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President's FY2001 Budget Request (2-29-00)

**For most recent update see the AGI website for the 107th Congress**

President Clinton released his proposed budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2001 on February 7th -- the last full budget cycle of this Administration.  As expected from the President's earlier remarks at Caltech and his State of the Union Address, federal funding for science agencies and programs received a generous boost in the FY2001 request.  For the geosciences, the big winners were the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) -- up 17 percent  and 10 percent, respectively -- wining their largest dollar increases.  Most of the science agencies are up in this budget request.  NOAA is requesting a 20% increase, and EPA's request is up nearly 10%.  With the theme "Strength Through Science," the Department of Energy Research and Development budget request has an 8% increase. R&D at the Department of Agriculture would increase 3.1%. Within this rosy picture, however, there area few down notes including a proposed 3% decrease for earth science at NASA and a proposed 8.2 percent decrease in upstream petroleum R&D within DOE with major shifts in funding to more downstream natural gas research.

During the 1997 budget debate, Congress enacted strict discretionary spending (all non-mandatory spending that includes nearly all funding for science related programs) caps that were designed to help the government balance its books and pay off debt.  According to the 1997 agreement, the FY2001 caps would require that Congress and the Administration make deep cuts of nearly ten percent in all discretionary spending, an option that most people are hesitant to embrace.  As a part of his budget request, President Clinton proposed that the 1997 spending caps are declared moot (last year the the final numbers for discretionary spending overshot the caps by nearly $55 billion) and replaced by modified caps that would be more than $70 billion more than the 1997 agreement.  The newly proposed caps would allow for modest increases in future years as the caps increases at the expected rate of inflation as calculated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Clinton's proposal to change the caps and request for substantial increases in most federal agencies will prove to be a very difficult sell, especially in an election year.  The complete text of the President's request, including the explanation of the proposed spending caps in on the OMB website for the FY2001 budget.

Clinton's total request for FY2001 is $1.84 trillion, which includes close to $43.3 billion in non-defense research and development, a 6.2 percent increase over last year.  Realizing increased funding for the geosciences will take a  great deal of effort from the geoscience community to turn projected increases into real federal investments.  A chart of requests and funding levels for geoscience related agencies and programs is available off all the AGI budget summary pages.

Much of the information on the President's FY2001 budget request was originally sent out as an e-mail Special Update to AGI's member societies.

Commerce, State, Justice, Judiciary (NOAA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The key program within the Commerce, State, Justice, and Judiciary Appropriations bill for geoscientists is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Similar to other science agencies, this year's request includes a large boost for NOAA, especially divisions associated with the Administration's initiatives for Lands Legacy and fish.  The year 2000 marks NOAA's 30th anniversary, and the agency hopes to ride a celebratory wave all the way to the bank, requesting a 20% increase to $2.9 billion. The bulk of the increase would be focused on agency initiatives: Lands Legacy ($266 million), Natural Disaster Reduction ($110 million), Climate Observations and Services ($28 million), South Florida Ecosystem Restoration ($1.6 million), Minority Serving Institutions ($17 million), Clean Water ($6.9 million), and America's Ocean Future ($51.6 million).

NOAA, one of the many federal agencies involved in the Lands Legacy Initiative, would receive a substantial increase from previous years.  The $265.8 million would "enhance the stewardship capabilities at the twelve National Marine Sanctuaries and 25 National Estuarine Research Reserves as well as the 33 coastal zone management states. Also included are additional resources to maintain and protect our critical estuaries, as well as mapping and monitoring of fragile coral reefs."

The Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative would divide its $110.0 million increase with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).  Moneys for NWS would include an adjustments-to-base of $14.7 million for salaries and labor costs.  "Also included in the FY 2001 request is $8.4 million to sustain base operations, $2.3 million to modernize and update the co-operative observer (COOP) network, $2.0 million for Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Maintenance, $6.6 million for Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) Operations and Maintenance (O&M), $0.1 million for NEXRAD O&M, $0.1 million for ASOS O&M, an additional $1.0 million for U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP), and another program that contributes to NDRI is the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System (AHPS)."  NOAA's satellite and data programs would see a $49.6 million increase, and the initiative would create an integrated Global Disaster Information Network to improve all aspects of disaster management and response.

Looking at NOAA's budget by division shows that the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research requested a 4% increase, totaling $318.7 million.  The National Weather Service requested an increase of close to 7% for a total of $710.2 million.  The National Ocean Service requested a massive increase of $227.8 million or 78.8 percent.  Specific information on facilities and programs is available on NOAA's budget webpage.

