Late last week, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2361, the
FY 2006 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Appropriations Bill. The House action rejects the Bush Administration's
proposal to reduce funding for the U.S. Geological Survey, voting to
increase the survey's funding by 4.1% or $38.1 million over this year.
Under this legislation, which has been sent to the Senate, funding would
increase from this year's budget of $936.5 million to $974.6 million.
The Administration had requested that the survey's budget be cut to
The Interior appropriations subcommittee is chaired by Charles Taylor
(R-NC); the Ranking Member is Norman Dicks (D-WA). The subcommittee's
report, House Report 109-080, (see http://thomas.loc.gov)
sets forth funding levels for various USGS programs. Selections from
the report language follow:
MAPPING, REMOTE SENSING, & GEOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATIONS:
Funding would increase 12.1% or $14.4 million, from $118.8 million
to $133.2 million. The Administration requested $139.5 million. The
report states: "The change to the request is a reduction of
$250,000 for the science impact proposal. The Committee commends the
Survey and the Administration for finally providing a detailed proposal
to continue existing Landsat satellite operations and implement the
Landsat Data Continuity Mission, which will place the next generation
Landsat sensor in orbit. Long-term remote sensing data are vital to
many aspects of the government and private sector and are strongly supported
by this Committee."
GEOLOGIC HAZARDS, RESOURCES AND PROCESSES:
Funding would increase 4.4% or $10.0 million from $229.3 million to
$239.3 million. The Administration requested $208.1 million. The report
states: "Changes from the request include increases of $250,000
for the global dust study, $1,248,000 for Florida shelf research, $28,478,000
for mineral research and assessments and $1,134,000 for Alaska mineral
resource assessments. The Committee strongly disagrees with the proposed
reduction in the Survey's mineral resources program. Minerals and mineral
products are important to the U.S. economy, with processed minerals
adding billions of dollars to the economy. Mineral commodities are essential
to both national security and infrastructure development. Mineral resources
research and assessments are a core responsibility of the Survey. The
Committee does not agree that objective data on mineral commodities
can be generated in the private sector."
WATER RESOURCES INVESTIGATIONS:
Funding would increase 0.3% or $0.6 million from $211.2 million to
$211.8 million. The Administration had requested $204.2 million. The
report states: "Changes from the request include $230,000 for
the base toxic hydrology program, $100,000 for the Hood Canal dissolved
oxygen study, $750,000 for the San Pedro partnership, and $6,500,000
for the water resource research institutes.
"The Committee is concerned with reports that suggest that
the Water Resource Division (WRD) of the Survey is providing or seeking
to provide a variety of commercial services to Federal and non-Federal
entities in direct competition with the private sector. The Committee
strongly discourages WRD from providing commercially available services
to Federal and non-Federal entities through its cooperative water program
unless these services are performed by a private sector firm under contract
with the Survey or the entity with which the Survey has entered into
a cooperative agreement. The Committee encourages the Survey to focus
its efforts on carrying out its important mission of serving as a national
database for hydrologic data, theory, and research. The Survey should
submit a report to the House Committee on Appropriations by December
31, 2005, regarding its past, present and future efforts to avoid competing
with the private sector.
"The committee agrees with the proposed increase for the water
availability project. The Committee expects the Survey to continue with
this important program and establish a second pilot project, as outlined
in the Survey's November 2003 implementation plan. The Committee urges
the Administration to request funding in future budgets to expand this
program for other areas of the Country."
Funding would increase 1.8% or $3.1 million from $171.7 million to
$174.8 million. The administration requested $173.0 million. The report
states: "Changes to the request include increases of $1,430,000
for the Great Lakes Science Center for safety needs associated with
the docking of the research vessel Kiyi, $150,000 for invasive species
database coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $500,000
for manatee research, $335,000 for equipment at the anadromous fish
lab, $250,000 for the Tunison lab, $175,000 for the Potomac snakehead
program, $200,000 for the Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center,
$400,000 to restore funding for the Nebraska Fish and Wildlife Cooperative
Unit, and decreases of $550,000 for the science on the DOI landscape
initiative, $750,000 for Glen Canyon adaptive management, and $300,000
for invasive species."
Funding would increase 6.1% or $2.7 million from $44.4 million to $47.1
million. The administration requested $47.8 million. The report states:
"The change to the budget request is a decrease of $680,000 for
the disaster.gov' initiative."
Funding would increase 10.2% or $6.7 million from $65.6 million to
$72.3 million. The Administration requested $66.3 million. There was
no explanatory report language.
Funding would increase 1.7% or $1.6 million from $94.6 million to $96.2
million. The Administration requested $94.7 million. The report stated:
"The change to the request is an increase of $1,471,000 to restore
rental payments associated with the mineral assessments program."