Government Affairs Program SPECIAL UPDATE

President Clinton's Fiscal Year 2000 Budget Request


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

IN A NUTSHELL: The President's budget request for fiscal year 2000 includes modest increases for most geoscience-related agencies and programs. This update includes a fairly lengthy description of the US Geological Survey budget request, which is complicated by significant budgetary restructuring but overall is up 5 percent. The National Science Foundation's Geosciences Directorate is up 2.6 percent. At the Department of Energy, petroleum R&D would increase 3 percent, natural gas research would decrease 8 percent, the Engineering and Geosciences Research Program would decrease by over 20 percent, and the Yucca Mountain project would increase 17 percent. EPA is down 5 percent. NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is up 3 percent, and NOAA's budget is up nearly 10 percent.


The President's fiscal year (FY) 2000 budget release took place this Monday. Overall, federal support for research and development (R&D) in all disciplines and agencies was $78.2 billion, a drop of 1.3 percent from FY1999. For the first time since the Carter Administration, the President's budget requests more money for civilian R&D than for military ($39.5 billion versus $38.5 billion). The shift principally reflects a 5.3 percent decline in defense R&D spending from FY1999.

For more on the broader science and technology budget as well as the overall budget context, visit the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Project website at The AGI website will have additional information shortly on geoscience-related agencies at

U.S. Geological Survey

The USGS unveiled a major restructuring of its budget accounts, making comparison with past years somewhat difficult, so bear with me here. Overall, the Survey's budget request is $838.5 million, an increase of $40.6 million over 1999. That increase includes $53.6 million in new program money and $19.6 million to cover uncontrollable costs offset by $32.6 million in program cuts. New initiatives include Interior Science Priorities, Place-Based Studies, USGS Satellite Data Archive, National Biological Information Infrastructure, Real Time Hazards Warnings, and Disaster Information Network.

The request greatly expands two bureau-wide budget categories and creates a third one. All USGS facilities costs are consolidated into a single Facilities account, which would increase by $63.8 million; and all general administration costs are consolidated into a Science Support account, which would go up $46.7 million. The Science Support account includes within it the USGS Library, which has been located in the Geologic Division's budget. Supporters of the library hope that the move to a bureau-wide account will help raise the library's profile and support. The request provides the library with a 3.7 percent increase for uncontrollable costs.

The President's request would create a new Integrated Science account to encourage multi-disciplinary projects. That account would be funded at $47.7 million. That figure includes $30 million ($15 million of it new money) for Interior Science Priorities to better meet needs of other Department of the Interior bureaus. The account also includes $17.7 million ($2.4 million new) for Place-based Studies for integrated studies of targeted ecosystems. Formerly housed in the Geologic Division, this program would expand to include the Great Lakes, Platte River, Greater Yellowstone basin, and Mojave desert. This program would also encompass existing research being done by the Geologic Division's INATURES program in the Chesapeake Bay, South Florida, and the California Bay/Delta.

Because of the budget restructuring, the four divisions all appear to have substantially less money than in FY1999. The Geologic Division (GD) is down $40.5 million, Water Resources Division (WRD) down $36.6 million, National Mapping Division (NMD) down $2.9 million, and Biological Resources Division (BRD) down $37.5 million. After removing the restructuring transfers, however, the numbers are GD down $0.3 million, WRD up $4.3 million, NMD up $16.6 million, and BRD down $0.6 million. Even these figures are low because they do not count the $17.4 million in new money requested for Integrated Science, more than half of which is likely to go for biologic research with smaller slices for the other divisions. The following section details increases and decreases for the various divisions. These are separate from uncontrollable cost increases provided for all programs in the budget request.

In the Geologic Division, increases include $1.6 million for 80 new seismographs to support pilot real-time warning systems in San Francisco, Seattle, and Salt Lake City; $1.5 million for the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program's development of the National Geologic Map Database and digital geologic maps in cooperation with state surveys and universities; and $0.8 million for coral reef investigations. Decreases include $3.5 million for projects studying coastal erosion; rapid subsidence and sea-level rise; geologic mapping of seafloor habitats; investigations of earthquake, landslide, and tsunami hazards off the Pacific Coast; and offshore marine mineral resource assessments. The request would also cut $3 million to terminate work in support of planning future development and environmental impacts of metallic and industrial minerals; $2 million for mineral information in Alaska; and $1 million for coal availability and recoverability studies.

The National Mapping Division would receive increases of $8 million for development of a disaster information network; $5.3 million for a Community/Federal Information Partnership initiative; and $2.5 million to archive upcoming data from Landsat 7. The request also includes a $2 million reduction for the congressionally requested OhioView high-performance computing consortium.

