As reported in the 5 February Public Policy Report ( President Bush released his $3.1 trillion budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2009. As proposed, the budget would reduce several non-defense, discretionary programs by millions of dollars.

Comparable to other science-related agencies experiencing deep budget cuts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been afflicted with a decade of significant budget cutbacks, and FY 2009 will be no different. EPA has requested $7.1 billion, $100 million below last year’s requested amount and $400 million less than the FY 2008 enacted amount. EPA has proposed to eliminate nearly 90 full-time equivalents (full time positions [FTE]), after eliminating over 200 FTEs last year.

The EPA budget is organized around five goals – 1) Clean Air And Global Climate Change; 2) Clean and Safe Water; 3) Land Preservation and Restoration; 4) Healthy Communities and Ecosystems; and, 5) Compliance and Environmental Stewardship. The purpose of Goal 4 is to “protect, sustain, or restore the health of people, communities, and ecosystems using integrated and comprehensive approaches and partnerships.” It comprises 16.7 percent of EPA’s budget and accounts for a total of $1.2 billion. The FY 2009 request is $36 million less than the FY 2008 appropriated amount and is $17 million less than the requested amount for FY 2008.

Goal 4 encompasses vital programs such as wetlands, endocrine disruptor research, global change, ecosystems protection, fellowships, and the endangered species protection program. Of those programs, several are slated for significant cuts. For example, the endocrine disruptor research program would receive $815,000 less than enacted in FY 2008; fellowships would be trimmed by $1 million from the FY 2008 appropriated amount; and the national estuary program would receive $9.5 million less than the FY 2008 enacted amount.

The Department of the Interior, in its entirety, requested approximately $10.7 billion for FY 09; with $6 billion in permanent funding carried through current legislation, the total 2009 budget for Interior would be $16.7 billion. The request, according to the Interior Budget in Brief, is essentially flat when compared to FY 08. Priorities for Interior in the upcoming fiscal year in order of importance include: serving communities; resource protection; recreation and improved access to recreational opportunities; resource use and the ability to help provide energy security for the country; and management excellence.

Within Interior, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) would receive $969 million; $38 million below the FY 2008 enacted budget and $6.4 million below the 2008 President’s budget request. Of significance in the USGS budget, biological research would receive $180.3 million, slightly above the level enacted in FY 08 appropriations, yet below the FY 08 budget request ($181.1 million). Biological research and monitoring would receive $145 million, of which $4.5 million would be allocated for the Healthy Lands and Birds initiatives. The National Biological Infrastructure Initiative (NBII) would be cut by $2.9 million, a significant cut for USGS biological information management and delivery. The total amount allocated to information management would total $19.6 million, compared to $22 million enacted in FY 08. Cooperative Research Units would be cut by $764,000, putting the FY 09 proposed budget at $15.4 million.

The FY 2009 budget request for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of $2.2 billion includes $1.3 billion in discretionary funds and $946.9 million in permanent appropriations—the majority of which would be allocated to the States for fish and wildlife conservation and restoration. The FY 2009 request is $64.6 million less than the FY 2008 enacted amount, including the loss of 60 full-time equivalents (full time positions [FTE]). Of note, the Cooperative Conservation Partnerships would receive $2.9 million less than the FY 2008 enacted amount.


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