Department of Energy (DOE). Natural gas
and petroleum research are slated for elimination in the Presidentís request.
Geothermal and hydropower research would get a boost. Geoscience research within
the Basic Energy Sciences account would increase as part of the American Competitiveness
Initiative (ACI) and the America COMPETES Act.
- U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS). The President has requested
a 3.8 percent decline for the survey.† Similar
to the Presidentís last two requests, the minerals program is poised to take a
major cut. Funding for hazards and water programs would be cut significantly.
National Science Foundation (NSF). The
Geosciences Directorate is funded at a 13 percent increase over FY 2008. The Major
Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account would be cut by 33 percent,
deferring the development of the Alaska Regional Research Vessel and the Ocean
Observatories Initiative (OOI).
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA). Earth Systematic Missions is slated for a 28 percent increase to maintain
more than a dozen Earth-observing satellites and continue the implementation of
the Landsat Data Continuity Mission and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission
(GPM). The high-priority missions of the National Academies decadal survey will
receive a $70 million increase, offset by large funding cuts to other Earth science
Earth sciences cover a broad range of the R&D spectrum, running the gamut
from fundamental research into the internal processes of Earthís interior to highly
applied, interdisciplinary investigations that address energy resources, water
resources, land-use practices, natural hazards, and environmental issues. Although
this chapter focuses on Earth science programs in four key departments and agencies,
Earth science activities can be found in 16 other departments and agencies.
Table 1: Budget
request for principal agencies and programs supporting earth-science R&D (budget
authority in millions of dollars).
/ Program††††††††††††††††††††††††† FY 2007††††††††† FY 2008††††††††† FY 2009††††† % Change
actual††††††††† enacted†††††††††† request†††††††† FY 08-09
Basic Energy Sciences
Chemical Sciences, Geosciences
Energy Biosciences††††††††††††††††††††††††† 217††††††††††††††††† 223††††††††††††††††† 297††††††††††††† +33%
Fossil Energy R&D
†Natural Gas Research†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 12†††††††††††††††††††
20†††††††††††††††††††† --†††††††††††† -100%
†Petroleum Research††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3†††††††††††††††††††††
5†††††††††††††††††††† --†††††††††††† -100%
Efficiency & Renewable Energy
--††††††††††††††††††† 20††††††††††††††††††† 30††††††††††††† +52%
of the Interior
Geological Survey*†††††††††††††††††††† 976†††††††††††††† 1,006††††††††††††††††† 969††††††††††††††††
†Geologic Division* ††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 237††††††††††††††††
243†††††††††††††††† 208††††††††††††† -14%
†Water Resources Div.* ††††††††††††††††††††† 215††††††††††††††††
221†††††††††††††††† 203†††††††††††††††† -8%
1,199†††††††††††††† 1,280†††††††††††††† 1,368††††††††††††††† +7%
- Geosciences Directorate††††††††††††††††††††
746††††††††††††††††† 753††††††††††††††††† 849††††††††††††† +13%
†Earth Sciences Division†††††††††††††††††††† 153†††††††††††††††† 156†††††††††††††††† 178†††††††††††† +14%
Agency budget materials and Office of Management and Budget.
* - Includes non-R&D components.
budget favors Earth science research associated with several broad-based initiatives.
Basic Earth science research within the Office of Science in the Department of
Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive increases
associated with the Presidentís ACI and the America COMPETES Act of 2007.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) would receive small increases for specific initiatives, however the USGS
budget would decrease by almost 4 percent and the NOAA budget cannot keep pace
with R&D needs as costs rise and research funds are redirected to satellite
climate change, energy resources and natural hazards have remained in the spotlight
for the public and policymakers, Earth science R&D to address these issues
is woefully under funded, even with the increases highlighted in this report.
Earth science funding at NASA has decreased by 30 percent since 2000 and although
more funding will be requested for FY 2009 for Earth observing satellites, the
removal of key instruments and launch delays will limit NASAís abilities to provide
observations that address climate change and other issues. Non-defense energy
R&D at DOE has also declined by 85 percent since 1978, limiting the nationís
capacity to diversify our energy resource portfolio and provide the advances needed
for a secure and clean energy future. Overall, rising fixed costs, rising operating
costs, cost overruns on some major projects and steady under funding of mission
objectives means that vital Earth science R&D is not being completed in a
Department of Energy (DOE)
Energy R&D: The Office of Fossil
Energy has tended to focus on coal R&D over the past few years, while decreasing
spending on petroleum and natural gas R&D. This yearís request eliminates
the natural gas technologies and the petroleum/oil technologies programs that
previously supported fundamental research and future innovations in oil and natural
gas exploration, drilling, and production. More than a dozen universities and
many national laboratories will lose all of their research funding for these projects.
The Coal Technology program would receive $632.7 million, an increase of 28 percent,
while the Presidentís Clean Coal Power Initiative would increase 23 percent to
$85 million.† FutureGen would receive $156 million, however
the project has been significantly restructured. FutureGen was to consist of a
single plant to demonstrate the co-production of hydrogen and electricity from
a clean coal-fired facility in Illinois but, due to estimated cost increases, DOE decided to
divert the funds to multiple demonstration projects. The request also calls for
$30 million in new funds for carbon dioxide capture and storage R&D in Fossil
Energy and $5.5 million in new funds within the Office of Science, to partially
satisfy authorizations in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Energy Sciences: Earth science research resides within the Chemical Science,
Geosciences, and Energy Biosciences program of the Basic Energy Sciences within
the Office of Science. This program provides peer-reviewed grants to universities
and DOE national laboratories for fundamental Earth science research in geochemistry,
hydrology, rock mechanics, and geophysical imaging. The FY 2009 request is $297
million, an increase of 33 percent. The $7.5 million increase specifically for the Geoscience
research program is focused on solid earth geophysics and geochemistry for understanding
of the stability and transformation of deep carbon sequestration, nanoscale geochemistry,
chemical imaging, experimental and theoretical studies of complex subsurface fluids
and mid-scale instrumentation.†
Geothermal: The geothermal research program within the Renewable Energy
account, which funds Earth science research in materials, geofluids, geochemistry,
geophysics, rock properties, reservoir modeling, and seismic mapping, would receive
$30 million in the Presidentís budget.† The increase of 51 percent comes one year after
the Administration proposed to terminate the program. The new funds satisfy in part an authorization in the
Energy Independence and Security Act.
