The Department of Energy's Office of Science will receive a 0.9% increase in its total budget for FY 2006. Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairmen Pete Domenici (R-NM) and David Hobson (R-OH) and their colleagues have completed work on their FY 2006 funding bill, H.R. 2419. This bill has been approved by the House, and is awaiting action on the Senate floor.
Perspective is important when viewing this outcome. The Bush Administration's overarching goal was to reduce domestic discretionary spending by 1.0% this year. The Office of Science budget document sent to Congress contained a 3.8% cut, and so the final outcome is 4.7% over the Administration's request (although much of this is due to earmarked projects.) There is extraordinary pressure on the FY 2006 budget because of hurricane reconstruction costs; the Army Corps of Engineers is also funded in this bill. Last year, the Office of Science received a 2.9% increase. Also note that the below figures may not be the final outcome, as Congress might reduce all appropriations bills by two or three percent to pay for hurricane reconstruction costs.
The following are selections from the final conference report, 109-275, which may be viewed in its entirety at http://thomas.loc.gov/ The report states, "Specific funding allocations and earmarks proposed by the House and Senate are superceded by the allocations and earmarks listed in this joint explanatory statement."
TOTAL OFFICE OF SCIENCE:
The FY 2005 budget was $3,599.6 million. The Administration requested $3,462.7 million. The final (tentative) budget for all programs and activities is $3,632.7 million, an increase of 0.9% or $33.1 million.
HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS:
The FY 2005 budget was $736.4 million. The Administration requested $713.9 million. The new (tentative) budget is $723.9 million, a cut of 1.7% or $12.5 million. The conference report states:
"The control level is at the High Energy Physics level. An additional $10,000,000 is provided for research on the international linear collider and for upgrades to the neutrino research program. The conferees support the DOE/NASA Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM) and encourage the Department to move JDEM forward aggressively to accomplish this important research."
The FY 2005 budget was $404.8 million. The Administration requested $370.7 million. The final (tentative) budget meets the Administration's request ($370.7 million), and is a cut of 8.4% or $34.1 million. The Administration explained that run times under its request wold be reduced by 29% at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and 61% at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The conference report states:
"The conference agreement provides $370,741,000 for nuclear physics research, including $2,000,000 of construction funds for project engineering and design of the electron beam ion source at Brookhaven National Laboratory (project 06-SC-02). The conferees support the Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA) but are concerned that the Department does not seem to be making tangible progress toward realization of RIA. The conferees reiterate the reporting requirement, as outlined in Senate Report 109-84, for the Department to define a specific path forward on RIA. The conferees also recognize the importance of the 12 GeV upgrade of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and support initiation of project engineering and design within available funds."
BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES:
The FY 2005 budget was $1,104.6 million. The Administration requested $1,146.0 million. The final (tentative) budget meets the Administration's request ($1,146.0 million), and is an increase of 3.8% or $41.4 million. The conference report provides specific guidance on how this money is to be spent:
"The conference agreement includes $746,143,000 for materials sciences and engineering research, and $221,801,000 for chemical sciences, geosciences, and energy biosciences. All basic energy science construction projects are funded at the request level: $41,744,000 for the Spallation Neutron Source (99-E-334) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; $2,544,000 for Title I and Title II design work (03-SC-002) and $83,000,000 to initiate construction (05-R-320) for the Linac Coherent Light Source at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; $36,553,000 for the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (05-R-321) at Brookhaven National Laboratory; $9,606,000 for the Molecular Foundry (04-R-313) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and $4,626,000 for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (03-R-313) at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Also included at the request level is $7,280,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Within available funds, the conferees encourage the Department to continue the purchase of fuel for the High Flux Isotope Reactor. The conferees note the recent CD-0 decision on the National Synchrotron Light Source-II at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and encourage the Department to fund expeditiously the project engineering and design for this facility."
FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES:
The FY 2005 budget was $273.9 million. The Administration requested $290.6 million. The final (tentative) budget meets the Administration's request ($290.6 million), which is an increase of 6.1% or $16.7 million. The conference report language contains explicit guidance on how $29.9 million of the requested money for ITER is to be spent "to restore U.S.-based fusion funding to fiscal year 2005 levels." The Administration's total request for ITER was $6.0 million for ITER Preparations and $49.5 million for actual contributions to the ITER project. The conference report language on fusion energy sciences funding in FY 2006 and FY 2007 follows:
"The conferees direct the Department to utilize $29,900,000 of funding proposed for ITER work in fiscal year 2006 to restore U.S.-based fusion funding to fiscal year 2005 levels as follows: $7,300,000 for high performance materials for fusion; $8,700,000 to restore operation of the three major user facilities to fiscal year 2005 operating levels; $7,200,000 for intense heavy ion beams and fast ignition studies; $5,100,000 for compact stellarators and small-scale experiments; and $1,600,000 for theory. As in previous years, the conferees direct the Department to fund the U.S. share of ITER in fiscal year 2007 through additional resources rather than through reductions to domestic fusion research or to other Office of Science programs. Within available funds, the conferees include $1,000,000 for non-defense research activities at the Atlas Pulse Power facility. In addition, the conferees direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to undertake a study of the Office of Science Fusion Energy Sciences program in order to define the role of the major domestic facilities in support of the ITER, including recommendations on the possible consolidation or focus of operations to maximize their research value in support of ITER. The GAO shall also evaluate the opportunities to leverage the National Nuclear Security Administration investment as an alternative to the tokamak concept."
BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH:
The FY 2005 budget was $581.9 million. The Administration requested $455.7 million, which included the elimination of $79.6 million in congressionally-directed programs. The final (tentative) budget of $585.7 million, is an increase of 0.7% or $3.8 million, and includes, as explained in the report language, $130.0 million to fund approximately 164 congressionally-directed projects which are listed in the report. The report states:
"The conference agreement includes $585,688,000 for biological and environmental research, an increase of $130,000,000 over the budget request. This increase is provided to fund Congressionally-directed projects as listed in the table below. Within available funds, the conferees direct the Department to provide an additional $3,500,000 for upgrades to instrumentation at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL). The conferees support the development of the proposed Genomes to Life (GTL) facilities, and encourage the Department to budget for the first of these GTL facilities, for the production and characterization of proteins and molecular tags, in fiscal year 2007. The conferees encourage the Department to reduce the cost of the GTL facilities to accelerate deployment of all four proposed GTL centers. Due to the nature of this research, there is a need for all of the facilities to be deployed to meet the scientific challenge of molecular characterization. The conferees recommend that the Department conduct an open competition for the siting of these GTL facilities."
ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING RESEARCH:
The FY 2005 budget was $232.5 million. The Administration requested $207.1 million. The final (tentative) bill provides $237.1 million, an increase of 2.0% or $4.6 million. The report states:
"The conference agreement includes $237,055,000 for advanced scientific computing research, an increase of $30,000,000 over the budget request. This increase is provided to the Center for Computational Sciences to accelerate the efforts to develop a leadership-class supercomputer to meet scientific computational needs. Of this $30,000,000, $25,000,000 should be dedicated to hardware and $5,000,000 to competitive university research grants."
The conference report also has language on Science Laboratories Infrastructure, Safeguards and Security, Science Workforce Development, and Science Program Direction.