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FYI Number 132: October 25, 2001

FY 2002 USGS Appropriation Bill Nearing Completion

Within the next few days the Senate will vote on the final version of the FY 2002 Interior Department Appropriations Bill that contains funding for the U.S. Geological Survey. H.R 2217 will then be sent to President Bush for his signature. The House passed this bill by an overwhelming majority last week. There is relatively good news to report about the USGS portion of the bill. Despite the Administration's request that the Survey's budget be cut by more than $69 million, the final bill increases the budget by $31 million.

Appropriators on both sides of the Capitol indicated their disagreement with the budget request at hearings earlier this year. Key senators expressed concerns to Interior Secretary Gale Norton about the proposed 7.9% cut to USGS, with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) questioning the "serious" impact the proposed reduction would have on USGS programs. House appropriators were also critical of the request; a senior Republican urged Norton to "rethink" the budget (see FYI #57). Committee report language issued this summer voiced support for the Survey, and both House and Senate versions of the bill increased proposed funding (see FYI #84).

A table of fine print in the back of the Interior conference report (House Report 107-234) details the increases for various programs, as follows:

Total, USGS: Up 3.5%, or $31.2 million, from $882.8 million to $914.0 million.

National Mapping Program: Up 2.2%, or $2.9 million, from $130.4 million to $133.3 million.

Geologic Hazards, Resource & Processes: Up 3.3%, or $7.5 million, from $225.3 million to $232.8 million.

Water Resources Investigation: Up 1.1%, or $2.3 million, from $203.5 million to $205.8 million.

Biological Research: Up 3.6%, or $5.8 million, from $160.6 million to $166.4 million.

Science Support: Up 17.0%, or $12.5 million, from $73.7 million to $86.3 million.

Facilities: Up 0.2%, or $206,000, from $89.2 million to $89.4 million.

Conference report language specified spending for selected national mapping, geology, and water resources programs. The appropriators also specify that the National Academy of Sciences be contracted to "examine water resources research funded by all Federal agencies and by significant non-Federal organizations. . . . it appears that water resources research is not well coordinated." The appropriators "would like an answer to the question of whether the Nation is making an adequate level of investment in water resources research."

Congress hopes to conclude work on the remaining appropriations bill within the next two weeks.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095

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