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Administration Requests an Increase for USGS in FY 2013

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) request for FY 2013 is $1.1 billion, a $34.5 million increase over FY 2012. At a 14 February budget briefing, USGS Director Marcia McNutt explained the difficult choices that were made in the tight budget environment, noting that targeted decreases were necessary to make room for priorities, which include programs that protect lives and human property, long-term monitoring, and R&D.

Increases are seen for programs supporting the Department of the Interior’s New Energy Frontier initiative. USGS is requesting a $1 million increase for wind energy studies and a $13 million increase for hydraulic fracturing. Total funding for the study to "understand and minimize potential adverse environmental, health, and safety impacts of shale gas development through hydraulic fracturing," would be $45 million, divided between the USGS, EPA, and the Dept. of Energy. Within another DOI initiative focused on Water Challenges, USGS increases will support WaterSMART and establish a National Groundwater Monitoring Network.

In the mission areas, Ecosystems would receive $178 million, a more than 10% increase over FY12. Increases are slated for ecosystem restoration in Chesapeake Bay, the California Bay Delta, Puget Sound, and the Columbia River; invasive species research in the Everglades and programs related to Asian carp; and research on white-nose syndrome in bats, corals reef health, and invasive brown tree snakes.

Climate and Land Use Change would receive $154 million, a nearly 7% increase. The largest increase is seen in the Climate Variability subaccount, which would increase $8.8 million to $67.7 million. DOI Climate Science Centers are fully funded, and increases are proposed for carbon sequestration. The Land Use Change request is $86 million. Landsat would receive $53.3 million, which includes funding to complete the Landsat Data Continuing Missions/Landsat 8 Ground System. USGS is continuing to work with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop future cost-efficient alternatives for Landsat 9, with $250,000 to continue planning. McNutt stated that the administration is committed to finding a solution to continue a land imaging program.

Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health would increase 1% to $97 million. In addition to the DOI initiatives, the request includes an increase for rare earth elements. McNutt spoke to the importance of minerals in the economy and noted increases within this mission area for minerals research.

Natural Hazards would increase $11 million to $145 million. The budget request contains increases for improving rapid response to disasters, research on East Coast earthquakes, and coastal initiatives. Cuts are proposed for volcano hazards research and coastal and marine geology.

Water Resources would decrease 2.4% to $210 million. Cuts are proposed for the Cooperative Water Program, water resource research account, and hydrologic networks and analysis.

Core Science Systems would increase 12.1% to $120 million. As part of the alignment of USGS programs to match the Science Strategy, the request includes merging the Biological Information Management and Delivery subactivity with the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation subactivity into a new program titled Science Synthesis, Analysis, and Research.

The request includes $99.1 million for Administration and Enterprise Information, which is an $11.2 million decrease from FY12. The budget requests $99.7 million for Facilities, which is $704,000 below FY 2012. Fixed costs of $10.8 million are fully funded in the budget.

Full budget details are available on the USGS website.