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FYI Number 116: July 29, 2005

FY 2006 USGS Appropriations Blll Complete

The first appropriations bill to be completed and voted on in the FY 2006 budget cycle was the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. H.R. 2361, approved yesterday evening by a vote of 410 yes to 10 no, provides funding for the U.S. Geological Survey. This bill, which is now on the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote, and which will then be sent to President George Bush, provides an overall increase of 4.2% or $39.5 million. The Bush Administration had requested a 0.2% or $2.0 million reduction from the current budget of $935.5 million to $933.6 million.

See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/021.html for a review of the budget request.
See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/074.html for a review of the House version of this bill.
See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/090.html for a review of the Senate version of this bill.

The full text of conference report 109-188 pertaining to the USGS follows. Program headings have been capitalized.

"SURVEYS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND RESEARCH

"The conference agreement provides $976,035,000 for surveys, investigations, and research instead of $974,586,000 as proposed by the House and $963,057,000 as proposed by the Senate.

"MAPPING, REMOTE SENSING AND GEOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATIONS. The change to the House level for mapping, remote sensing and geographic investigations is a decrease of $2,000,000 for the Landsat program.

"The managers direct the Survey to offset the decrease with reductions in travel, administrative streamlining and buyout savings throughout the Bureau.

"GEOLOGIC HAZARDS, RESOURCES AND PROCESSES. Changes to the House level for geologic hazards, resources and processes include increases of $500,000 for Alaska gas hydrates, and decreases of $648,000 for Florida shelf research, $412,000 for Puget Sound and $1,134,000 for Alaska mineral assessments.

"The managers strongly disagree with the Administration's proposed reductions to the minerals assessment program and believe it is irresponsible for the Administration to decrease or eliminate funding for what is clearly an inherently Federal responsibility. The conference agreement restores funding for this vital program to the enacted level.

"WATER RESOURCES INVESTIGATIONS. Changes to the House level for water resources investigations include increases of $500,000 for the Memphis aquifer study, $230,000 for the Ozark aquifer study, $1,250,000 to continue Tar Creek remediation with the University of Oklahoma, $900,000 for coalbed methane research on the Tongue River, $450,000 for water monitoring in Hawaii, $295,000 for Lake Champlain monitoring and a decrease of $450,000 for the San Pedro partnership.

"The managers are concerned by continuing reports that suggest the Survey's water resources program 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 managers have previously encouraged the Survey to use the services of the private sector in the conduct of its activities wherever feasible, cost effective, and consistent with the quality standards and principles pertaining to the effective performance of governmental functions. The managers expect that the Survey should strive to implement such a policy to the best of its ability in the performance of its work.

"The managers agree that if the San Francisco South Bay salt ponds project is a priority for the Survey, additional funding should be requested in future budgets.

"The managers agree to continue the Lake Champlain monitoring and research assessment activities and have included increased funding of $295,000 to restore the program to the enacted level. Future budget requests should include sufficient funds for these operations.

"The managers agree that the Survey's participation in the Long Term Estuary Assessment program should be continued at the current year enacted level.

"BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH. Changes to the House level for biological research include increases of $100,000 for the invasive species initiative, $350,000 to complete the Mark Twain National Forest mining study, $800,000 for molecular biology research at the Leetown Science Center, $200,000 for the multidisciplinary water study at Leetown Science Center, $350,000 for pallid sturgeon research, $200,000 for the diamondback terrapin study, $400,000 to complete the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem study in Montana, $55,000 to restore the base funding for Cooperative Research Units, $400,000 for remote survey and monitoring equipment for the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas, $200,000 for the University of Missouri-Columbia to establish a wetland ecology center for excellence, and decreases of $150,000 for a database of invasive species on national wildlife refuges and $185,000 for equipment for the Anadromous Fish Research Center.

"The managers have included a portion of the requested funding increase for the invasive species initiative and direct the Survey to fund the leafy spurge eradication program proposed in the request.

"The managers have included funding for ivory-billed woodpecker survey efforts in Arkansas. The funding should be used in collaboration with Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct aerial and ground surveys using remote video and acoustic technologies.

"The managers understand funding provided to the University of Missouri-Columbia for the establishment of a wetland ecology center of excellence should be used for one-time start-up costs and this funding will not be included in future appropriations.

"The managers remain concerned about the National Biological Information Infrastructure program. No clearly coordinated budgetary and programmatic plan has emerged for its expansion, and the managers remain concerned about the reason an Internet-based program that hosts biological information must be geographically distributed.

"The managers understand that the multidisciplinary water study at Leetown Science Center is nearing completion. The Survey should provide a brief report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations by December 31, 2005, evaluating the research that has been conducted to date and outlining what, if any, issues remain to be addressed in order to finish the project.

"SCIENCE SUPPORT. The change to the House level for science support is a decrease of $2,000,000 for the Landsat program.

"The managers direct the Survey to offset the decrease with reductions in travel, administrative streamlining and buyout savings throughout the Bureau.

"Bill Language.--The conference agreement modifies language included in both the House and Senate bills allowing the Survey to publish and disseminate data.

"Administrative Provisions

"The conference agreement includes language proposed by the Senate that contained minor technical differences from the House."

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

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