this consolidation is in part due to a federal government-wide assessment of programs that encourages management to "phase out programs and activities that are neither productive nor integral to the program's mission and goals."

Simply put, the Oil Technology R&D account is gutted in the president's request. As with natural gas, programs within the Oil Exploration and Production account have been consolidated but with much more dramatic cuts. The total Oil Technology request is $26 million, a 40% cut from last year. Funding for the Oil Exploration and Production account was slashed to a total of $3 million, down 84% from last year's funding level.Also within the overall FE funding is $20 million for the Naval Petroleum & Oil Shale Reserves (NPR).

The FE budget document is available at

U.S. Forest Service

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

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.

Labor/HHS & Education

Department of Education

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

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

National Science Foundation

In the FY 2005 proposed budget NSF would receive only a 3% boost to $5.75 billion. Within the total request, $4.3 billion would go to the Research and Related Activities (RRA) account that funds the disciplinary directorates, an increase of just under 5% from last year's allocation, and $778 million would go to Education and Human Resources, a cut of 17.9% from last year's funding level. The Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account, which funds capital costs associated with large-scale facilities such as telescopes or networked installations, is slated to receive $213 million, an impressive 36% increase from what this account received last year.

This funding increase is less than the amount authorized last year by legislation, signed by President Bush in December 2002, that 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."

Geosciences Directorate

The request for the Geosciences Directorate, which includes Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Science Divisions, is complicated by the administration's attempt last year to transfer several programs from other agencies into the directorate. Congress rejected this proposed transfer. Funding for the Geoscience Directorate (GEO) would increase from the FY2004 appropriation, with a budget request of $728.5 million. Within GEO, the Earth Sciences Division (EAR) would receive $155.6 million, Atmospheric Sciences would receive $243.6 million, and Ocean Sciences would receive $329.3 million all increases from the FY 2004 budget.

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 total MREFC amount requested for 2005 is $213.3 million, up 37.6% from 2004. New starts requested in the 2005 MREFC budget include: National Ecological Observatory Network ($12 million), Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel ($40.9 million) and Rare Symmetry Violating Processes ($30 million). On a long-term outlook, other new starts budgeted to start in 2006 are Ocean Observatories Initiative, Alaska Region Research Vessel.

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 (USArray), the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), and the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO).

Polar Programs

The Office of Polar Programs (OPP) funds research activities, in conjunction with other federal agencies, in the Arctic and Antarctic. OPP is requesting $349.7 million for FY 2005, an increase of 2.2% from last year's funding level. Of this amount, $281 million will be for the Polar Research Program, with the remaining amount going towards Antarctic Logistical Support Activities. Science facilities; operations at McMurdo, South Pole and Palmer stations; engineering construction and facilities maintenance; and data handling and communications all have budget request increases for 2005.

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

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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

Environmental Protection Agency

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 a $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


Department of Agriculture

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

Sources: American Institute of Physics, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, EOS, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Council for Science and the Environment, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, University of Michigan Research Reporter, 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.

Contributed by Gayle Levy, 2004 AGI/AAPG Spring Semster Government Affairs Program Intern.

Posted March 5, 2004

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