Government Affairs Program SPECIAL UPDATE

The President's Fiscal Year 2001 Budget: Part 2 – Agriculture, Energy, Interior, EPA, NASA, NOAA


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

IN A NUTSHELL: This second update on the President's budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 includes the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and the Interior, EPA, NASA, and NOAA. The first update covered the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Science Foundation (NSF), both of which requested their largest dollar increases ever. Research and development (R&D) as a whole fared well, up 3.1% according to AAAS calculations in a budget that as a whole is up 1.5% over FY 2000. The request for non-defense R&D is up 6.2 percent, and basic research spending would rise 6.8 percent. In addition to the increases at USGS and NSF, most other geoscience-related agencies are up. NOAA is requesting a 20% increase, and EPA's request is up nearly 10%.  With the theme "Strength Through Science," the Department of Energy R&D budget request has an 8% increase. R&D at the Department of Agriculture would increase 3.1%. Within this rosy picture, however, there are several down notes including a proposed 3% decrease for earth science at NASA and a proposed 8.2% decrease in upstream petroleum R&D within DOE with major shifts in funding to more downstream natural gas research. As noted in the previous update, the submission of the president's request is the beginning of the congressional appropriations process, and it will take a great deal of effort from the geoscience community to turn projected increases into real federal investments.


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 USDA at

Department of Energy

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary 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. The Office of Science would receive a hike of 8% Within that office's Basic Energy Sciences Division, the Engineering and Geoscience subprogram is marked for receiving $40.8 million, up $3.7 million, the bulk of which is for nanoscale science and robotics and intelligent machines. Geoscience research would receive a 1% increase to $22.0 million.

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 programs and initiatives is available on the DOE budget webpage

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 $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. 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 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

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

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: Earth Science Program Science, Applications Commercialization and Education, and Technology Infusion.  Overall. ESE is down $37.6 million or 3% from FY 2000 for a total of $1.4 billion.  Within ESE, almost every sub-section has been cut. More information on NASA’s budget and details on the restructuring of ESE are available on the NASA budget webpage

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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). 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.  Specific information on facilities and programs is available on NOAA’s budget webpage

Sources: AAAS, Agency budget briefings, IPAA

Special update prepared by Margaret Baker and David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs

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

Posted February 12, 2000

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