President Bush proposed a Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 budget of $10.8 billion for the Department of the Interior. Among the agency's priorities is supporting cooperative conservation, accelerating Indian trust reform, implementing the Healthy Forests Initiative, addressing the National Park Service's maintenance backlog and addresssing chronic water supply issues in the West.
Funding for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is up just over 4% for a total requested level of $290 million. The Outer Continental Shelf Resource Evaluation program is down slightly to $28.7 million.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has requested $1.7 billion, which is nearly equal to last year's allocation. Funding for BLM energy and mineral programs has increased 7% from last year's allocation, giving a total of $117.6 million for these activities.
The National Park Service (NPS) is slated for an decrease of just under 3%, for a total request of $2.2 billion. Resource stewardship geologic resources funding within NPS will stay nearly the same at $2.6 million. The Cave and Karst Research Institute funding would remain flat at $333,000.
Total funding for the U.S. Forest Service would decrease by 4.1% from last year's funding level, for a total of $4.06 billion. The Minerals and Geology Management program requested $60 million, a 7.1% increase from last year's funding level.
The Smithsonian Institution would essentially be flat-funded at $615 million in FY06.
More information on the DOI budget request is available at http://www.doi.gov/budget/toc.html.
The Presidents Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is $933.5 million, a decrease of $1.9 million from the FY05 enacted level. According to administration briefing documents, the FY06 proposed budget "will continue the Surveys scientific excellence in the core USGS science programs and emphasize our response to natural hazards." In a marked departure from last year, the President's budget would fully fund all fixed costs within the USGS, totalling $17.1 million.
The Presidents FY06 budget provides $208.1 million for Geologic Programs, a 9.2% reduction from last year's enacted level. The Mineral Resources Program is the sole federal provider of scientific information for objective mineral resource assessments and unbiased research results on mineral potential, production, consumption and environmental effects and would receive a 53% cut, leaving the program with only $25 million in FY06. This reduction would terminate the collection of nation-wide basic geologic and mineral deposit data, the internationally coordinated global mineral resource assessment, many mineral commodity reports. Additionally, this cut would eliminate approximately 240 full time positions within the USGS at facilities in Reston, Reno, Tucson, Denver and Menlo Park, among others. The $25 million remaining in the program would continue funding for minerals surveys and studies relevant to ongoing land management by the Department of Interior, regulatory, and remediation activities more oriented to the interests of states, local governments, and universities.
The Administration requested $51.3 million for Earthquake Hazards in FY06, a 9.3% increase over last year's enacted level. Increased volcanic unrest in several U.S. volcanoes prompted the Administration to request additional funding to expand monitoring at the volcanoes most threatening to American lives and property. In all, a 5% increase was requested for Volcano Hazards, bringing the total up to $21.8 million. This increase will complete modernization of the Mount St. Helens monitoring network and improve the monitoring capability at other Cascade volcanoes, as well as expand monitoring in the Northern Mariana Islands. Landslide hazards would also receive a 3.2% increase to 3.1 million under the administration's proposal.
Within the increases mentioned above, a total of $5.4 million will help the USGS install and maintain additional seismic monitoring stations to serve the dual purposes of supporting development of a global tsunami warning system and enhancing earthquake monitoring and warnings. The FY06 budget also includes increases for seismic monitoring and maintains funding for the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), which provides accurate and timely information about earthquakes and their effects on buildings and structures using modern monitoring methods and technologies. 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 Administration has requested $8.1 million as part of the 2005 emergency supplemental funding request for the USGS to begin procuring and installing additional seismic monitoring stations and to enhance the existing seismic monitoring network for tsunami detection.
Water programs would receive $204 million, down 3.3% from last year's allocation. The funding proposed would expand upon the water availability work currently being done in the Great Lakes with an increase of $400,000. The Water Resources Research Institutes, which were zeroed out in the president's FY03, FY04 and FY05 requests would be cut again by $6.4 million this year.
