Weathering the budget storm Essay

Embodied in the $407 million request (down by $2 million from
fiscal year 1985) for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are shifts away
from geological hazards surveys, landslide research and side-looking
airborne radar. The FY ’86 focus shifts to mineral resources,
which would receive a $1 million boost, and the mapping of the Exclusive
Economic Zone, for which a $3.2 million increase would be earmarked.
USGS is also requesting $2 million for the Deep Continental Drilling

Among the programs that would not survive the 20 percent proposed
reduction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
budget are the $6.5 million Undersea Research Program and the $3.8
million federal research program at Great Lakes Environmental Research
Laboratory. Other oceanic research would be cut by $2 million, and $12
million would be taken from atmospheric and hydrological studies. Funds
for hardware are up in the proposed $931 million NOAA budget, including
a $3 million increase for the development of an upper atmosphere wind
profiler and $2.5 million more to modernize weather technology. NOAA
has decided to fund only one polar satellite instead of two, saving $11
million. But the agency is also asking for $18 million toward two
additional geostationary weather satellites, bringing the number in
development to five, in case a satellite should fail, as one did last

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Most of the $4.4 million increase in the National Science
Foundation’s (NSF) earth sciences budget goes for studies of the
continental lithosphere. The NSF budget calls for 4 percent increases
in both oceanic and atmospheric studies. The U.S. Antarctic Research
Program funds would rise by $9 million to $120 million.

All earth-related research at the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration is slated for modest increases. The largest jump is $78
million toward the construction of the upper atmosphere satellite
scheduled for launch in October 1989.


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