SPECIAL UPDATE: President’s Budget Request for the Geosciences for Fiscal Year 2010

(Posted 5-15-09)

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


President’s Budget Request for the Geosciences for Fiscal Year 2010

IN A NUTSHELL: President Obama released his detailed budget proposal for fiscal year 2010 (FY10) on May 7, 2009. Geosciences research and development (R&D) and geosciences education should see robust funding and modest increases in the request compared to fiscal year 2009. Priorities have shifted in the new administration, such that greater investments would be devoted to R&D in the areas of climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, water resources, carbon capture and sequestration and nuclear energy. Other major programmatic changes with somewhat uncertain budgetary effects include the termination of the Yucca Mountain waste repository project, the termination of space shuttle operations after 2010 and the possible development of a National Climate Service.

Below are brief summaries of the proposed budgets for several key federal agencies in the geosciences. The National Science Foundation has not released a detailed budget as of May 15. AGI will prepare a summary of NSF as soon as the budget is released and it will be posted on AGI’s FY10 appropriations page at: http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis111/appropsfy2010.html

Please visit the Office of Management and Budget for more details on the President’s full budget request at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/

*** U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) ***

Suzette Kimball, Acting Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) briefed a small audience of stakeholders and reporters about the details of President Obama's budget request on May 7, 2009. The USGS would receive almost $1.1 billion for FY10. This total represents an increase of about $53 million over the enacted level of $1.04 billion for FY09.  An additional $140 million given to the USGS as a one time economic stimulus from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is not included in these budget number comparisons.

The President’s request does not seek any significant cuts to core programs, however most congressionally-directed programs are eliminated. In most cases, programs will see modest increases, with Education and the Global Change programs seeing the largest percentage increases. Education would increase from $2.3 million in FY09 to $4.3 million in FY10 and the Global Change program would increase from $40.7 million in FY09 to $58.2 million in FY10.

Please see AGI's budget pages for more details on the USGS budget at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis111/appropsfy2010_interior.html

Visit AGI’s brief summary of USGS stimulus spending for details on the ARRA funds at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis111/stimulus2009_interior.html

Further details about the USGS and Department of the Interior budget proposals are now available online: http://www.usgs.gov/budget/2010/2010index.asp

*** Department of Energy (DOE) ***

The Department of Energy (DOE) would receive $26.4 billion in the President's FY10 budget request, a decrease of $7.3 billion compared to FY09. President Obama called energy one of three areas that are "absolutely critical to our economic future."  The Energy Department received $38.7 billion in one time stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and those funds will be used to make up the difference between the FY09 and FY10 budgets plus jump start high priority programs such as the Advanced Energy Research Agency (ARPA-E).

The FY10 proposal funds three approaches to transformational R&D in the energy arena, Energy Innovation Hubs ($280 million), Energy Frontier Research Centers (ERFC) and the newly formed ARPA-E ($10 million).

The Energy Department will focus on curbing carbon emissions by improving energy efficiency and developing low carbon energy resources with increases over FY09 for high priority programs. About $475 million would be invested in clean and renewable energy generation R&D, $671 million for energy efficiency, $174 million for electrical grid modernization, $333 million for low-emissions transportation technology, $180 million for clean coal technology and $383 million for advanced nuclear energy.

The budget proposal terminates the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository program except for funds needed to complete the licensing process. President Obama plans to convene a blue ribbon panel of experts to "evaluate alternative approaches for meeting the federal responsibility to manage and ultimately dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from both commercial and defense activities."

For more details about DOE stimulus 2009 funding, please see the AGI DOE Stimulus 2009 web page at: http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis111/stimulus2009_energy.html

For more details about the DOE FY10 budget, please visit the DOE budget website at http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/10budget/Start.htm

*** National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ***

Chris Scolese, Acting Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the President’s budget request for NASA for FY10 on May 7, 2009. NASA would receive an overall budget of $18.686 billion, an increase of about $903.6 million over FY09. In his written statements and presentation, Earth science was highlighted as a major priority.

Within the Science Mission Directorate, Earth Science would receive $1,405 million, an increase of $26 million compared to FY09. Earth Science also received $325 million in FY09 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) as a one-time stimulus to be spent in 2009 and 2010.

The NASA budget summary document indicates that Earth Science would see an increase of $900 million over FY10 to FY13, which is consistent with recent requests from the geosciences community to implement the priority missions defined in the National Research Council Decadal Survey for Earth Science.

For a summary of the NASA FY10 budget proposal and more details, please visit AGI’s appropriations web pages at


For more information about the NASA FY10 budget proposal, please visit http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html

For a copy of the Decadal Survey for Earth Science please visit http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11820

*** National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ***

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the new Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented the President’s FY10 budget proposal on May 11, 2009. She began her presentation with a comment about NOAA’s principles and values, noting in particular that decisions will be based on good science. In the future NOAA intends to fulfill the President’s commitment to science, spur new jobs and industries, manage our fisheries for long-term sustainability, improve weather forecasting and disaster warnings, provide credible information about climate change and its impacts and revitalize coastal communities.

Under the President’s proposal, NOAA would receive $4,484 million, an increase of $110 million over FY09. The proposed budget would be distributed across the following broad categories of missions - $1,429 million for satellites, $912 million for fisheries, $405 million for research and climate, $503 million for oceans and coasts, $964 million for weather and $453 million for program support. The largest increases would be focused on satellites and fisheries with some increases for weather, climate research and coastal zone research and management.

The budget numbers and comparisons do not include the one-time stimulus funding of $830 million that NOAA received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The budget proposal also does not include a proposed National Climate Service and if such a service is developed at NOAA, then either new funding or changes in funding for existing programs would be necessary.

Please see AGI's budget pages for more details on NOAA’s budget at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis111/appropsfy2010_commerce.html

Visit AGI’s brief summary of NOAA stimulus spending for details on the ARRA funds at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis111/stimulus2009_commerce.html

For more information about NOAA’s budget, please visit the NOAA budget office website at: http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/~nbo/10bluebook_highlights.html

Special update prepared by Linda Rowan, Government Affairs Staff.

Sources: Thomas and House Rules Committee

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

Posted May 15, 2009