Science in the 2010 Budget

policy-news-logo_sYesterday, the White House released its $3.4 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2010. Overall, the sciences fared well, with many significant increases for renewable energy and environmental programs. Below is a breakdown of science funding to various government agencies from ESA’s Policy News, written by ESA Policy Analyst Piper Corp.

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (NSF): $7.045 billion, an increase of 8.55% over fiscal year (FY) 2009. The NSF budget details aren’t yet available, but the funding will include increases in graduate research fellowships from 1200 to 1600 and will emphasize high-risk/high-reward transformative research, climate change and climate change education, computer modeling and clean energy research.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA): EPA would receive $10.5 billion, a $3 billion increase. This includes $249 million (a $13 million increase) for clean air provisions, including implementing the renewable fuels provision in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, funding studies on criteria air pollutants and developing federal clean air standards, and studying the effects of air pollutants on human health. It also includes $481 million (a $19 million increase) to address climate change through greenhouse gas reduction efforts, the development of a comprehensive climate change strategy, a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule, and a plan for achieving federal clean air standards. Also, $168 million (a $22 million increase) for water programs will help small communities meet new drinking water standards and fund research on the risks that carbon capture and sequestration activities pose to water resources. The EPA oversees the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which would receive $475 million to combat aquatic invasive species, contaminated sediment, and nonpoint source pollution in the lakes.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE): The proposal maintains 2009 spending levels ($26.4 billion) for DOE, citing the almost $40 billion provided earlier this year in stimulus funding. Still, the proposal calls for some reshuffling of funds, resulting in boosts for several renewable energy and efficiency programs. The budget does away with the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, redirecting its previous allotment toward exploring alternative sites. $2.32 billion would go toward alternative energy research, including solar, wind and biofuels. Nuclear energy research would see a drop by $30 million to $762 million and would phase out the Nuclear Power 2010 program and the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative while boosting funding for developing next-generation reactors. The fossil-energy program will drop to $618 million, and the 2010 funds will be directed largely toward “clean coal” research. Oil technology research will not be funded under the proposal, which gives the private oil industry the responsibility of financing research that it says provides little public benefit.  Further, the oil industry would see a $26 billion reduction in tax breaks over the next decade.

DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR (DOI): DOI would receive $12 billion, in addition to $3 billion from the stimulus package. The U.S. Geological Survey would see $1.1 billion for surveys, investigations and research-a slight increase over 2009 levels. The Fish and Wildlife Service is requested at $1.6 billion, including $476 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System, which has struggled in recent years due to underfunding.  The National Park Service would receive $2.7 billion, and the Bureau of Land Management would see $1.1 billion, with $975 million for management of land and resources (an $85 million increase) and $25 million for land acquisition.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA): USDA would receive $26 billion, including $20 billion for rural development activities. In spite of numerous cuts throughout USDA, most major U.S. Forest Service line items will see small increases within its $4.93 billion budget. State and private forestry initiatives are set to receive $306 million (a $40 million increase); forest and rangeland research will receive $301 million. Funds for land acquisition, however, will be cut nearly in half, falling from almost $50 million in 2009 to $28.6 million in 2010. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) would be funded at $128 million (four times the program’s highest funding levels, and twice the amount mandated in the farm bill). The loan guarantee and grant program helps farmers, ranchers, and small rural businesses start energy development or efficiency projects on their property. REAP also finances wind power and biorefinery incentives.  The proposal cuts 17 USDA programs, including the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Operations and Resource Conservation and Development.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA): $4.479 billion for NOAA, compared to $4.4 billion in 2009. NOAA received $600 million in the stimulus package. The National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service would receive $1.43 billion, which will include increased funding for polar and geostationary satellite acquisition and financing for a satellite to monitor sea level rise. The Office of Atmospheric Research would see $487 million, which will include increased funds for ocean acidification monitoring, the development of an integrated drought early warning system, and a “public data portal for climate models.” The National Ocean Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service would receive $487 million and $891 million, respectively.

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Author: Christine Buckley

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