The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, the Environment, and Related Agencies met Tuesday, 19 June, to consider appropriations legislation that would fund “key protections for America’s environment and natural resources.” The Senate subcommittee’s proposal would allocate $27.15 billion in total discretionary funding for fiscal year (FY) 2008 to the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Smithsonian Institution, and the other programs under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.

Significantly, the House and Senate subcommittees have proposed just over $1 billion (House, $1.033 billion and Senate, $1.01 billion) for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an increase over the FY 2007 appropriation and a level closer to the $1.2 billion requested by the USGS Coalition and the American Institute of Biological Sciences earlier this year. Indeed, in congressional testimony, AIBS director of public policy Robert Gropp noted that “there is growing concern from within the government and outside that funding for the USGS must improve if it is to continue to serve its mission. Without an increased investment in USGS science, core missions and national priorities will suffer.”

For the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Senate subcommittee would provide $7.77 billion. The House is presently recommending $8.066 billion for the agency. Within the EPA allocation, the Senate subcommittee would allocate $773 million for Science and Technology Research programs. This level represents an increase of $18 million over the President’s budget request and $39 million above the FY 2007 enacted level.

The Senate spending measure would provide the Smithsonian Institution with $696.7 million, $6 million more than the FY 2007 enacted appropriation. The bulk of the increase would help fund the facilities program to assist in major repairs and needed revitalization work, which is estimated to cost around $2 billion.


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