(Washington, DC) – Members of the Science & Technology Committee’s Energy & Environment Subcommittee looked into the President’s proposed budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for fiscal year 2008.

“The work NOAA does everyday impacts our daily lives and supports our economy,” said Subcommittee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX).

NOAA oversees U.S. weather forecasting, climate prediction, management of fisheries and coastal and ocean resources. The agency is responsible for mapping and charting U.S. coastal areas and providing other navigation and support services and conducting research to support its work on the oceans and atmosphere.

Chairman Lampson noted that the Administration’s proposal again requests less funding for NOAA in 2008 than Congress appropriated in past years.  The Administration’s request for NOAA is $3.96 billion, a 2.7 percent decrease from the enacted funding level. 

“The Administration’s budget provides few opportunities to expand NOAA’s capacity to fulfill its diverse missions,” Lampson said. “Accurate prediction of hurricanes and other severe storms and sound management of our ocean and coastal resources can only be achieved through sound investments in the personnel, equipment and research at NOAA.”

The Administration’s budget proposal for NOAA includes:

  • A 6.5 percent increase for the National Weather Service, the only line office to receive a substantial increase.
  • A 3 percent funding cut for the office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, the primary research arm of NOAA.
  • A 48 percent reduction for education programs and scholarships, a cut that could undermine NOAA’s mission to promote careers in environmental sciences and ensure the education of future scientists to fill the ranks at NOAA.

  “If NOAA is to advance its capabilities to forecast the weather, if we are to restore our fisheries and coastal ecosystems to a productive and healthy state, if we are to advance our understanding of the oceans and the atmosphere, we must invest additional funds in this agency,” said Lampson.