Senate Committee Approves FY 2016 NOAA Appropriations

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Publication date: 
17 June 2015
Number: 
84

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s report for the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, now released to the public, recommends a 1.2 percent decrease in funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in FY 2016.  The committee report is the key document that details the Senate appropriators’ specific recommendations for NOAA funding levels and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

The language for NOAA can be found on pages 24-46 of the report.

Total NOAA:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $5,441.0 million
The FY 2016 request is $5,974.7 million, an increase of $533.7 million or 9.8 percent
The House bill recommends $5,169.3 million, a decrease of $271.7 million or 5.0 percent
The Senate bill recommends $5,381.6 million, a decrease of $59.4 million or 1.1 percent

Within NOAA are the following line offices:

National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $2,223.1 million
The FY 2016 request is $2,379.6 million, an increase of $156.5 million or 7.0 percent
The House bill recommends $1,987.3 million, a decrease of $235.8 million or 10.6 percent
The Senate bill recommends $2,107.5 million, a decrease of $115.6 million or 5.2 percent

As in the House committee recommendation, the Senate committee recommends full funding for the procurement and acquisition for the Joint Polar Satellite System and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R-Series [p. 43].  Unlike the House, however, the Senate would provide a small fraction of the request for a newly proposed Polar Follow-On mission [p. 44].  This section of the report includes additional language on the COSMIC-2 satellite system and the development of a new space weather follow-on satellite mission [p. 44].  It also includes language setting minimum funding levels for Regional Climate Services, Regional Climate Centers, and Coastal Data Development [p. 40].

National Weather Service:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $1,087.5 million
The FY 2016 request is $1,098.9 million, an increase of $11.4 million or 1.1 percent
The House bill recommends $1,102.9 million, an increase of $15.4 million or 1.4 percent
The Senate bill recommends $1,112.3 million, an increase of $24.8 million or 2.3 percent

This section of the report includes language on the proposed consolidation of Information Technology Officers at NOAA regional weather forecast offices [p. 37-38], the National Data Buoy Center [p. 38], the newly opened National Water Center [p. 38], the accuracy of weather and water forecasts for Alaska [p. 38], implementation of the COASTAL Act within the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012 [p. 39], and the National Mesonet Program [p. 39].

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $446.3 million
The FY 2016 request is $507.0 million, an increase of $60.7 million or 13.6 percent
The House bill recommends $432.1 million, a decrease of $14.2 million or 3.2 percent
The Senate bill recommends $456.1 million, an increase of $9.8 million or 2.2 percent

In this section, the committee recommends fully funding the request for the National Integrated Drought Information Service and Multi-Function Phased Array Radar [p. 35].  It also spares Climate Research most of the steep funding cuts it received in the House recommendation.   The report includes language on research foci for NOAA Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes [p. 35], the Vortex Southeast field project for tornado research in the southeastern U.S. [p. 36], and infrasonic weather monitoring research [p. 36].

National Ocean Service:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $484.8 million
The FY 2016 request is $507.0 million, an increase of $22.2 million or 4.6 percent
The House bill recommends $466.5 million, a decrease of $18.3 million or 3.8 percent
The Senate bill recommends $501.1 million, an increase of $16.3 million or 3.4 percent

The committee recommendation fully funds the request for the Integrated Ocean Observing System and NOAA’s Alliance for Coastal Technologies.  The report also recommends funding for and provides language on Coastal Management Grants, including Regional Coastal Resilience Grants. [p. 26]

The committee report represents the views of the Senate appropriators, but its recommendations may or may not be reflected in the Joint Explanatory Statement that will accompany the final FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.  Final outcomes on funding levels and directive language will depend on reconciliation between Senate and House bills and reports.