Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Congress agrees on USGS FY2012 appropriation

Here is the text of the Joint Statement of Managers from the House/Senate conference for the Interior Appropriations bill for the 2012 fiscal year:

Of particular importance to State Geological Surveys is the restoration of the proposed budget to the National Geological & Geophysical Data Preservation Program. AZGS is currently receiving matching funds under this program to digitize and archive the historic mining and mineral resource files we inherited with the merger of the AZ Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources. Also, some of the proposed cuts to the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program were restored. AZGS puts up matching funds to this competitive program, which is the primary geologic mapping effort in the state.


The bill provides $1,069,744,000 for Surveys, Investigations, and Research of the U.S.
Geological Survey. The detailed allocation of funding by activity and sub-activity is included in the table at the end of this statement and comports with the requested budget structure realignment. Unless otherwise indicated below, the conferees have accepted the proposals for reductions resulting from Department-wide efficiencies, administrative savings, and Enterprise Publishing Network savings. A decrease of $2, 172,000 to the request has been assumed to reflect changes in the fmal fiscal year 20 II operating plan, which was not available at the time the request was submitted. Support for ecosystem restoration activities throughout the Survey's programs is maintained at the fiscal year 20 II enacted level. Additional changes to the request are specified below.

Ecosystems.-The bill provides $161,536,000 for Ecosystems activities. Increases above the
enacted level include $1,500,000 for The Chesapeake Bay Executive Order and $2,500,000 for the Great Lakes Asian Carp Control Framework. The conferees support the President's budget proposal to conduct an in-depth analysis of the extent and sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals impacting fish and wildlife in the Chesapeake basin.

Climate and Land Use Change.-The bill provides $144,320,000 for Climate and Land Use
Change programs. Within Climate Variability, changes to the request include decreases of$2,000,000 from Research and Development, and $6,460,000 from Science Support for DOl Bureaus. Carbon Sequestration is funded at $9,000,000.

Within Land Use Change, an increase of$11,500,000 is provided to complete funding for
Landsat 8 ground operations development. The conferees have not agreed with the proposal to create a separate "Land Imaging" account and have instead maintained funding for all satellite operations within this subactivity. Estimated administrative savings assumed in the proposed new account have been assumed within the Land Use Change account instead.

The conferees have not agreed to transfer budgetary authority for the launch of Landsat satellites 9 and 10 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Survey. Of the requested $48,000,000 increase for its implementation, the conferees have provided $2,000,000 for program development only. The conferees note that future requests for the project are estimated by the Administration to escalate to over $400,000,000 by fiscal year 2014. There is little doubt that resources will not be available within the Interior Appropriations bill to support these very large increases without decimating all other Survey programs. The conferees note that the launch of Landsat 9 is not scheduled until 2018. This allows time in the year ahead for all interested parties to re-examine how to proceed with future Landsat missions. In the conferees' view this would be a prudent step, inasmuch as the current budget proposal is based on a report from the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued in 2008,
and both technological advances and a vastly different economic environment may point to other, less costly, options for obtaining Landsat data.

Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health.-The bill provides $96,368,000 for Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health. The following amounts have been restored to ongoing programs that were proposed to be reduced in the request: $250,000 for the Minerals External Research Program; $5,000,000 for Minerals Resources; $1,000,000 for Energy Resources; $500,000 for Contaminants; and $2,500,000 for Toxic Substances Hydrology. An increase of $1,000,000 is provided for the New Energy Frontier initiative.

Natural Hazards.-The bill provides $134,696,000 for Natural Hazards. The conferees have not
agreed to proposed reductions in the request and have restored funds to the following programs:
$2,000,000 for Earthquake Grants; $1,800,000 for the 2012 Multi-Hazards Initiative; and $1,500,000 for the National Volcano E~ly Warning System. Decreases from the request include $800,000 from the 2011 Multi-Hazards Initiative, and $3,000,000 from Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.

Water Resources.-The bill provides $214,996,000 for Water Resources. Funding has been
restored for the following programs that were proposed to be reduced in the request: $2,000,000 for Groundwater Resources; $6,049,000 for the National Water Quality Assessment Program; $1,963,000 for the Cooperative Water Program; and $6,500,000 for the Water Resources Research Act Program. A program increase of$2,846,000 above the request is provided for the National Streamflow Information Program. Decreases from the request include $2,500,000 from the WaterSMART initiative within Hydrologic Networks and Analysis. The conferees encourage the Survey to include with its fiscal year 2013 budget request a proposal to establish a national groundwater monitoring network as authorized by the Secure Water Act.

Core Science Systems.-The bill provides $106,849,000 for Core Science Systems. Increases to
the request include $998,000 for the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program to continue funding at the current year enacted level, and $1,500,000 for National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Federal and State Partnerships to partially restore the proposed reduction to that program. Decreases from the request include $500,000 from WaterSMART.

Administration and Enterprise Information-The bill provides $110,397,000 for Administration
and Enterprise Information. There is a decrease from the request of $5,920,000 for separation costs. This amount is significantly below what the Survey would need to implement its proposed reduction in force. If a similar plan is put forward in future budget requests, the conferees expect that sufficient funds will be requested for its implementation.

Facilities.-The bill provides $100,582,000 for Facilities. The conferees do not agree with the
administration's proposal to create a separate "Construction" line item within the budget and
consequently have maintained those funds within the "Deferred Maintenance and Capital Improvement" subactivity. In the conferees' view, the Survey has the authorities it requires to manage its facilities and space requirements within the current structure.

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