(This analysis is a preview of the
EPA section in the forthcoming AAAS Report XXXIII: Research and Development
FY 2009, a comprehensive look at the President's budget for R&D in FY
2009. This analysis contains revised AAAS estimates of EPA R&D, different
from figures originally presented in the President's budget. More tables and continually
updated supplemental materials on R&D in the FY 2009 budget can be found on
the AAAS R&D Web site at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd.)
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)
R&D portfolio of $541 million in 2009 would be a $7 million or 1.3 percent
cut from the 2008 funding level (see Table II-17),
with flat funding or cuts to most research areas partially offset by increases
for homeland security-related research.
- EPA’s R&D funding
would fall to the lowest level in more than two decades (since 1985) in real terms.
EPA R&D in the FY 2009 Budget
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the primary regulatory agency for the U.S.
environment, funds a broad portfolio of R&D to meet the science and technology
needs of its regulatory and enforcement responsibilities. The FY 2009 request
would continue the trends of recent years by cutting EPA’s R&D funding by
$7 million or 1.3 percent to $541 million (see Table
II-17). Nearly all EPA research areas would decline.
R&D is managed by its Office of Research and Development (ORD), which funds
both R&D at EPA laboratories around the country and external R&D. Nearly
all of EPA’s R&D funding comes from the Science and Technology (S&T) budget
account, which would total $764 million in 2009, up slightly from the final 2008
funding level. R&D funding makes up two-thirds of the S&T account. Subtracting
non-R&D items such as critical infrastructure protection, operating overhead
costs, and clean air standards and certification activities leaves an R&D
portfolio of $513 million from S&T, down $7 million of which $4 million would
be from the elimination of 2008 earmarks (see Table II-17). ORD also receives
R&D funding from the Superfund program (up $1 million to $26 million) for
hazardous wastes research, and small amounts of funding from other EPA accounts.
for nearly all EPA research areas would decline in the 2009 budget (see Table
II-17). Clean air research would fall $3 million to $97 million after Congress
added funds in 2008 appropriations. EPA’s contribution to global change research
would continue to slide, down to $16 million from a congressionally boosted $20
million. The clean air portfolio tries to understand the composition and effects
of air pollution and to develop technologies for reducing it, and also funds research
on related topics such as the health effects of fine particles in the atmosphere.
Human health and ecosystems research, the largest part of the ORD portfolio, would
fall $6 million to $217 million, with an increase in the computational toxicology
program to $15 million offset by cuts in other areas such as endocrine disrupting
chemicals and human health and ecosystems protection. Within this portfolio, fellowships
funding would fall $1 million to $9 million.
security related R&D, a growth area in recent years, would increase from $31
million to $37 million. Some of this effort is devoted to protecting drinking
water supplies against terrorist attack through vulnerability assessments and
a laboratory network for surveillance. This portfolio also funds EPA’s National
Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) to conduct R&D on a wide variety
of terrorist threats that may have an impact on the natural environment, such
as radiation, drinking water contamination, and the environmental impacts of cleanup
technologies after a terrorist attack.
on the image for PDF)
Outlook and Impacts for the EPA Budget
research in general and EPA R&D in particular would fall steeply in the 2009
budget within a tight overall domestic budget. In inflation-adjusted dollars,
EPA R&D would fall to the lowest funding level in more than two decades
(since 1985) if the FY 2009 budget becomes final. EPA’s R&D support has
been declining steadily for the past few years after steady growth in the late
1990s (see Figure 1). EPA R&D fell in FY 2000, and has eroded in inflation-adjusted
dollars since then except for a boost in FY 2004 for homeland security-related
basic and applied research support (excluding development and R&D facilities)
comprises the large majority (80 percent) of EPA’s R&D. The life sciences
(primarily biology and environmental biology) and the environmental sciences dominate
the EPA research portfolio, with significant support for engineering as well.
Although EPA is the major environmental regulatory agency in the federal government,
many other agencies have environmental responsibilities related to research, resource
stewardship, and economic management of the environment, so EPA is a relatively
small funding source for environmental R&D. In the environmental sciences,
EPA accounts for only 4 percent of total federal support, while in the life sciences
EPA funds just 1 percent.
than three quarters of EPA’s R&D is performed in the agency’s own laboratories
(see Figure 2). About 13 percent of EPA’s R&D is performed by colleges and
universities. The remainder is performed by nonprofit institutions, industrial
firms, and state and local governments.
Figure 2. (click on the image for
Congress will try its best to boost the 2009 request when it begins the FY 2009
appropriations process in late spring, congressional add-ons may end up going
to earmarked projects rather than to boost core EPA research programs, leaving
most EPA research on a downward path.
(More materials on R&D in the
FY 2009 budget, historical data and charts, and more information on AAAS Report
XXXIII: Research and Development FY 2009, can be found on the AAAS R&D
Web site at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd.)
February 20, 2008
AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program
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Washington, DC 20005
AAAS R&D Web site: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd