Tagged: Budget

A Saildrone Unmanned Surface Vehicle. (Credit: Saildrone)

Vessels Without People And A Panel Without NOAA

Hurricanes this century have cost thousands of Americans their lives and billions of dollars in damage; Hurricane Katrina alone killed 1,833 people and cost the government $108 billion. Weather forecasting is of utmost importance to save lives, property, and money, especially in light of the changing climate. In a hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Environment, scientists and professionals in the environmental technology industry discussed the potential for public-private partnerships to strengthen weather forecasting and to improve oceanic data collection.

Dr. William Easterling will lead the Geosciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation starting in June 2017. (Credit: NSF)

Skinny Science Budget: Not a Good Model

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports critical and potentially life-saving research across the United States, such as studies to predict risks associated with earthquakes and tsunamis along the Cascadia subduction zone. The president’s budget recommendation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 for NSF is $6.65 billion, an 11 percent decrease from the enacted budget for FY 2017. This is the only time a president has ever proposed a cut to the agency’s top line in its 67-year history.

Red snapper (credit: Wikipedia commons)

Red Snapper And Proposed Budget Cuts Snap Attention Of Senators During Appropriations Committee Hearing

The Department of Commerce (DOC) touches your life in more ways than you’d imagine, impacting areas from trade to economic development to weather forecasting. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science held a hearing to discuss the president’s budget recommendations for the DOC for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Senators from both sides of the aisle were concerned with the proposed steep cuts, which represent a 15.8 percent decrease from FY 2017 enacted levels and highlighted programs, including Sea Grant, that have tremendous returns on investment for their states.

A true-color NASA satellite mosaic of Earth. (Credit: NASA)

Proposed NASA Budget Aims For Mars But Misses Earth

Imagine what our knowledge of the world today would be like without satellite images of Earth. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Earth Sciences mission has fundamentally altered and improved our understanding of the atmosphere, ocean, land, weather, climate, and ecosystems – and now, the resources that support this science are under attack.

Deficiencies in offshore drilling management highlighted in House committee hearing. (Credit: Adam Dean/New York Times)

Is This What A Balanced Budget Looks Like?

Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Ryan Zinke had his hands full fielding concerns from Democrats and Republicans as he defended the president’s budget request for the DOI in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. While he called the proposal one that “reflects the Administration’s commitment to strengthen America’s economic and energy security, focus on the nation’s infrastructure, be responsible stewards of magnificent lands, encourage public access for outdoor recreation, and strengthen tribal sovereignty and support self-determination,” Ranking Member Betty McCollum (MN-4) called the president’s proposal (which cuts DOI by 13 percent ($1.6 billion) and funding for climate change research and mitigation by 80 percent) “unacceptable.”

(Click to enlarge) U.S. Coast Guard. (Credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Operating On A Shoestring

In the dead of night, Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class Darren Harrity swam steadily through 57-degree water, fighting five-foot waves and 30 mph winds. After a hoisting mechanism malfunctioned during a search-and-rescue operation, the rescue swimmer was forced to make four trips to pull as many men 250 yards to shore. His story was highlighted by Mr. John Acton (Chairman, Coast Guard Affairs Committee, Navy League of the United States) during a hearing reviewing U.S. Coast Guard infrastructure, improvements, and funding before the House Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed two bipartisan bills. (Credit: Wikimedia commons)

May’s Legislative Roundup

May brought with it the enactment of a bill seven months in the making — the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 244). While there was not much movement of science-related bills on the chamber floors, members introduced a flurry of new legislation relevant to the ocean science and technology community.

Coast Guardsmen use a flat-bottom boat to assist residents during severe flooding around Baton Rouge, LA on Aug. 14, 2016. (Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles/Coast Guard)

Coast Guard And FEMA Bills On The Move

While most eyes last week were on news from the White House – the president’s budget request – Congress was still at work moving bills of its own. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed two bipartisan bills – the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2518) and the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2548).

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to examine this overhead cost of federally-funded science research at universities (Credit: Getty Images)

The Indirect Costs Of Research

Science is hard enough, now imagine pipetting in the dark or using a microscope for advanced research that’s better suited for a fourth-grade class. To cover the “indirect” costs of doing federally-funded research, such as paying for laboratory bills, disposing of hazardous waste, and complying with federal regulations, each university and the government determine an overhead rate for research projects. Last week, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to examine this overhead cost of federally-funded science research at universities.


President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2018 Released — With Deep Cuts To Ocean And Geoscience Programs

As the clock struck 11 on Capitol Hill yesterday morning, thousands of people hit “refresh” on their computers, eagerly waiting for the first glimpse of A New Foundation For American Greatness, the president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget Request. For those seeking federal investment in areas such as scientific research, education, environmental conservation, infrastructure, public health, law enforcement, and even aspects of national security, they were sorely disappointed.