Overall, mapping programs would receive $133.5 million, an 11% increase above last year's allocation. This increase includes $19.5 million in land remote sensing to maintain and bolster U.S. Landsat archives and capabilities. In 2005, the scan line corrector on board the Landsat 7 satellite failed. Due to user demand, the USGS was able to keep offering somewhat degraded Landsat images but at a reduced price. That means that USGS has suffered a funding shortfall in this program and the President's budget requests $12 million to cover this shortfall for 2005 and 2006. The request also includes $7.5 million to begin building ground station capabilities to download and archive landsat-like data from the Landsat 7 follow-on mission. The first Landsat Data Continuity Mission sensor will be flown on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) polar orbiting satellite, set to launch in late 2009. Both the National Aeronatutics and Space Administration (NASA) and NOAA propose funding in their 2006 budgets for their roles in this Landsat data continuity mission.
Also included in proposed funding for the mapping programs is a $250,000 increase for a science impact program designed to improve and expand the use of USGS science information both within and outside the Department of the Interior. The program is designed to help decision makers better understand what USGS science is telling them and how to apply it.
Biology is also marked for a small decrease from last year's allocation. Totaling $172.9 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 increases of $750,000 to expand on science needed by Interior bureaus, $750,000 to expand research in the Grand Canyon, $252,000 for deepwater fisheries research in the Great Lakes, $300,000 for invasive species research, and $250,000 for ecological systems mapping.
More information on the DOI budget request is available at http://www.doi.gov/budget/toc.html.
The Department of Education budget request is down about one percent, from $56.6 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 to $56 billion in FY06. However, several programs are slated to be eliminated and/or combined to provide states greater flexibility in using the federal funds.
The budget proposal increases Title II, Part B, Math and Science Partnerships to $269 million, increase of $90.4 million, or 51 percent, over the 2005 level, but restricts $120 million for the Secondary Education Mathematics Initiative, a competitive grant program to be administered by the Department of Education. This creates a net decrease in funding available to the states in FY06 over the FY05 allocations. The $120 million in funds for Secondary Education Mathematics Initiative is part of the overall High School Initiative (see below).
To ensure that a high school diploma is a ticket to success in the 21st century, the President is proposing the High School Intervention Initiative, which will expand the application of No Child Left Behind principles to high-school grades to improve high school education and raise achievement, particularly the achievement of students most at risk of failure. The new initiative combines a number of categorical programs in order give states and districts more flexibility and contains stronger accountability mechanisms. Vocational and Adult Education, including the Tech-Prep Education State Grants and the Tech-Prep Demonstration program, is eliminated in the budget proposal. Under the Administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), Vocational Education State Grants was rated Ineffective because it has produced little or no evidence of improved outcomes for students despite decades o f Federal investment. The $1.3 billion in funding is shifted to fund the High School Initiative. States and school districts would be able to use the funds for vocational education, tech-prep programs, and other purposes, depending on state and local needs and priorities.
The proposed Teacher Incentive Fund would provide $450 million in state formula grants to reward effective teachers and to offer incentives for highly qualified teachers to teach in high-poverty schools. The remaining $50 million would fund competitive grants to state educational agencies, LEAs, and non-profit organizations for the design and implementation of performance-based compensation systems to develop effective models that other districts could adopt to improve teacher compensation systems. There are few incentives for good teachers to seek assignment to or remain in high-poverty schools; such schools are often forced to rely on the least qualified faculty, including those hired with only emergency or other temporary credentials. The Teacher Incentive Fund is designed to stimulate closer alignment of teacher compensation systems with better teaching, higher student achievement, and high-need schools.
The new Adjunct Teacher Corps Initiative would provide $40 million and would draw on the skills of well-qualified individuals outside of the public education system to meet specialized teaching needs in secondary schools. Instead of the usual focus on certification or licensure of such individuals, the initiative would concentrate on helping schools find experienced professionals who would be able to provide real-world applications for some of the abstract mathematical concepts being taught in the classroom and, in some cases, provide individuals to teach temporarily in hard-to-fill positions. Initiative funds would be used to make competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and appropriate public or private organizations to create opportunities for professionals to teach specific high-school courses in the core academic subjects, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. Adjunct teachers might teach one or more courses on the school site on a part-time basis, teach full-time in secondary schools while on leave from their jobs, or teach courses that would be available on-line or through other distance learning arrangements.
