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Action Alerts

Science Funding: Ask your Members of Congress to raise the caps and restore funding for science (2019)

Dear ESA Member:
As you may know, lawmakers are working on a budget agreement to determine the overall level of federal spending. ESA, along with other organizations in the scientific community, is urging congressional leaders to raise the budgetary caps for FY 2020 to avoid the effects of mandatory across-the-board cuts to agencies (sequestration) and to support funding for scientific research. The House is currently completing appropriations using a budget resolution that boosts overall nondefense spending by 6% and increases funding for many important ecological science programs. However, if the House and Senate do not reach an agreement to “raise the caps,” these programs will likely see budget cuts instead.
We are hearing from Hill staff that they are not receiving funding requests from individual scientist constituents. If you have reached out to your lawmaker: thank you! If you have not: please do.
The ecological community is facing many hurdles to see strong funding for science in FY20. Each of you has an important role as a constituent to let your Members of Congress know how and why strong federal funding for science benefits you, your state, and the nation.
 
We ask you to contact (email or call) your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and ask them to raise the budget caps and provide robust funding for FY20 appropriation bills for scientific research – especially for ecological research. Visit GovTrack to identify your Members of Congress.
Thank you for your consideration,
Public Affairs Office

Here are some tips to develop a short, concise message.
 
Step 1. Start with a High-Level Talking Point
Example: Our nation’s research enterprise is among the most powerful engines for American prosperity. We need robust FY 2020 funding for scientific research and we urge to “raise the budgetary caps” for FY 2020 to support research funding and avoid the effects of mandatory across-the-board cuts to agencies! One of the consistent areas of bipartisan agreement over the past 70 years has been the importance of the federal government’s role in supporting research and innovation.
Step 2. Share your personal story!
Briefly explain how federal funding has benefited your research and tell how your research contributes to addressing local, state or federal issues of concern. Note that your work is supported by Agency XYZ and Program XYZ.
 
Here are the amounts that ESA has requested for FY 2020, for your reference.
 
ESA Request for FY2020
  • NSF: $9 billion
  • EPA: $746 million for Science and Technology
  • DOE Office of Science: $7 billion
  • NOAA: $5.7 billion
  • USDA/ARS: $1.821 billion
  • USDA/NIFA: $445 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
  • USDA/USFS: $310 million for Forest Service R&D, $83 million for Forest Inventory and Analysis, $16 million for the Joint Fire Science Program
  • DOI/USGS: $1.2 billion
Step 3. Say Thank You!
Thank your Member of Congress for their support for sustainable funding for our nation’s science and technology agencies and ask them to continue sustainable, predictable funding and urge them to prioritize these investments FY 2020 funding bills.

Science Funding: Ask your Members of Congress to restore funding for science (2019)

Dear ESA Member:

As you may know, President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget request sent to Congress would flat-fund or drastically cut scientific research accounts across many federal agencies. At the same time, lawmakers are working on a budget agreement to determine the overall level of federal spending. ESA, along with other organizations in the scientific community, is urging congressional leaders to raise the budgetary caps for FY 2020 avoid the affects of mandatory across-the-board cuts to agencies (sequestration) and to support funding for scientific research.

We are hearing from Hill staff that they are not receiving funding requests from individual scientist constituents. If you have reached out to your lawmaker: thank you! If you have not: please do.

The ecological community is facing many hurdles to see strong funding for science in FY20. Each of you has an important role as a constituent to let your Members of Congress know how and why strong federal funding for science benefits you, your state, and the nation.

We ask you to contact (email or call) your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and request robust funding for FY20 appropriation bills for scientific research – especially for ecological research and to raise the budget caps. Visit GovTrack to identify your Members of Congress.

Thank you for your consideration,

Public Affairs Office


Here are some tips to develop a short, concise message.

Step 1. Start with a High-Level Talking Point

Example: Our nation’s research enterprise is among the most powerful engines for American prosperity. We need robust FY 2020 funding for scientific research and we urge to “raise the budgetary caps” for FY 2020 to support research funding and avoid the affects of mandatory across-the-board cuts to agencies! One of the consistent areas of bipartisan agreement over the past 70 years has been the importance of the federal government’s role in supporting research and innovation.

Step 2. Share your personal story!

Briefly explain how federal funding has benefited your research and tell how your research contributes to addressing local, state or federal issues of concern. Note that your work is supported by Agency XYZ and Program XYZ.

Highlights of drastic cuts proposed by the administration to key agencies important to you as well as the amounts that ESA has requested, for your reference.