Yucca Mountain Site Characterization: Yucca Mountain was approved for development in
2002 and DOE had to delay its request for a site license for construction in 2004.
Submission of the license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is
expected in 2008. Spending in FY 2009 will focus on the departmentís defense of
the license application, planning facilities for the receipt of spent nuclear
fuel and high-level radioactive waste transportation development and emergency
and security planning. Overall, the Yucca Mountain project would receive $495 million,
an increase of about $108 million.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Presidentís request for the USGS is $969 million, a decrease of 3.8 percent from
the current budget of $1.0 billion.† Projects
highlighted this year include two new initiatives, Water for America and Birds Forever as well as the continuation of the
Healthy Lands initiative and the Ocean and Coastal Frontiers initiative in support
of the U.S. Ocean Action Plan.
programs would receive $208 million, a 14 percent decrease. The Mineral Resources
Program, the sole federal provider of scientific information for objective mineral
resource assessments and unbiased research results on mineral potential, production,
consumption, and environmental effects, is again slated for a cut of about $25
million or 48 percent. This large reduction would terminate or limit research
on industrial minerals, research on inorganic toxins, the Mineral Resources External
Research program and the internationally coordinated global mineral resource assessment;
it would also eliminate more than 200 full-time USGS positions at facilities in
Denver and Menlo Park, among others. The program will focus on funding for
minerals surveys and studies relevant to ongoing federal land management, regulatory,
and remediation activities.
for USGS natural hazards programs would also decline. The Earthquakes program
would get the largest reduction of 9 percent, with a $3 million decline in the
external grants program, resulting in the loss of 20 systematic analyses generated
by USGS scientists, a potential reduction in the delivery of urban seismic hazard
maps, and fewer awards than the 100 awards typically funded each year.
The FY 2009
budget would provide $2 million for the U.S. National Land Imaging Program (NLIP)
in the Department of the Interior. The new program office would assume management
control of civilian U.S. land imaging satellites to ensure consistent planning
and budgeting for future land imaging missions. The Landsat missions would be
managed from this new program office.
water programs would receive $203 million, a decline of 8 percent. The request
establishes a new water initiative, Water for America, which would increase funding for the National Cooperative
Geologic Mapping Program by $1.5 million, increase the Ground-Water Resources
Program by $3 million and raise the National Streamflow Information Program by
$5.3 million.† NSF is also part of the water initiative and
would receive $5.3 million in new funding for the Dynamics of Water Processes
program. Once again the 54 State Water Resources Research Institutes, which received
about $6 million in FY 2008, are slated for termination; this would result in
the loss of support for over 250 research projects and the training of 600 students.
The President requested $54 million for the National Water Quality Assessment
program, a decline of $11 million from this yearís level.†
budget includes an increase of $7 million for USGS to continue its efforts in
the U.S. Ocean Action Plan with NOAA and other agencies.† The Coastal and Marine Geology Program would
receive $47.4 million, up $6.8 million, with much of the increase for data collection
along the Arctic Continental Shelf to determine energy and mineral rights.
also restructured its climate change R&D, creating a Global Change program
with a request of $26.6 million, plus $5 million more to the Geographic and Biologic
divisions.† About $1 million will be used
to initiate a plan for a national assessment of carbon capture and storage reservoirs
and about $1 million will be directed to the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping
program. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the USGS to
conduct a carbon storage assessment, but the requested funding is insufficient
to begin it.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Geosciences Directorate (GEO) would receive $848.7 million, an increase of 12.8
percent or $96 million. The majority of the solid Earth science research within
GEO is funded through the Earth Science Division (EAR) that has requested $177.7
million, up 13.9 percent.† Much of the $21
million increase would be directed toward EarthScope operations and maintenance.
EarthScopeócomprised of the U.S. Seismic Array (USArray), the San Andreas Fault
Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), and the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO)ówould receive
$26.3 million (up $8.7 million) for operations and scientific support.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Science Mission Directorate (SMD) would receive $4.4 billion in FY 2009, a decline
of 6 percent. However, the Earth Science Division (ESD) within SMD is slated for
$1.4 billion, a 7 percent increase. †ESD has 13 operational missions on orbit, 5 missions
in development, and 2 missions in formulation. The 7 percent increase will be
devoted primarily to the implementation of the Earth Systematic Missionsóthe NPOESS
Preparatory Project (NPP), the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), the Global
Precipitation Measurement (GPM), and at least three decadal survey missions by
2013. Even with the increases, many of these missions have been pared down and
most will have delayed launch dates. While Earth science research will be increased
by 1.3 percent or $4.8 million, all other programs will see large cuts; the Multi-Mission
Operations will decline by 16 percent, the Earth System Science Pathfinder, which
includes the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) and Aquarius, will decrease by
22 percent, and Earth Science Technology and Applied Sciences will fall 3 percent
and 26 percent, respectively.