[ESIP-all] FW: Wrap-Up of Federal Funding for Environmental R&D in FY 2006

Carol B. Meyer carol.meyer at earthsciencefoundation.org
Thu Feb 2 09:14:22 EST 2006

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Subject: [NCSE] Wrap-Up of Federal Funding for Environmental R&D in FY
Wrap-Up of Federal Funding for Environmental R&D in FY 2006
Basic Research Declines in Final Appropriations Bills
January 30, 2006 -- Federal funding for research and development (R&D)
will rise to a record $134.8 billion in FY 2006, an increase of $2.2
billion or 1.7 percent.  Despite this nominal increase, federal funding
for R&D will decline in real dollars (adjusting for inflation) for the
first time in nine years.  Moreover, 97 percent of the nominal increase
is devoted to defense weapons development and human space exploration
technologies.  Federal funding for all other areas of R&D combined will
be nearly flat, falling by about 2 percent after adjusting for
Funding for basic research (excluding development and applied research)
across the entire federal government will decline by $130 million or 0.5
percent to $26.7 billion in FY 2006.  In real dollars, federal funding
for basic research will fall by approximately 2.5 percent in FY 2006.
Several agencies that support environmental R&D are discussed below.  
National Science Foundation (NSF).  After declining last year, the NSF
budget will increase by 2.0 percent or $108 million to $5.6 billion in
FY 2006.  Nearly half of the budget increase reflects the transfer of
$48 million of existing funds from the Coast Guard to cover the costs of
polar icebreakers.  In real dollars, the NSF R&D portfolio in FY 2006 is
smaller than each of the last three years.  The budget for NSF's
Research and Related Activities account is $4.3 billion, an increase of
$111 million or 2.6 percent.  However, much of this increase is for
expenses that are not classified as R&D (e.g., polar icebreaking costs
previously funded by the Coast Guard).  Most of the disciplinary
directorates (e.g., biological sciences and geosciences) are expected to
receive small budget increases, but in real dollars these budgets will
remain below or nearly even with their funding levels in FY 2003 and FY
2004.  NSF's Education and Human Resources budget will be cut by 5.3
percent or $45 million to $797 million.  The budget for Major Research
Equipment and Facilities Construction will increase by 9.9 percent or
$17 million to $191 million.  This program will have no new starts in FY
2006 but it provides funding for four ongoing projects, including
EarthScope and the Scientific Ocean Drilling Vessel.  In FY 2006, the
NSF budget is nearly $3 billion below the level authorized in the
National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002, which called for
doubling the NSF budget in five years.  
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  The USGS budget will increase by 3.6
percent or $34 million to $971 million in FY 2006.  Congress reversed a
small cut that was proposed in the President's budget request and added
additional funding for the USGS.  The budget request would have cut
funding for the USGS minerals research program by more than 50 percent
from $54 million to $25 million.  As in past years, Congress restored
funding for the minerals program, adding back $30 million in FY 2006,
and used strong language in opposing the proposed cuts.  Likewise,
Congress appropriated $6.5 million for the Water Resource Research
Institutes, which have been eliminated in the President's budget request
for many years.  Mapping and Geography R&D will increase by 11 percent
or $4 million to $40 million, restoring funding for land remote sensing
programs.  The USGS biological resources discipline received $4 million
in emergency supplemental funds for research on avian flu, which has the
potential to become a global pandemic.  Although the USGS fared
relatively well in the FY 2006 appropriations process, its budget has
been nearly flat in real dollars for more than a decade.  
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA budget will decline by
$400 million or 5.0 percent to $7.6 billion in FY 2006.  The biggest
change in the EPA budget is a $440 million cut in state and tribal
assistance grants to $3.1 billion, reflecting a reduction in
congressional earmarks for environmental projects.  EPA's Science and
Technology account will decline by $13 million or 1.8 percent to $731
million.  However, the R&D component of the Science and Technology
account will increase by $7 million or 1.3 percent to $541 million.
Funding levels for EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) research
grants and graduate fellowships are not available at this time.  
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The R&D budget
for NOAA will increase by 1.7 percent or $11 million to $661 million in
FY 2006.  However, the increase is due to a $51 million earmark for
Alaskan fisheries and marine mammals R&D, resulting in a net decrease
for all other NOAA R&D programs.  After a tumultuous process, the final
budget for NOAA R&D budget is 23.8 percent higher than the President's
budget request, which called for a cut of $116 million to $534 million.
The R&D budget for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will
increase by 114 percent or $40 million to $103 million.  Excluding the
$51 million increase for the new Alaskan program, there will be a net
decrease in funding for other NMFS programs.  The R&D budget for Oceanic
and Atmospheric Research (OAR) will decrease by 4.8 percent or $16
million to $322 million.  Within OAR, Climate Research will decline by
approximately $21 million to $157 million but research on weather and
air quality will increase by $14 million to $66 million.  Funding for
the National Sea Grant College Program, which provides research grants
to more than 200 universities, will decline by $7 million to $55
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  The budget for
NASA is $16.6 billion in FY 2006, an increase of $400 million or 2.5
percent.  However, $350 million of the increase is for emergency funding
to repair NASA facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  NASA's R&D
budget will increase by 6.2 percent or $661 million to $11.4 billion.
The R&D budget contains enormous increases for developing technologies
needed to replace the Space Shuttle and return humans to the moon and
then onto Mars; the R&D budget for the Constellation Systems program
will increase by 169 percent or $712 million to $1.1 billion in FY 2006.
The budgets for all other NASA R&D programs will have a net decline.
Funding for the Earth-Sun System program, restructured from the former
Earth Science program, will decline by 8.3 percent to $2.1 billion in FY
2006.  Congress has endorsed NASA's proposal to restructure and downsize
its biological and physical sciences research portfolio into a Human
Systems Research and Technology program; the budget for the former
biological and physical sciences research portfolio will decline by 14.4
percent to $791 million.  Significant changes in NASA's budget may occur
during the year due to such factors as the changing Space Shuttle launch
schedule and shifting timelines for completing the International Space
The FY 2006 appropriations process was clouded by a flurry of late bills
that modified the earlier bills.  When the dust settled, all of the
budgets had to be recalculated.  The final appropriations bill contains
a retroactive 1 percent across-the-board cut for almost all agencies.
Conversely, the final bill provides emergency supplemental
appropriations that increased the budgets of some agencies.  This
article, which is based on an analysis of the federal budget conducted
by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is adjusted
to account for multiple recissions and emergency supplemental

Craig M. Schiffries, Ph.D.
Director of Science Policy
National Council for Science and the Environment
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