Committee on Science and Technology
Click to view Printer-Friendly formatted page. Printer-Friendly  |  Font Size: A A A
Popular Tags:: NOAA:  Appropriation/Budget/Funding:  EPA:  

Press Releases :: March 11, 2011

Committee Democrats Highlight Value of EPA and NOAA Science; Express Alarm at Proposed Cuts

(Washington, DC) –The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to discuss the Administration’s FY 2012 budget requests for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Science and Technology activities at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Testifying before the Committee were NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco on the first panel, and EPA Assistant Administrator Paul Anastas on the second.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) began by highlighting the value of the agencies’ science activities to the public, “While the two sides of the aisle might not always agree on the appropriate resources and directions for NOAA and EPA, I think that we would all agree that good policy begins with good science… From forecasting the weather and assessing the impacts of a changing climate on our economy, to protecting public health by ensuring cleaner air and water and the development of safer chemicals - in these and a host of other ways, NOAA and EPA conduct science to benefit our lives every day, and in ways often too easily overlooked in the fog of partisan politics.”

She followed by expressing her deep concern over proposals for sweeping budget cuts to the nation’s science agencies, such as those seen recently in the House-passed H.R.1.  She stated, “In these challenging economic times we need not sacrifice everything for the sake of making cuts.  With vision and perseverance, we can be fiscally responsible while still making the necessary investments to keep the American economy competitive and our people and environment healthy…. The deep cuts included in H.R.1 that passed the House three weeks ago would put these and other agencies at risk of failing to meet their missions.”

She continued, “At the least we must ask ourselves whether the very negligible effect these cuts will have on the national deficit warrants the devastation it will cause to our core scientific programs, their critical workforce and infrastructure, and their capacity to address natural disasters and protect public health and the environment… American’s want us to be fiscally responsible.  But if they can’t breathe clean air and drink clean water, or have services that help communities and industries prepare for harsh weather and natural disaster, what does that mean? “

When asked by Energy & Environment Ranking Member Brad Miller (D-NC) how the proposed cuts would impact NOAA’s ability to carry out its mission, Administrator Lubchenco replied, “It is likely to be very devastating to our ability to continue to provide the kind of weather information that Americans depend upon to save lives and save property.  There would be significant hits throughout NOAA’s programs.”

Congressman Miller also asked about the importance of providing climate predictions and how that may be an extension of NOAA’s traditional role in weather forecasting.  Administrator Lubchenco replied.  “One of the major research challenges is to bring those models together so that we have a better resolution of what’s happening in the (short-to-medium-term time) scales… We are getting absolutely inundated with requests for information that is months to years to decades out.  People want to plan and know.  Water managers, for example, or city planners or farmers are trying to evaluate what they should plan for next year, or for the next year (after that).  It is in that type of information where we see a huge opportunity to provide what we call “Climate Services” to help in that type of planning. “

When asked by Ranking Member Johnson how EPA will ensure that low-income communities are involved in the Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program, Assistant Administrator Anastas answered, “The impacts on low-income communities are disproportionate to the population, in general…  We need the scientific basis for understanding the risk of (specific chemicals) and the cumulative impact on these disproportionately impacted communities from a variety of chemicals and different substances… One of the priorities of this Administrator is focusing on Environmental Justice and disproportionately impacted communities.” 

News from the House Science and Technology Committee
2321 Rayburn House Office Building | Washington, DC 20515
tel: (202) 225-6375 | fax: (202) 225-3895 | Contact us Online

Bart Gordon, Chairman


Subcommittee Quick Links
[technology]  [energy]  [oversight]  [research]  [space]

technology and innovation

energy and environment

Investigations and Oversight

research and science education

space and aeronautics

Last Updated