President’s Budget Request

  • NSF: $7.1 billion, 12% decrease
  • EPA: $6.1 billion, 31% decrease
  • DOE Office of Science $5.4 billion, 17.3% decrease
  • NOAA $4.5 billion, 17% decrease
  • USDA/ARS $1.253 billion, 4% decrease
  • USDA/NIFA $1.4 billion, 4.9% decrease
  • USDA/USFS $5.67 billion, 6.4% decrease
  • DOI/USGS $938.5 million, 16.7% decrease

ESA Request for FY2020

  • NSF: $9 billion
  • EPA: $746 million for Science and Technology
  • DOE Office of Science: $7 billion
  • NOAA: $5.7 billion
  • USDA/ARS: $1.821 billion
  • USDA/NIFA: $445 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
  • USDA/USFS: $310 million for Forest Service R&D, $83 million for Forest Inventory and Analysis, $16 million for the Joint Fire Science Program
  • DOI/USGS: $1.2 billion

Visit ESA’s Federal Agency Budget Tracker for FY 2020 detailed budget information

Step 3. Say Thank You!

Thank your Member of Congress for their support for sustainable funding for our nation’s science and technology agencies and ask them to continue sustainable, predictable funding and urge them to prioritize these investments and reject the administration-proposed cuts to science as they begin to craft the FY 2020 funding bills.

Science Funding: Ask your Members of Congress to restore funding for science (2018)

Dear ESA Member:

As you may know, President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget request sent to Congress would flat-fund or cut research accounts at several federal agencies for America’s scientific enterprise. There is a realistic opportunity to achieve budget increases for scientific research because Congress came to a two-year budget agreement Feb. 29 that suspends the debt ceiling for a year and raises the budget caps for two years for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

We are hearing from Hill staff that they are not receiving funding requests from individual scientist constituents. If you have reached out to your lawmaker: thank you. If you have not: please do.

The ecological community is facing many hurdles to see strong funding for science in FY19. Each of you has an important role as a constituent to let your Members of Congress know how and why strong federal funding for science benefits you, your state, and the nation.

We ask you to contact (email or call) your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and request robust funding for FY19 appropriation bills for scientific research―especially for ecological research. Visit GovTrack to identify your Members of Congress.

Thanks for your consideration,

ESA Public Affairs Office


Here are some tips to develop a short, concise message.

Step 1. Start with a High-Level Talking Point

Example: Our nation’s research enterprise is among the most powerful engines for American prosperity.  We need robust FY 2019 funding for scientific research! One of the consistent areas of bipartisan agreement over the past 70 years has been the importance of the federal government’s role in supporting research and innovation.

Step 2. Share your personal story!

Briefly explain how federal funding has benefited your research and tell how your research contributes to addressing local, state, or federal issues of concern. Note that your work is supported by Agency XYZ and Program XYZ.

Highlight flat funding or drastic cuts proposed by the administration to key agencies important to you:

  • NSF: $7.47 billion, 0% increase
  • EPA: $6.14 billion, 24% decrease
  • DOE: Office of Science: $5.39 billion, 0% increase
  • NOAA: $4.56 billion, 20% decrease
  • USDA/AFRI: $375 million, 0%  increase
  • USDA/ARS: $1.21 billion, 5% decrease
  • USDA/USFS: $4.76 billion, 10% decrease
  • DOI/USFWS: $1.26 billion, 19% decrease
  • DOI/USGS: $860 million, 21% decrease
  • DOI/NPS: $2.73 billion, 7% decrease
  • DOI/BLM: $1.03 billion, 17% decrease

Visit ESA’s Federal Agency Budget Tracker for FY 2019 detailed budget information

Step 3. Say Thank You!

Thank your Member of Congress for their support for sustainable funding for our nation’s S&T agencies and ask them to continue sustainable, predictable funding and urge them to prioritize these investments and reject the administration-proposed cuts to science as they begin to craft the FY 2019 funding bills.

Visit GovTrack to identify your Member of Congress.


Keep Tax Exemption for Tuition Waivers (2017)

Science Funding: National Science Foundation FY 2017 budget

Dear ESA Members:

The National Science Foundation is the only federal agency funding all fields of science. As Congress begins the process of determining funding levels for federal agencies through annual appropriations, we ask that you contact your Members of Congress and request they support $8 billion for the National Science Foundation in FY 2017.

NSF provides critical funding for grants and Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) education programs that are vital to fostering innovation and sustaining American jobs in scientific fields.