Energy & Water (DOE)

Department of Energy
Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson announced the department's budget with the theme “Strength Through Science,” boosting R&D in the agency to 40% of the request.  The total DOE request is up 9% to $18.9 billion. Overall, DOE will fund a 12% increase ($337 million) for science and technology, including nanoscale science, an Administrative multi-agency initiative, and information technology.  The Office of Science would receive a hike of $336.5 million (close to 12%), which would fund projects in environmental and energy research.  Within the Office of Science, the major component for geoscientists is the Basic Energy Science (BES) Division's Engineering and Geoscience subprogram.  Detailed information on DOE programs and initiatives is available on the DOE budget webpage.

Overall, BES is marked for a 30% increase to total $1.0 billion for FY2001.  The Engineering and Geoscience Division would receive $40.8 million, up $3.7 million, the bulk of which is for nanoscale science and robotics and intelligent machines.  "In Geosciences Research, the goal is on fundamental knowledge of the processes that transport, concentrate, emplace, and modify the energy and mineral resources and the byproducts of energy production. The research supports existing energy technologies and strengthens the foundation for the development of future energy technologies."  Geoscience research would receive a 1% increase to $22.0 million.  Funding for the Climate Change Technology Initiative within the Geoscience research subprogram would maintain the $6.8 million from last year, which includes the carbon sequestration program.  More information on the BES budget is available on their budget website.

Interior & Related Agencies (USGS, DOE-Fossil Fuels, BLM, MMS, OSM)

Department of the Interior
At the February 8th budget release, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt stated that lame ducks do have wings, emphasizing his intention to pursue an active agenda during the remaining 11 months of the Clinton Administration. Indeed, the president's request includes a $980 million, or 11 percent, increase in the department's budget to total $9.2 billion. Babbitt announced four multi-agency budget themes for this coming year: The First Americans: Stewardship, Investment, Hope; Fulfilling Land Legacy; Managing Lands and Resources; and Restoring and Sustaining Species.

Lands Legacy, a major Administration initiative, would receive a total of $735 million, a portion of which will be used to acquire nationally significant lands. Under the Lands Legacy initiative, the National Park Service (NPS) would receive a $109 million increase to support "matching grants to States for land or easements that benefit the public, such as open space preservation, greenways, outdoor recreation, wetlands, and wildlife habitat."  The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Federal Land Acquisition, marked for a $71.5 million increase over last year to total $320 million, includes $111.6 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), $60.9 million for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and $147.5 million for NPS.

In addition, Babbitt proclaimed his intention to continue an aggressive campaign of designating current federal lands as national monuments and wilderness, increasing protection levels in lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). That agency's budget would increase 15% to $1.4 billion.  The National Park Service (NPS) request is up 22% to $2.0 billion. The Minerals Management Service requested $130 million, a small increase over last year.  The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is up for a 3% increase to top off at $309 million. The complete text and rationale for the numbers is available online at the Department of the Interior Budget website.

U.S. Geological Survey
The good news continues with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which has requested a 10% increase to $895.4 million. That is the largest increase the Survey has ever requested. All four divisions would receive new money with the largest amount going to the National Mapping Division, up $28.6 million or 22.5%. The Biological Resources Division request is up $21.9 million or 16%. The Geologic Division (GD) request is up $13.6 million or 6.4%, and the Water Resources Division (WRD) request is up $11.8 million or 6.3%. USGS Director Chip Groat emphasized that the bulk of the increases are focused on the Survey's core activities, a focus that should sit well with Congress, which has criticized the Administration in recent years for seeking to branch the USGS out in new directions at the expense of core functions.

Under the theme "Safer Communities," the Survey is proposing an increase of $7.1 million for developing real-time warning capabilities in the national earthquake monitoring network ($2.6 million), volcano monitoring in Alaska ($0.5 million), and the national streamgaging network ($4 million). These increases build on smaller increases last year and are the first steps toward achieving the goals set forth in recent USGS reports calling for major upgrades to the earthquake and streamgage networks. A list of the streamgage stations that would be put in place, re-opened or flood-hardened with the new funding can be found at

Over half of the proposed increase in the Survey's budget is tied to funds for state and community-level planning partnerships, which in turn are designed to support the Interior Department Lands Legacy initiative's goals of open space and sustainable growth. The Community/Federal Information Partnerships (C/FIP) initiative includes $7.5 million for geologic mapping grants to "expand, in cooperation with State Geological Surveys, the development of the Internet-based National Geologic Map Database and the production of National Spatial Data Infrastructure-compliant digital geologic map data that meet community needs to address hazards, resources, and environmental management issues." The budget also would transfer $0.5 million for the Great Lakes Mapping Coalition from the National Mapping Division to the Geologic Division. Other C/FIP increases include $0.5 million for energy resources data for communities, $2 million for water information, $10 million to collect and increase access to spatial data and maps, $2 million for improved Internet access to USGS geospatial data, and $8 million to overlay biologic datasets with other USGS geospatial data.

