On 1 April, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) provided testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The testimony called for the federal government to provide the United States Geological Survey (USGS) with at least $1.2 billion and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development with at least $597 million in fiscal year (FY) 2012. These funding levels would restore funding to core science programs at the agencies, and prevent the elimination of key staff positions.

“Funding for the USGS is a wise investment that produces real returns for the country,” AIBS stated. However, the “FY 2012 budget request for the USGS is inadequate to sustain the agency’s critical work. The proposed budget would cut funding from programs that support the agency’s core missions, resulting in the termination of 230 full-time staff positions. These reductions would be especially destructive because, in constant dollars, the USGS has been flat funded for more than a decade. Given the agency’s critical role in informing the environmental and economic health of the nation, more support is justified. We urge Congress to fully fund the USGS by restoring Administration-proposed reductions to core science programs.”

AIBS further highlighted the contributions of USGS’ Ecosystems Activity to addressing wildlife disease and invasive species, and informing management of endangered species and natural resources. The testimony specifically urged Congress to restore cuts to funding for biological monitoring and research, the National Biological Information Infrastructure, and the Cooperative Research Units.

For the EPA, AIBS drew attention to the critically importance of the Ecosystem Services Research Program. The proposed FY 2012 budget for the program would eliminate roughly 16 staff positions. AIBS urged Congress to fully fund the program in FY 2012.

To read the testimony, visit http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20110401testimonyusgs_epa.html.


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