Many ESA members receive NSF funding to conduct important ecological research throughout their careers that benefits society.

NSF funding also supports early career scientists and enables undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research. These efforts ensure future generations obtain the skillset needed to pursue careers in science that are vital for job creation and maintaining our nation’s global competitiveness.

It is also important that Congress grant NSF the discretion to determine funding for its individual directorates. This allows the agency the flexibility to adapt to unanticipated discoveries and meet future challenges. It is vital that NSF continue to carry out its mission untainted by partisan or ideological motivations.

If this is an issue of importance to you, ESA encourages you to take action:

  1. Contact your Representative and Senators -either by phone or email. State that you are a constituent who supports or is funded by the National Science Foundation. If you have specific examples of how NSF funding supports your research or university be sure to include it in your communication.
  1. Request that Congress increase funding for NSF to $8 billion to keep pace with inflation and ensure the agency can continue its mission to promote scientific progress.
  1. Ask that your Representative or Senators contact the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies and support $8 billion for NSF in FY 2017.
  1. Thank the office for considering your request.

Find your Representative here:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/ and type in your zip code. 

Find you Senators here:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and search by state.


Science Funding: Joint Fire Science Program

Dear ESA Members:

The Joint Fire Service Program provides scientific information and tools that policymakers, resource managers, and other parties can use to protect forests, communities, and watersheds from wildland fire.

We are concerned that the administration’s 2017 US Forest Service (USFS) budget request cuts funding for the Joint Fire Science Program’s (JFSP) budget by $6.194 million within its Wildland Fire Management budget.

Instead, the Service has designated $3 million for the JFSP from the $292 million Forest and Rangeland Research account without increasing its funding. 

No other federal program except the JFSP provides the integration of science and management needed to face the challenges that lie ahead—we will be living in a world with more fire. Research in fire science is crucial to anticipating how ecosystems and landscapes may change in the future, how fire should be managed in both wildlands and developed areas, and where mitigation or adaptation strategies are most appropriate. Reductions in support for JFSP are inconsistent with high- priority national research needs.

If this is an issue of importance to you, the Ecological Society of America encourages you to take action:

  1. Contact your Representative and Senators –either by phone or email. State that you are a constituent who is concerned about the Joint Fire Service Program budget cuts. If you have specific examples of how the JFSP money is being used in your state, be sure to include them in your communication.
  1. Request that the USFS restore the JFSP budget cut of $6.194 million under the Wildland Fire Management budget and fully fund Forest and Rangeland Research program for $292 million.
  1. Ask that the Representative and/or Senator contact the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies requesting USFS restore the JFSP budget.
  1. Thank the office for considering your request.

Find your Representative here:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/ and type in your zip code. 

Find you Senators here:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and search by state.


H.R. 1806, AMERICA COMPETES Reauthorization Act 

Dear ESA Members:

The US House of Representatives is expected to take up H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015. This bill would reauthorize landmark legislation for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science.  Several provisions in the bill would remove crucial support for scientific research.  H. R. 1806 includes deep cuts to the DOE Biological and Environmental Research Office and to the NSF directorates for the social, behavioral, and economic sciences and the geosciences.

Title I of H. R. 1806 would authorize specific funding levels for each of NSF’s directorates placing certain directorates over others. This is a significant departure from how NSF currently determines its research priorities. NSF is unique among federal agencies because it supports a balanced portfolio of basic research in all disciplines, using the scientific peer review system as the foundation for awarding research grants based on merit.

NSF’s long-range research priorities have been formulated through a collaborative process involving decadal reports, convening expert workshops, and continuously gathering input from the science community.

The bill was drafted with minimal consultation from the scientific community. Consequently, scientific organizations have written Congress expressing their concern with the H. R. 1806. ESA penned a letter you may view here.

We are asking you to contact your Congressperson and express your concern with H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015.

Step 1: Write your letter: Your letter can influence how your congressional member votes on H. R. 1806. For talking points, read NSFs Impact Statement about the bill’s consequences to the research community here and ESA’s letter here

Step 2:  Email your representative, http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Email Subject Line: Please Oppose H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act


Science Funding: Weigh in on science funding in Senate CJS bill

Dear ESA Members:

Today, Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, the US Senate is scheduled to begin debating its bill to increase funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal year (FY) 2015. We are asking you to contact your legislator today if you agree increased funding for the National Science Foundation is important for ecological science.

