November 8, 2007
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Chairman
Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Feinstein:
Thank you for your support of the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) program. As you work to complete the fiscal year 2008 appropriations for the Department of Interior, the American Institute of Biological Sciences would like to restate our support for the NBII program. The NBII is an important part of our scientific research enterprise. As such, many in the biological sciences community are quite concerned about proposals that would substantially cut funding for the NBII.
NBII connects diverse, high-quality biological databases, information products, and analytical tools maintained by NBII partners and other contributors in government agencies, academic institutions, non-government organizations, and private industry. The NBII program was created to provide access to the nation's biological data. These data provide scientists, managers, educators, and the public with timely information about our biological resources and systems. NBII has forged partnerships with many leading scientific organizations, including AIBS member societies such as the Long-Term Ecological Research Network, Ecological Society of America, and the Natural Science Collection Alliance. Through these partnerships, NBII has worked with the scientific community to develop methods and protocols to ensure that scientific data are available for scientists and resource managers.
We recognize that you are working under difficult budget constraints, but encourage you to provide the NBII with at least $6 million in FY 2008 funding. Importantly, the various programs within the USGS Biological Sciences Directorate are all operating at the margins. Thus, we hope that you will be able to restore NBII funding from new money. Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Megan Kelhart at 202-628-1500 x 230.
Richard T. O'Grady, Ph.D.