23 May 2017

AGU Decries Proposed Massive Cuts to Science Agency Funding in Administration’s FY18 Budget Proposal

Posted by Chris McEntee

Earlier today, the Trump administration released its FY18 budget proposal. While details of the budget will continue to be released in the coming days and weeks, AGU issued the following statement in response to the currently available information in which I said the following:

 

“The release of President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal earlier today has drawn into sharp focus a disconnect between our nation’s desire to protect the public from harm and grow our economy, and the Administration’s willingness to make the necessary investments in science to support a healthy and prosperous society. This is particularly troubling because in the budget blueprint released earlier this year, the President stated that his goal was to craft a financial plan that “emphasizes national security and safety” without which “there can be no prosperity.” With extensive cuts and proposed eliminations of entire divisions of agencies, the President’s FY18 proposal instead charts a course of destructive underfunding for scientific agencies that stimulate the economy, protect public safety, and keep our nation safe and secure.

The President’s budget proposes deep cuts to our nation’s leading scientific agencies including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The ramifications of these cuts – which are below the FY17 omnibus levels – will have significant impacts on the health and welfare of the nation. For example, NASA’s Earth Science Mission – which provides critical research and observations that help to protect our national security, public health, and provides important commercial data – faces cuts of 8.7%, including the termination of key Earth observation missions and the phasing out of the NASA Education office. NOAA – which provides weather and climate data that protects the more than half of all American who live along our coasts, over 2.8 million jobs in ocean reliant industries, and coastal property valued in excess of $10 trillion – faces a 16% reduction overall, with deeper cuts to climate and other research programs as well as the elimination of the Sea Grant program.

NSF, which serves as the backbone of our country’s innovation ecosystem by providing funding support for fundamental research and opportunities for thousands of students to pursue careers in STEM fields, is in line for cuts of 11%. Additionally, within DOE, the budget calls for the phase out of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which provides transformational energy research, and cuts the Office of Science – the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences – by 17%. EPA – which conducts research and provides research grants to develop scientific knowledge related to environmental issues facing our nation, including climate change and water quality – would be cut by 29% in the President’s budget.

This budget is only the first step in determining the funding levels for our nation’s science agencies in FY18. We look to our elected officials on both sides of the aisle to craft spending bills that support the work of our invaluable federal science agencies to help ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens. We strongly encourage Congress not to lose sight of science’s game-changing legacy of driving our economy and improving our quality of life. Investing in science today is an investment in our collective future. American families and businesses deserve nothing less.”

 

AGU will work vigorously to communicate the essential value of Earth and space science to Congress and the public. In addition, we will update you as new information becomes available. At the same time, AGU members and concerned citizens must act in support of imperiled agencies – NASA, NOAA, NSF, USGS, DOE, and EPA – by contacting your members of Congress and pressing for funding recommendations that advance continued scientific innovation and excellence.  We also urge you to visit our Science Is Essential resource page where you can learn how to take part in Congressional Visit Days, sign up for Science Policy Alerts, share how your science affects your community and nation, hone your science communications skills, and join our Sharing Science Network.