Step 1: Write your letter

Step 2:  Email your Senators, http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC

Email Subject Line: Please Support Science in S. 2437

Sample Letter

Dear (Insert your Senator’s name.),

I write to express my support for sustained science investment in S. 2437, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act of 2015.

I appreciate the bipartisan manner in which the committee developed this bill and request that Senators oppose amendments that would undermine the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) existing peer review process or cut funding for STEM education, biological, geological, behavioral and social sciences. America’s efforts to innovate and maintain our global competitiveness depend on sustained-federal funding for scientific research.

If enacted, S. 2437 would provide $7.255 billion for NSF, which is $83 million higher than the fiscal year (FY) 2014 enacted funding. This Senate’s budget number is lower than the $7.4 billion included in the CJS House Appropriations bill passed last month. Any further cuts would significantly hinder NSF’s budget capacity to keep pace with inflation.

The legislation also contains $5.4 billion for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a $105 million increase over the FY 2014 enacted level. I urge you to reject any amendments that would cut NOAA’s climate research funding. The data provided from climate research is crucial for management efforts related to drought, flooding, and torrential storms and also helps our nation understand long-term trends in atmospheric changes.

I appreciate Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and House CJS Appropriations Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) for their collaborative bicameral work in supporting sustained investment in federal research. My hope is for a final conference bill, agreed upon by Congress this fall, which sustains critical investment in scientific research that allows our nation to innovate and maintain our global competitiveness.

Sincerely,

(Insert your name.)


Science funding: Weigh in on science funding in House CJS bill

Dear ESA Members:

Today, Wednesday, May 28th, the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debating legislation that would increase funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal year (FY) 2015. We are asking you to contact your legislator today if you agree increased funding for the National Science Foundation is important for ecological science.

Step 1: Write your letter
Step 2:  Email you representative,
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Email Subject Line: Please Support Science in H.R. 4660

Sample Letter

Dear (insert your Congressperson’s name),

I write to express my support for the provision in H.R. 4660, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act of 2015 that provides funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

If enacted, H.R. 4660 would provide $7.4 billion for NSF, which is $237 million higher than its FY 2014 funding and pivotal to keep pace with inflation.

We appreciate the bipartisan manner in which the committee developed this bill and request that Members oppose amendments that cut funding for STEM education, biological, geological, behavioral and social sciences that would undermine America’s efforts to innovate and maintain our global competitiveness.

This legislation contains $5.3 billion for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), virtually equal to the FY 2014 enacted level, however we are concerned that the bill cuts NOAA’s climate research funding to $119 million, which is 24% less that FY14 funding levels of $156.5 million. This research provides data that is crucial in efforts related to management of drought, flooding, and torrential storms and also helps our nation understand long-term trends in atmospheric changes. We urge you to restore the $37.5 million in funding for NOAA’s climate research.

We appreciate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah (D-PA) for their longstanding support for federal research and hope the US Congress will collectively continue to prioritize investments that help inform policy with science.


Science Education (Texas members): Preserve the place of evolution in textbooks

The Ecological Society of America encourages its Texas members to contact their school district’s representative on the State Board of Education regarding several recently passed amendments to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for science. The amendments, which weaken the language used to discuss evolution in textbooks, open the door for creationist ideas by suggesting a scientifically inaccurate level of uncertainty about evolutionary principles. Of particular significance to ecologists are amendments introduced to the TEKS biology section by Board Secretary Terri Leo and Chairman Don McLeroy.

An important board meeting will begin on March 25, so interested individuals should be sure to contact their board members before this date.

When contacting board members, the following talking points may be useful:

McLeroy’s amendment adds a requirement to: “Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.

Why this is scientifically problematic:

  • It contradicts the preceding standard (7A), which states that the fossil record provides “evidence of common ancestry”
  • “Sufficiency or insufficiency” is similar to the “strengths and weaknesses” language recently removed from the standards, and is objectionable for the same reasons: it provides an opening for creationist board members to pressure textbook publishers to include creationist-inspired “weaknesses” of evolution, as occurred in 2003.
  • Explaining “sudden appearance” would require a great deal more detail than is provided or feasible in high school biology courses. Without this background, students could misinterpret “sudden appearance” as evidence of instantaneous creation.
  • In his handout, McLeroy used terms such as “stasis” and “sudden appearance” to promote creationism, suggesting that his proposal to include them in the biology standards was similarly motivated.

View the handout at: http://www.anevolvingcreation.net/collapse/mcleroy_handout.pdf

Leo’s amendments involve inserting the phrase “analyze and evaluate” in place of verbs such as “identify,” “recognize,” and “describe” in existing standards.