The Water Resources Division would receive increases of $3 million to upgrade 150 streamgage stations as part of the real time hazards warnings initiative; $1 million for amphibian research; and $0.4 million to study hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Decreases include $3.3 million of cost-shifting to customers and partners as well as reductions in watershed monitoring and endocrine disruption research. The Federal-State Water Coop program would receive a $2.5 million cut for monitoring and assessment activities.

More information on all Department of the Interior bureaus at: and more on the USGS at

National Science Foundation

 The good news for NSF is that its budget request is up nearly 6 percent to just under $4 billion, including a 7 percent boost for research to $3 billion. The bad news is that the geosciences probably will not see much of that new money. The Geosciences Directorate would get a 2.6 percent increase to $485.5 million of which the Earth Sciences Division would receive $101.2 million (up 2.5 percent), Ocean Sciences $220.3 million (up 2.6 percent), and Atmospheric Sciences $164 million (up 2.7 percent). The US Polar Research Programs would receive $188 million, a 3 percent increase. The Education and Human Resources Directorate would receive $711 million, up just over 3 percent.

The bulk of NSF's new money is directed at two major initiatives: Information Technology for the 21st Century ($146 million) and Biocomplexity in the Environment ($50 million). According to NSF, the latter is directed at "understanding the complex interdependencies among living organisms and the environments that affect, sustain, and are modified by them." One would hope to see a role for the geosciences in such an initiative. More on the NSF budget at:

Department of Energy

The Basic Energy Sciences request is $88 million more than FY99, increasing the account from $799.5 million to $888.1 million. Most of this increase goes towards funding construction of the Spallation Neutron Source, a high-energy physics facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The request for the Climate Change Technology initiative is up $12 million over FY99 to $20 million. The Engineering and Geosciences Research Program, however, would be cut by $10.4 million.

The request for Fossil Energy, which is funded by the Interior Appropriations bill rather than the Energy and Water appropriations bill that funds most of DOE, is $375 million. After accounting for $11 million in prior year balances, the net request is $364 million. Within this request is $122.4 million for coal (down 0.6% from FY99), $50.2 million for petroleum (up 3%), and 105.3 million for natural gas (down 8%). Funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy through the Energy Conservation and Solar and Renewable Energy accounts is up 20% above FY99 to $1,236 million. The Clean Coal Technology request is way down ($200 million), as DOE currently has funding for most of its projects and is deferring additional funding until FY2001.

DOE is requesting a 3.4 percent increase for nuclear waste disposal activities but included within that is a major shift in the amount derived from the Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund ($258 million compared to $165 million in FY99) and a major increase in the Yucca Mountain site characterization project: $331.7 million, up $49.3 million from FY99. More information on the DOE budget is available at:

Environmental Protection Agency

EPA's budget request is $7.2 billion, down 5 percent, but the agency is also asking for nearly $2 billion in bond authority for "Better America Bonds" to be used by states and local communities to preserve open space, clean up brownfields sites, and protect water quality. The Clean Air request is $772 million, a $185 million increase over FY99. This increase is primarily directed for the Clean Air Partnership Fund, a new initiative that would provide grants to states and localities "to reduce soot, smog, air toxics, and greenhouse gases." The Clean Water request is $2.55 billion, a decrease of $867 million from FY99. The decrease principally reflects the Administration's decision not to request funds added by Congress in last year's appropriations process. The request for the Sound Science account is $321 million, up 7.2 percent. More on EPA at:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The budget request for NASA is $13.6 billion, a decrease of $87 million from FY99. As requested by appropriators, the International Space Station now has its own line item. The request for it is $2.5 billion, an increase of $178 million over FY99. The Science, Aeronautics and Technology account request is $5.4 billion, a decrease of $229 million from FY99. Within this account, the Earth Science Enterprise (formerly Mission to Planet Earth) is up $45 million over FY99 to $1.46 billion. More information is available on the NASA website at:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The budget request for NOAA is $2.5 billion, a $222 million increase, which is the largest nonsystems-related increase in NOAA's history. NOAA's four cross-cutting areas of emphasis are Ocean 2000 (gains $300 million in new money for the Lands Legacy Initiative, Clean Water Initiative, items identified during the Year of the Ocean, and Resource Protection), Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative ($42 million in new money, primarily for National Weather Service modernization and enhanced observation and prediction), Climate in the 21st Century ($19 million in new money), and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The request for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research is $292 million, a $10 million increase. That request includes $139.7 million for climate and air-quality research (up $16 million), level funding of $47 million for atmospheric research, and a $6 million cut for Sea Grant to $51.5 million. More at:

Contributed by Kasey Shewey White and David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs

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

Posted February 5, 1999

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