Another $10 million would go to the National Mapping Division "to develop decision support systems to help America's communities respond to issues posed by urban growth." National mapping also would receive $5 million to assume long-term management responsibility for the LANDSAT 7 program from NOAA. The Survey has requested $10 million to provide predictive modeling tools and decision support information for natural resource managers (total includes at least $1.2 million from GD and $2.7 million from WRD). Finally, $15 million is requested to provide science support to the other Interior bureaus, particularly the land management agencies (total includes at least $2.0 million from GD and $3.3 million from WRD).

The USGS is declaring the Ohio View project a success and seeking to redirect its funding to other parts of the country. This pilot project to deliver earth science data in real-time to a consortium of Ohio universities was added to the Survey's budget by House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula (R-OH). It is not clear how he will respond to this redirection. Overall, the Survey's budget appears to include approximately $7 million in cuts removing congressionally earmarked projects in Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii, and several other states. Other decreases target "lower priority" projects, including a $2.5 million cut to hydrologic research and development, a $2.8 million cut to water data collection and management projects, and a $2.5 million cut to coal availability and recoverability studies.  Detailed information on the FY2001 USGS budget request is available on their budget website.

Department of Energy -- Fossil Fuels
The DOE Fossil Energy R&D program requested $406.6 million, an increase of 7.2% over FY2000.  Key initiatives for the program include Vision 21 Power Plant of the Future ($41.2 million), Carbon Sequestration ($19.5 million), Next Generation Turbines and Fuel Cells ($68.2 million), Gas Infrastructure Reliability ($13.2 million), Tomorrow’s Ultra Clean Gasoline/Diesel Fuel ($10 million),  and a fully restored Strategic Petroleum Reserve ($151 million).  The natural gas program is slated for $38.8 million, up 22.6%, but petroleum R&D is down 8.2% to $52.6 million. According to the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), R&D directed at petroleum and natural gas exploration and production "takes a hit compared with fiscal year 2000, the administration redirecting much of that funding to provide a whopping 1,200% increase in funding for natural gas infrastructure reliability." Detailed information on DOE's Fossil Fuels programs and initiatives is available on the Fossil Fuels budget webpage.

Labor HHS (DOED)

Department of Education
Most of the budget at the Department of Education (DOED) does not effect the geoscience community directly, but the combination of the appropriation process and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) should prove to be interesting.  President Clinton's FY2001 budget request includes $40.1 billion in discretionary spending for DOED, an increase of nearly 12.6% over last year.  Few of the programs mentioned in the budget request deal directly with math and science education with the following exceptions.  The Research, Development and Dissemination interagency program, aimed "at building a knowledge base to improve student achievement in reading, mathematics, and science and schooling for language-minority students," would receive $198.6 million. The Transition to Teaching (Troops-to-Teachers), "a Department of Defense model to recruit teachers from the ranks of engineering and the sciences, corporations, and other career-changing professionals," is marked for $25 million from DOED.  Unfortunately, the Eisenhower Professional Development Program, the major federal programs aimed specifically at science and math educators, is removed in the FY2001 as its own item. Eisenhower was funded at $335 million the last two years.  The FY2001 would incorporate Eisenhower along with the Goals 2000 State Grants to form the Teaching to High Standards State Grants, which is marked for $690 million.  More information on DOED programs and rational for the budget is available on the Department of Education's budget website.

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

National Science Foundation
Even before the budget was released, President Clinton announced that he was requesting a 17.5 percent increase for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2001. The total request is $4.6 billion, up from $3.9 billion in FY 2000. Within that total, the research budget is up 19.7% to $3.5 billion.  About two-thirds of the increase is tied to NSF-wide initiatives: Biocomplexity in the Environment ($39.5 million in new money), Information Technology Research ($16.6 million new), Nanoscale Science and Engineering ($7.8 million new), and 21st Century Workforce ($1.6 million of which $0.4 million is new). Except for the last one, GEO was not included in any of these initiatives last year.

For the past decade, funding for the Geosciences Directorate (GEO) at NSF has been virtually flat in constant dollars. That has been especially true for the Earth Science Division (EAR), where the bulk of solid earth science research is funded. That trend could change dramatically this year if Congress grants the President's budget request for NSF. The president's budget for FY 2001 includes a 19.5% increase for GEO, including within that a 16.6% increase for EAR, a 17.7% increase for the Atmospheric Sciences Division, and a whopping 22.2% increase for the Ocean Sciences Division.  By the numbers, GEO is up $95.2 million to $583.0 million. EAR is up $16.9 million to $118.51 million. Ocean Sciences is up $49.2 million to $270.5 million, and Atmospheric Sciences is up $29.2 million to $194.0 million.

