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FYI Number 155: December 6, 2004

USGS: FY 2005 Funding

The FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill provides essentially flat funding for the U.S. Geological Survey. Total USGS funding would decline 0.2% or $2.3 million from $938.0 million to $935.7 million, after allowing for two across-the-board reductions that were mandated within the bill. Congress is taking final action on this bill today, after which it will be sent to President Bush for his signature.

Below are selections from the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying this bill, as well as the calculated budgets for each of the seven components of the survey's budget. Note that the figures quoted in the selections from this Statement have NOT been reduced by the mandated 1.394% adjustment. The complete legislative language can be viewed under Division E at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app05.html

MAPPING, REMOTE SENSING AND GEOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATIONS: Funding declines by 8.5% or $11.0 million from $129.8 million to $118.8 million (after adjustments.) The Bush Administration requested $118.9 million.

"The managers understand that this decrease will be partially offset by anticipated buyout savings. The managers expect that the Alaska digital data mapping program will continue from within base funding at no less than the fiscal year 2004 enacted level.

"The managers reiterate their concern with the equipment failure on the Landsat 7 satellite, which occurred well over a year ago, and the issues that have arisen as a result. Despite repeated requests from both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, a clear plan has yet to be submitted by the Administration regarding long term USGS satellite operations, nor has an interim solution been offered to address the current funding issues surrounding Landsat 7. The managers are dismayed that the Administration has been unable to provide specific guidance and coordination on an issue that crosses multiple agencies and jurisdictions. Further, the managers object to the notion of continuing to redirect funds from other valuable Survey activities in order to maintain the status quo for a program that is no longer fully functional. The managers expect to see a fiscal year 2006 budget submission that contains a detailed proposal to address the Landsat issue. If, however, a clear plan regarding mission and funding options is not received by June 30, 2005, the managers direct the Department of the Interior to submit a plan for shutdown of the Landsat program. In the meantime, to the extent that buyout savings may be required to contribute to EROS Data Center operations during fiscal year 2005, the mapping program should reserve these funds to do so. The managers expect the Survey to be extremely cautious in expanding its mapping programs or entering into additional cooperative agreements with these monies until it is clear how the Landsat issue will be resolved.

"The managers agree that long-term remote sensing data is vital to many aspects of the government and private sector in the nation. Once again, the managers encourage the Administration to work with NASA and other Federal agencies to place the next generation Landsat sensor in orbit as soon as possible to reduce future gaps in data."

GEOLOGIC HAZARDS, RESOURCES AND PROCESSES: Funding declines by 2.1% or $4.9 million from $234.2 million to $229.3 million, after adjustments. The Administration requested $220.8 million.

The Joint Statement makes specific funding recommendations for the volcano monitoring program, an Alaskan mineral programs, the Advanced National Seismic System program, a landslide program, geothermal assessments, coastal erosion programs, and a subsidence program. It also explains: "The managers agree that the volcano monitoring program is vital to both the safety of citizens living near these areas and the protection of commercial aircraft. Within the funds provided in the conference agreement, the Survey shall continue its ongoing volcanic research and monitoring activities at no less than the fiscal year 2004 enacted level, and should direct increased funding to areas of recent and imminent volcanic activity." In addition, "The managers agree that the amount of funding provided for conducting inquiries into the economic conditions affecting mining and materials processing industries is $15,499,000. This number will no longer appear in bill language."

WATER RESOURCES INVESTIGATIONS: Funding would decline 2.0% or $4.4 million from $215.7 million to $211.3 million, after adjustments. The Administration requested $202.7 million. The Joint Statement makes funding recommendations on several site-specific projects.

BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH: Funding would decline 1.6% or $2.7 million from $174.5 million to $171.8 million, after adjustments. The Administration requested $167.6 million. The Joint Statement makes funding recommendations on several site-specific projects.

ENTERPRISE INFORMATION: This is a new budget category this year. The Administration requested $45.2 million; the bill provides $44.4 million, after adjustments. The Joint Statement explains "Changes to the House level for enterprise information include increases of $500,000 for certification and accreditation of information technology systems, $300,000 for accessible data transfer and $50,000 for the enterprise services network."

SCIENCE SUPPORT: Funding would decline 27.8% or $25.2 million from $90.8 million to $65.6 million, after adjustments. The Administration requested $66.8 million. The Statement only says, "The change to the House level for science support is a decrease of $1,000,000 for financial management improvements."

FACILITIES: Funding would increase 1.6% or $1.5 million from $93.0 million to $94.5 million, after adjustments. The Administration requested $95.9 million. The Joint Statement explains: "There are no changes to the House funding level for facilities activities. The conference agreement also retains language proposed in the House bill designating $1,600,000 from within amounts provided to remain available until expended for deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects exceeding $100,000. The managers have not agreed to provide base funding to the Lake Ponchartrain restoration project."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
301-209-3095

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