This week on the show we discuss proposed budget cuts by the Trump Administration to the weather related government programs.
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“It’s not a well-thought-through idea, in my opinion,” said Daniel Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization. Though he speaks only for the relatively large weather service staff, the cuts discussed in the White House-to-agency “pass-back” documents will affect all of NOAA—“the people who make sure employees get paid, do the hiring and the paperwork, plus the satellite program, which has a direct link to weather forecasting,” he said. NWS is highly dependent on the rest of NOAA, he said.
NOAA overall is reportedly slated for a 17 percent cut, but NWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service would take a hit of just 5 percent. But that is still “hugely devastating,” Sobien said. That’s because the lack of say for managers in reshuffling discretionary spending means that “the only thing they can do is lay people off, so it’s just as bad as a 17 percent cut,” he said.”
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“The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which monitors weather and collects climate data, would see the largest budget cut – $513 million, or 22 percent of its funding.
Former NOAA employees say the move would put the American public in danger.
Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator under President Barack Obama, told weather.com the "draconian cuts" to the agency that oversees weather forecasting and funds weather and climate research would "be devastating to the economy, jobs and to the safety and livelihoods of Americans in every state."
Many of the cuts are directly relevant to NOAA’s ability to provide timely and accurate weather forecasts and warnings, now and in the future, Lubchenco said. She called the cuts to the satellite program, NWS and research program particularly worrisome, noting 90 percent of weather forecasting data comes from satellites.”
Notes from Katie
$990 mil cut from budget
$83 mil for ship to do ocean surveys
$400 mil cut from Polar Follow-On: satellites schedules to launch in 2024/26 for forecasting
$100 mil cut from satellite services which could impact climate data collection
26% cut to recharting the coastlines
From the Washington Post: The programs in the crosshairs include NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management grants and Regional Coastal Resilience grants, which come to $75 million combined, according to the document; its $10 million in Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency grants; the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, an annual investment of about $23 million; and its $73 million Sea Grant program.
Regional Coastal Resilience grants, which deal more specifically with bracing communities for adverse climate and weather events. These programs “build resilience of coastal communities to the negative impacts from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions,” according to a recent NOAA presentation.
the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, which are more focused on restoring ecosystems so they can adjust to changing conditions in a way that also benefits humans. Wetlands, when healthy, can help keep pace with sea-level rise.
Also proposed for the chopping block are several research and education initiatives that provide valuable information to help coastal communities plan for the future. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a group of 29 sites throughout the coastal United States — including spots along the East and West coasts, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, Hawaii and Alaska — that have been set aside specifically for the study of estuarine systems, or the areas where rivers flow into the sea. The program produces scientific data on these unique ecosystems and provides training and education for local communities and policymakers on protecting and managing them.
Of similar importance is the Sea Grant program, a partnership between NOAA and universities across the nation, which supports coastal research and education. The program relies on on-the-ground agents, who help establish a “real connection” between academics and coastal communities, said Jeff Carney, an architecture professor and director of the Coastal Sustainability Studio at Louisiana State University, which houses the Louisiana Sea Grant program. These programs can be vital sources of information on everything from fisheries management to storm preparation.
$330 mil cut from Superfund Cleanups. 30% reduction
$129 mil cut from EPA enforcement to catch polluters. 33% reduction
$233 mil cut from EPA research that establishes federal health and safety guidelines 50% reduction
$482 mil cut from EPA assistance grants that go to state and tribal to clean up pesticides and toxic wastes. 40% reduction
$347 mil cut from 50 EPA programs like Energy Star and diesel engine replacement meant to reduce emissions.
From Washington Post:
proposal by the White House would slash the EPA’s budget by 31 percent — nearly one third — from its current level of $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion. It would cut 3,200 positions, or more than 20 percent of the agency’s current workforce of about 15,000.
would discontinue funding for the Clean Power Plan — the signature Obama administration effort to combat climate change by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. It would sharply reduce money for the Superfund program and cut the budget for the EPA’s prominent Office of Research and Development roughly in half, to $250 million.
It also would eliminate “more than 50 EPA programs.” Among them: the Energy Star program, which aims to improve energy efficiency and save consumers money; infrastructure assistance to Alaska Native villages and the Mexico border; a grant program that helps cities and states combat air pollution; and an office that focuses on environmental justice issues.
Article from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-budget-cuts-funds-for-epa-by-31-percent/
Some programs at EPA would see increases. The blueprint would shift $4 million above current spending levels to state revolving funds and $20 million to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had said he wanted to protect those funds.
The State Department, which saw perhaps the largest cut behind EPA, is shouldering much of Trump's emphasis on nationalism. The president is fulfilling his promises to depress U.S. activity abroad by eliminating the Global Climate Change Initiative. The budget also zeros out funding for the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Funds.
The White House would eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), as well as loan guarantee programs, greenhouse gas reducing technologies and advanced vehicle programs.
The Office of Science would see a $900 million cut and is meant, according to the proposal, to focus on "basic science and energy research and development."
The budget also would include $140 million to restart licensing activities for nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, a thorny issue on Capitol Hill.
$73 mil to $0 Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay Program: Regional partnership that directs and conducts the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. As a partnership, the Chesapeake Bay Program brings together members of various state, federal, academic and local watershed organizations to build and adopt policies that support Chesapeake Bay restoration. By combining the resources and unique strengths of each individual organization, the Chesapeake Bay Program is able to follow a unified plan for restoration.
Became part of the EPA in 1983
50+ partnerships involved
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is a non-profit organization devoted to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. It was founded in 1967 and has headquarters offices in Annapolis, Maryland.
Budget cut worries:
Most of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s federal money goes to states, local governments and community groups through grants. The foundation focuses on coordinating and monitoring the efforts of the six bay watershed states and the District of Columbia. Besides Virginia, these states include Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
From Capital Gazette (Maryland Newspaper) a closer look at proposed cuts for other federal departments and agencies that collaborate in the bay restoration effort makes clear that the impact on the bay would go well beyond this single onerous and inexplicable decision. As The Capital has noted, the impact will trickle down to bay cleanup efforts at the state and county levels, too.
$330 mil to $0 GLRI
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world — the Great Lakes
The program, primarily administered through the EPA, has traditionally enjoyed strong bipartisan support and has standalone authorization at that funding level through 2021, meaning Congress can restore some or all funding.