Despite the uncertainty associated with the forthcoming budget sequestration, currently set to begin in January 2013, the House and Senate continue to draft appropriations bills that would allocate fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding for federal agencies. Recently, the Senate Subcommittee on Interior and Environment Appropriations released a spending plan that could restore funding cuts proposed in the current House bill.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) would receive $1.08 billion, an increase of $15.8 million relative to FY 2012. This is $117 million more than the current House level. Funding for the Ecosystems activity would increase by 5.8 percent; this would benefit USGS research on fisheries, wildlife, ecosystems, and invasive species. Conversely, the House plan would cut funding for Ecosystems by 17.8 percent. USGS research on climate change and carbon sequestration would receive a 2.3 percent increase in the Senate plan.

The current Senate plan also proposes to cut the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service budget by 4.6 percent, to $1.5 billion. Despite a proposed top-line reduction, the agency would receive increased funding for land acquisition and endangered species management. The House bill would cut $317 million from the agency’s budget.

Science and technology at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would receive about 0.6 percent more funding. This is $60.4 million more than the current level being proposed in the House of Representatives. Water research would receive an additional $1.2 million under the Senate bill, but environmental and human health research at EPA would fall by $4.1 million.

The Senate appropriations panel also proposes a 1 percent or $297.8 million increase for the United States Forest Service Forest and Rangeland Research program. All of the increase would be directed to forest inventory and analysis, whereas research and development would continue to be funded at the FY 2012 level. The program would be subject to a 16 percent cut under the current House legislation.


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