First Information: FY 2016 USGS Funding Bill

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Publication date: 
10 June 2015

The House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee met this morning to mark up its FY 2016 appropriations bill.  Yesterday the full committee issued a short press release and the draft version of the 134-page bill.   The all-important committee report providing specific funding levels and policy guidance for individual programs has not been released.

The $30.2 billion bill is $3 billion below the Obama Administration’s request, and is $246 million below this year’s level.  The Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Forest Service are the main components of this bill, which also includes funding for the Smithsonian Institution and other small agencies.

The press release quotes Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) as stating “as a Californian, I have seen firsthand how devastating earthquakes can be, so the bill prioritizes funding for the potentially- lifesaving Earthquake Early Warning System.”   This program is within the U.S. Geological Survey.  The only other information released about the FY 2016 House funding level for USGS was this statement from the press release: 

“The bill includes $1.05 billion for the USGS, equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this amount, the bill prioritizes funding for programs dealing with natural hazards, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring network, mapping activities, and the earthquake early warning system, including the requested funds for ‘LandSat 9.’” 

USGS currently receives $1,045.0 million.

The Administration requested $1,194.8 million, an increase of $149.8 million or 14.3 percent

While the White House has not released a Statement of Administration Policy on the bill there is much that the President will object to.  In addition to a 9 percent cut from the current funding level for the Environmental Protection Agency, and a cap on its staffing to 1989 levels, the bill’s provisions limiting the agency’s regulatory actions in many areas of great interest to the Administration will encounter much objection.