On 25 March, AIBS Director of Public Policy Robert Gropp testified before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies about the president's fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget request for the US Geological Survey (USGS). Gropp appeared before the panel in his capacity as cochair of the USGS Coalition.
During his remarks, Gropp thanked current and former subcommittee members for their efforts to increase funding of the USGS. His statement stressed that the USGS is more than the science agency for the Department of the Interior; it is an internationally respected natural resource science agency and should be treated similarly to other federal science agencies in the federal budgeting and appropriations process. Additionally, the research and related products generated by USGS personnel save money, protect lives, create new economic and employment opportunities, and promote informed environmental stewardship.
Gropp expressed concern that the administration's budget request for FY 2011 does not fund fixed (uncontrollable) cost hikes, such as increases in office rent, utilities, salaries, and similar expenses. Although the administration proposed funding growth of $21.6 million for the USGS, when $13.5 million for unfunded fixed costs are factored into the budget, the increase is only $8.1 million, which would be allocated to important new initiatives. However, an additional $11 million would be cut from USGS programs in the Water Resources Discipline, Biological Resources Discipline, and Enterprise Infrastructure accounts.
AIBS was a founding member of the USGS Coalition, which was established to encourage federal investment in the unique combination of biological, geological, hydrological, and geographical programs of the USGS.
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