The budget request contains a number of higher education programs as well. A record request of $13.7 billion for the Pell Grant program will increase the maximum grant to $4,150 and help an estimated 5.5 million low-income students pay for their higher education. It also provides $50 million for the new Presidential Math-Science Scholars program that will provide up to $5,000 to low-income students pursuing math and science studies. It will make permanent the increase in loan forgiveness from $5,000 to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science and special education teachers who serve low-income communities.
Finally, the budget would provide $40.2 million for need-based scholarships and fellowships to postsecondary students under the Javits Fellowships and Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) programs, as well as $22.2 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to support a wide-range of projects to reform and improve postsecondary education.
National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement described the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 budget request as follows: "For FY 2006, the National Science Foundation is requesting $5.605 billion. That's $132 million, or 2.4 percent, more than in FY 2005. This modest increase allows us to assume new responsibilities, meet our ongoing commitments, and employ more staff - with little room for growth in research and education programs. This means we'll all have to keep working to leverage resources and work more productively."
NSF was one of the few science and technology agencies that would see a budget increase in FY06 under the request that the Bush Administration submitted on February 7, 2005. This comes on the heels of Congress' decision to cut NSF's budget for 2005. In FY04 the NSF budget was $5.652 billion. Congress appropriated $5.47 billion for 2005. The Administration's request would restore some, but not all of the agency's budget to its former level. The request for next year is $5.605 billion.
The $132 million increase proposed for FY06 includes the transfer of $48 million from the Coast Guard to NSF for operation and maintenance costs associated with three polar icebreakers used in Antarctic and Arctic research. Allowing for this transfer results in a requested increase of $84.0 million for NSF.
NSF also requests almost $336 million for organizational excellence,
about 16% over the 2005 budgeted amount, to further integrate sound
business practices into NSF's already productive investments. An added
25 full-time staff positions are being requested to help carry out
further improvements and efficiencies.
The Education and Human Resources Directorate
The Education and Human Resources Directorate overall will suffer
a 12.4% or $104 million cut with the Math and Science Partnership
(MSP) taking a 24 percent cut. In FY04 the program was funded at $138.71
million. If the Administration's proposed budget is approved, MSP
funding at NSF will have suffered a 57 percent cut in just two years.
For the Geosciences Directorate, the Administration recommended an overall increase of 2.2% or $14.9 million from $694.2 million to $709.1 million. Within this directorate the Earth Sciences Division's budget would increase 3.4% or $5.1 million from $149.0 million to $154.1 million. The budget document states: "Increased support focuses on operational and scientific support of the EarthScope facility, which is being constructed through the MREFC Account, and improving the cyberinfrastructure available to earth scientists." Earthscope's Operations and Maintenance budget will increase from $4.69 million to $7.32 million if Congress approves the Administration's budget proposal.
Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction Account
The Administration requested an increase of 44.0% or $76.4 million, from $173.7 million to $250.0 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC). The budget document states:
"NSF believes that the highest priority within the MREFC Account must be the current projects. To that end, highest priority in FY 2006 is to continue to request funding for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array ($49.24 million); EarthScope ($50.62 million); the IceCube Neutrino Observatory ($50.45 million); the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel ($57.92 million); and Rare Symmetry Violating Processes ($41.78 million).
"NSF is requesting no new starts in FY 2006.
"Two new starts are requested in FY 2007, and one new start is requested in FY 2008. In priority order, these are: Ocean Observatories in FY 2007; the Alaska Region Research Vessel in FY 2007; and Advanced LIGO in FY 2008."
In the Office of Polar Programs the Administration recommended an increase of 12.4% or $42.6 million, from $344.4 million to $386.9 million. Within this account, the U.S. Polar Research Programs budget would increase 15.4% or $42.6 million, from $276.8 million to $319.4 million. The U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support budget would be unchanged at $67.5 million. It is important to note that $48 million is being provided so that "NSF will assume the responsibility, from the U.S. Coast Guard, for funding the costs of icebreakers that support scientific research in polar regions."