The earth sciences would also benefit from a request in the NSF-wide Major Research Equipment budget for the Earthscope initiative. This account is separate from the GEO account and would direct $17.4 million to launch the USArray and the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD). Planning will continue for the remaining two components: the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) and the satellite-based Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) mission. This request is the first for the earth sciences in the Major Research Equipment budget, effectively doubling the EAR budget increase.

USArray consists of a dense array of high-capability seismometers deployed in a step-wise fashion across the US. The seismic deployment will be accompanied by geologic, geochronologic, geochemical, and related research to provide a complete picture of the structure and evolution of the North American continent. According to the budget documents, "SAFOD, consisting of an instrumental borehole through the San Andreas fault with cores taken at intervals, will enable the direct observation of the physical and chemical processes controlling deformation and earthquake generation within a major, active plate-bounding fault zone."

According to an American Institute of Physic's Bulletin of Science Policy News, the request NSF sent to Congress included out year funding for EarthScope: "The FY 2001 request for funding to initiate $17.44 million.  To complete this project, NSF requests advance appropriations of $28.46 million in FY 2002, $15.74 million in FY 2003, and $13.17 million in FY 2004.  Total NSF funding for this project is $74.81 million over the period FY 2001-2004."

Polar research also receives a sizeable boost. The US Polar Research budget would increase 17% to $222.8 million. However, funding for the US Antarctic Logistical Support Activities is flat at $62.6 million.

The Education and Human Resources Directorate stands to receive a 5% boost to $760.0 million. Included within that is a 3.9% increase for Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education; a 20.8% increase for Undergraduate Education; a 14.4% increase for Graduate Education; and a 6.0% increase for Human Resource Development. No breakdowns were provided for what percentage of these accounts goes to support geoscience education.  More information and rational for the budget request is available on NSF's budget webpage.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA’s budget request is up about 3% for a total of $14.0 billion.  Unfortunately, the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) will not share in this increase.  NASA budget documents helpfully explain that the agency restructured ESE "to display the resources being allocated to Research and Technology requirements in a way that can be more readily understood by NASA’s customers." If this makes any sense to you, please help us out.  The restructuring formed three categories within the Research and Technology heading: Earth Science Program Science (ESPS), Applications Commercialization and Education (ACE), and Technology Infusion.

Overall. ESE is down $37.6 million or 3% from FY 2000 for a total of $1.4 billion.  ESPS is marked for an increase of roughly $66.9 million over last year.  Science research to support the Earth Observation System (EOS), the major element of ESE, would receive a decrease of $2.8 million or 5.4 percent. In total, the Research and Technology Program's request is $353.2 million, a 23.4 % increase or $66.9 million.

Most of the decreases within ESE are around the Major Development and Operations programs.  EOS and EOS Data Information System (EOSDIS), $39.2 million and $9.9 million, respectively.  Also hit was the Earth Probes program with a decrease of $37 million to $120.4 million.  Overall, the Operations, Data Retrieval, and Storage programs are down $2.9 million.  Details about other NASA programs and the ESE restructuring are available on the NASA budget webpage.

Environmental Protection Agency
Overall, EPA requested $7.3 billion, up 9.8%.  Funding for Clean Air programs would receive $562.5 million (up 3.8%), while Clean and Safe Drinking Water programs received $1.1 billion (up 11%).  The Superfund and Brownfields toxic waste cleanup programs would receive $268.6 million (up 7.8%). According to AAAS estimates, R&D at EPA would increase 4.8 percent to $679 million, but the only EPA program to face a cut is its Sound Science programs that received a small decrease, giving the initiative $324.0 million.  EPA’s budget request report is available on the EPA Budget webpage.


Department of Agriculture
The budget request for the Natural Resources Conservation Service is up 9.2% to $876 million in appropriated dollars and up a whopping 81.5% overall to $2.2 billion. The large overall jump would greatly expand conservation programs funded by the mandatory Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) account created in the 1996 Farm Bill. Appropriated funds for the US Forest Service would increase 10.6% to $3.1 billion. More information from the USDA budget website.

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, President's FY2001 Budget Request, Agency Budget Summaries, National Journal's Greenwire, Environment & Energy Newsline

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

Contributed by Margaret Baker, AGI Government Affairs Program

Posted February 29, 2000; Minor update June 10, 2000

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