(Washington, DC)  Upon the release of Earth Science and Applications from Space:  National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond – the long-awaited assessment of the nation’s Earth science and applications programs by the National Academy of Sciences – House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) issued the following statement:

“At a time when accurate weather forecasting and climate research is becoming increasingly important to the well-being of our citizens, this distinguished panel of experts is warning in no uncertain terms that ‘the United States’ extraordinary foundation of global observations is at great risk.'”

“That finding is no surprise to those of us who have watched the cuts made to NASA’s Earth science program over the last six years, and the disruption to NOAA’s observations programs caused by the significant cost growth and schedule slips in the NPOESS program.  The National Academies committee has done the nation a great service in providing clear recommendations for a constructive way forward, and the Science and Technology Committee will be watching closely to see whether the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request is consistent with those recommendations.”

“The Committee continues to closely follow the acquisition problems with NOAA’s polar satellite program NPOESS, as well as plans for the acquisition of the next geostationary satellite series, GOES-R.   A significant unresolved issue that emerged from the restructured NPOESS program is how to provide for continued climate observations. The Committee will persist in its vigorous oversight of these important satellite acquisition programs in the 110th Congress and explore options for maintaining continuity of our climate and weather observing systems.”

The report by the National Research Council was released on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society.