Research and Related Activities
Under the request, the NSF Research and Related Activities budget would increase by 2.7% or $113 million, from $4,220.6 million to $4,333.5 million. The Administration requested a cut of 12.4% or $104.4 million in the budget for Education and Human Resources, from $841.4 million to $737.0 million. The request for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction rose significantly: by 44.0% or $73.4 million, from $173.7 million to $250.0 million.
Ocean Sciences Division
The Ocean Sciences Division's budget would increase 1.1% or $3.5 million from $311.8 million to $315.2 million. The budget document states: "Areas receiving increased funding support include developmental activities related to the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), operation of the academic research fleet, and development of advanced ocean research cyberinfrastructure."
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/.
According to a new organizational scheme, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's (NASA) Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 operating plan shifts funds appropriated by Congress last year over into new, FY06 appropriations accounts. NASA's three major accounts-- Science, Aeronautics and Exploration; Exploration Capabilities; and Inspector General-- remain unchanged. However, within the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration Account, NASA has eliminated the Space Science, Earth Science and Biological & Physical Research Enterprises and combined them into one Science account. Within this new Science "Mission Directorate" are three divisions: Solar System Exploration, The Universe, and The Earth-Sun System, which houses the agency's earth science programs. NASA also moved Exploration Systems, which contains many of NASA's technological research programs, to the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration account, devoting Exploration Capabilities entirely to Space Station and Space Shuttle operations. The Aeronautics and Education Programs were not affected by the reorganization.
The Administration requested a total of $16.5 billion for FY06, an increase of 2.4% over the $16.1 billion provided in FY05. In accordance with President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration," NASA plans to return the space shuttle to flight by as early as May 2005, and is planning 28 shuttle missions to complete construction of the International Space Station. Comprising 39% of NASA's budget, these two programs will receive $6.4 billion, up $169 million from FY05 and $945 million from FY04. Major spending for the development of the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is expected to start in FY06 with a "placeholder" request of $753 million to design a prototype, an increase of $140 million over this year's enacted level.
The total Science budget request is $5.5 billion, dropping $51 million from the FY05 enacted level. Among earth science programs, the Earth Systematic Missions program is slated for a $118 million (40%) cut, stalling the Glory Mission, which was planned to address climate change. Earth System Science Pathfinder Projects would increase by $27 million (25%), resulting in a total $92 million reduction within the Earth-Sun System division.
NASA proposes to cancel funding for Hubble Telescope servicing, but requests $371 million for developing its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.
NASA budget documents are available at http://www.nasa.gov/about/budget/index.html.
The total budget request for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 is $7.6 billion, a 5.6% decrease from the FY05 enacted level. Within this total, the budget calls for an increase of $79 million to expand EPAs role in homeland security efforts. This includes $44 million to launch a pilot program of monitoring and surveillance in select cities to provide early warning of contamination, an increase of $19.4 million for environmental decontamination research, and $11.6 million for security at America's environmental laboratories.
Water quality programs would receive a total of $2.8 billion, 38% of the agency's total budget. Shifts in funding within water programs are intended to promote watershed-based and collaborative programs such the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which the Administration plans to fully fund at $50 million. Water funding also includes an increase of $24 million for water quality monitoring under state pollution control grants, and an increase of $5.1 million (20%), for state wetlands program development. A steep 33% cut is proposed for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, down from $1.1 billion, in line with a plan to flat fund the program at $730 million through 2011. The Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Loan Fund would remain flat funded at $850 million. The budget would terminate State water quality cooperative agreements, which were funded at $16.8 million in FY05, and it would cut targeted watershed grants by 18% to $15 million. The budget also proposes cuts in federal funding for several regional restoration efforts, including a $2 million (8%) cut for Chesapeake Bay, roughly $1.5 million (over 50%) cut for Long Island Sound and Lake Champlain, and $5.4 million (20%) cut for the National Estuary Program.