Example: Current standard 7B: “Recognize that natural selection produces changes in populations, not individuals.”

Amended standard 7B: “Analyze and evaluate how natural selection produces changes in populations, not individuals.”

Why this is scientifically problematic:

  • “Analyze and evaluate” changes the meaning of important statements, at times introducing ambiguity where it is not appropriate. For example, “natural selection produces changes in populations, not individuals” is empirical fact and needn’t be subjected to analysis or evaluation.
  • The changes single out evolution for special treatment. They were not proposed for any other subjects in the science TEKS, and therefore directly contravene an Attorney General’s opinion that the Board of Education “not single out … a single theory of one scientific field.”

For additional information, please see: http://ncseweb.org/news/2009/01/victory-over-weaknesses-texas-004236

How to contact school board members:

To look up your district’s board member by address, visit http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ and select “State Board of Education.”

Members can be contacted via electronic or standard mail:

Email: Send an email to su.xt.etats.aetnull@troppuseobs. Please note that since all board members share the same address, you will need to specify your member in the subject line. ESA is tracking support for science on this issue and would appreciate receiving a copy of your email at gro.asenull@repip

Standard mail: Postal addresses and numbers for phone and fax are listed at: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/members.html

On January 26th, Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) introduced the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), a bill designed to better control the introduction and establishment of nonnative species in the United States.


Invasive Species: Opportunity to support the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention-Act (HR 669)

On January 26th, Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) introduced the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), a bill designed to better control the introduction and establishment of nonnative species in the United States.

Addressing invasive species is among ESA’s central policy priorities—interested members are encouraged to contact their Representative to request co-sponsorship H.R. 669.

A few highlights:

  • The bill would establish a new risk assessment process in which the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would evaluate the risk posed by nonnative species before allowing them into the country.
  • FWS would, with public input, develop a “green list” of species allowed to be imported. Parties who imported species not on this list would be subject to penalties under the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, although special permits would be issued on a case-by-case basis for species being used for scientific or educational purposes. Import fees and penalties would go towards covering the costs of the risk assessment process.
  • Under current regulations, nonnative species may be imported so long as they are not considered “injurious” under the Lacey Act—that is, unless they have already caused demonstrable harm. H.R. 669 therefore represents a key shift from reactive to proactive policy, allowing FWS to stop nonnative species invasions in many cases before they begin.
  • H.R. 669 was drafted in extensive consultation with the scientific community, including members of ESA.

To view the complete bill, please visit http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.669.IH:

When contacting congressional offices, members may wish to mention the following:

  • Scientists and economists estimate that nonnative species invasions cost the United States more than $123 billion every year. As globalization increases, this figure is expected to rise.
  • Nonnative species have been introduced to ecosystems across all 50 states and U.S. territories, and have in many cases harmed not only local habitats and economies, but also native species and human health. Invasive species may proliferate quickly, spreading disease, damaging property, or leeching resources.
  • Detecting nonnative species invasions early on greatly increases the likelihood of eradication.

Remember to include your home address in your email so your Representative knows that you are a constituent. 


Science Funding: Weigh in on science funding in the economic stimulus package

This week, House appropriators marked up the proposed $825 billion economic stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. Now is a critical juncture for individual scientists to contact their congressional representative and Senators and express their views on the funding proposed for science in the economic stimulus bill. It is significant that science figures so prominently in the proposed bill and Members of Congress need to know that the scientific community is aware and appreciative of their efforts.

As proposed, the bill would provide billions of dollars for science, including $3 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF). The proposed funding for NSF would expand opportunities in fundamental science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and to improve global competitiveness as well as to build major research facilities and improve instruction in science, math, and engineering. The bill also proposes $600 million—primarily for climate research—for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, $600 million for satellites and sensors for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, $200 million to repair and modernize the U.S. Geological Survey, $550 million to the U.S. Forest Service for restoration efforts on non-federal forest ecosystems, to conduct urban tree inventories, and respond to insect and disease threats. The bill also proposes $79 billion for state fiscal relief to prevent cutbacks in key services including local school districts, and public colleges and universities.

The bill is slated for a vote by the full House next week. The Senate has not yet taken up the bill and will likely propose different figures, in some cases possibly lower than those proposed by the House. House Speaker Pelosi has been key in advancing the science portions of this bill and many professional organizations including the Ecological Society of America will be sending letters of thanks.

To identify your congressional representative and send them an email, type in your 9 –digit zip code on this link of the House website: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtm.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!