The budget proposes to increase brownfields cleanup and redevelopment by $46.9 million to $210 million, $120 million of which would go toward assessment and cleanup and $60 million toward aiding state and tribal programs. Superfund would see a modest increase of $30 million. Total funding for land preservation and restoration programs would be reduced by $115 million.
EPA's budget documents are available at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/budget/budget.htm.
The president's proposed fiscal year (FY) 2006 budget would reduce the total budget for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to $129.3 billion, a 3.4 % decrease relative to last year's funding of $133.8 billion. The largest reductions were proposed for the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, a 10.7% decrease (from last year's funding of $40.5 billion to a proposed budget of $35.2 billion); the Research, Education, and Economics division, a 12.9% decrease (from $2.9 billion to $2.3 billion); and Natural Resources and Environment, a 15% decrease (from $3.2 billion to $2.7 billion). Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services would receive an 8.4% increase, mostly for the Food Stamp Program and Food Safety would get a small increase.
For Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, the largest proposed reductions are for farm subsidies, through a 5% reduction on all payments and a proposed lower cap of $250,000 from the current cap of $360,000. The reductions in subsidies are partly meant to remove loopholes that allow some large farming operations to collect multiple payments.
For the Natural Resources and Environment accounts, the President's proposals would decrease funding for Conservation Operations, watershed projects and Grassland Reserve Programs while increasing funding for Wetlands Reserve Programs and the Conservation Security Program. The Conservation Operations would be trimmed by 7.6% from last year's funding level of $831 million to a proposed level of $768 million. Watershed Surveys and Planning would be cut by 29% from $7 million to $5 million. The Watershed Rehabilitation Program would be nearly halved by 44% from $27 million to $15 million and Resource Conservation and Development would be essentially halved by 49% from $51 million to $26 million. The Grassland Reserve Program would be eliminated (last year it received $128 million) while the Wetlands Reserve Program would gain 17% over last year's funding of $275 million to a proposed budget of $321 million. The largest increase would go to the Conservation Security Program (CSP), a gain of almost 36% from $202 million last year to a proposed $274 million. CSP, as authorized in the Farm Bill, provides financial and technical assistance to tribal and private agricultural producers to support conservation plans. The shift of funds within the Natural Resources and Environment accounts supports one of the strategic goals of the administration to focus on cooperative conservation programs to improve the conservation and management of private lands.
The Research, Education, and Economics program would be trimmed by 13% for a proposed budget of $2.3 billion relative to last year's total funding of $2.7 billion. Funding for Formula Grants would be reduced while funding for National Research Initiative Competitive Grants (NRI) would be increased and a new grant program for Regional, State and Local Grants Program would receive $75 million. The shift of funds is meant to gradually eliminate grants allocated to specific institutions (Formula Grants) and to gradually increase competitive grants available to any institution after peer-review. Funding for the Environmental Stewardship program that includes research to manage and conserve the nation's soil, water and air resources would increase from $173 million to $178 million with $1.8 million more for air and water quality research and $3.2 million more for research in support of the President's Climate Change Research Initiative. The Water Quality program, funded at $13 million last year and the Food Safety program funded at $15 million last year would be eliminated and other research programs such as Sustainable Agriculture would receive small cuts. Funding for the Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative would jump from last year's $9 million to a proposed $35 million for FY06. The funds would go toward a Regional Diagnostic Network and Higher Education Agrosecurity.
No funding for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or for Emergency Watershed Protection was proposed, although last year these programs cost a total of $300 million. The administration felt that they could not predict the overall costs of these emergency programs, although they acknowledge the need to fund them.
For more about President Bush's commitment to cooperative conservation, please see USDA press release (No. 0045.05) from February 9, 2005.
To learn more, the USDA funding overview is available online. A summary of the proposed budget for the Natural Resources and Environment account is available by clicking here. A summary of the proposed budget for Research, Education, and Economics is available here
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 Intern and Katie Ackerly, 2005 AGI/AAPG Spring Intern.
Last Updated March 21, 2005