AWCIA Extends Support to NOAA; Opposes Fund Reduction13-Oct-2009
Friends of NOAA
October 13, 2009
An Open Letter to the United States Senate: Stakeholder Groups Oppose Cutting NOAA Funding
As members of the Friends of NOAA coalition, we are writing to express our strong opposition to amendment 2666 to H.R. 2847, the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This amendment would reduce the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget by $172,000,000. We request your support in opposing this amendment and maintaining funding for NOAA at the $4.77 billion level recommended by the Committee on Appropriations.
As stated in the Appropriations Committee Report, “With a diverse environmental portfolio, talented workforce, and supportive external community base, the Committee is befuddled as to the... under funding of this agency. The agency cannot effectively meet its mission objectives under these circumstances, and is once again forcing the Committee to bridge the financial gap between an unrealistic budget request and sensible recommendation.” Demands on NOAA far outstrip its current budget and has resulted in weakened core programs and major infrastructure deficits. This situation significantly jeopardizes the agency’s capacity to fulfill growing demands for products, services and information, including those directly contributing to the national effort to address climate change and energy security while ensuring the health and vitality of marine ecosystems.
Specifically, the funding recommended by the Committee is essential to support climate-related observation and monitoring infrastructure necessary to maintain critical coverage and data continuity fundamental to weather and climate forecasts that helps save lives, support businesses and guide policymaking on climate change. The level of concern over the state of this infrastructure was clearly communicated in a recent National Research Council report which stated that the nation's "extraordinary foundation of global observations is a great risk." A failure to address this situation will have significant economic ramifications, including severely limiting our capacity to understand and monitor rapidly increasing changes in the ocean and atmosphere.
Further reinforcing the importance of increasing our investment in NOAA is President Obama’s recent establishment of an Ocean Policy Task Force. The Task Force, comprised of senior members of his Administration, has been charged with developing a national ocean policy and implementation strategy, with the final recommendations due to the President in December. As the lead federal ocean agency, NOAA supports navigation, hazardous spill response, coastal planning, fisheries management, invasive species prevention, marine protect area management, habitat conservation and restoration, education and outreach, and ocean and coastal observation programs. Add to this growing demand for climate-related products to assist policymakers and businesses in planning adaptation strategies for climate change, including emerging concerns such as ocean acidification, sea level rise and the unprecedented rate of change in the Arctic, and you will find NOAA science and management at the foundation of these services and information. Unfortunately, chronic underfunding of the agency has greatly limited its capacity to respond to these demands, and the proposed amendment would result in major programmatic setbacks that will jeopardize the health and safety of citizens, protection of public and private property, and the conservation of economically and ecologically important marine resources and habitat.
We hope that Members of the Senate recognize the unique contributions NOAA and its partners make to the nation's health and well-being and provide the agency with the funding necessary to ensure the availability of science and information that is at the foundation of decision-making in the public and private sectors.
We greatly appreciate support the Senate has provided to NOAA over the years and appreciate your consideration of this request to oppose any amendment that reduces the Committee’s proposed funding for the agency. Please contact Kevin Wheeler at (202) 448-1219 or firstname.lastname@example.org if the Friends of NOAA coalition can be of further service or provide additional information.
Alliance for Earth Observations
American Association of Port Authorities
American Geophysical Union
American Shore & Beach Preservation Association
American Weather and Climate Industry Association
Association of National Estuary Programs
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Blue Climate Solutions: A Project of The Ocean Foundation
The Campaign for Environmental Literacy
The Campbell Group, Inc.
Carolina Estuarine Reserve Foundation
Coastal States Organization
Computer Sciences Corporation
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Environmental Defense Fund
Fish for the Future Foundation
Friends of the GTM Research Reserve
Fugro EarthData, Inc.
Fugro Pelagos, Inc. for Exploration and Ocean Exploration
Joint Ocean Commission Initiative
Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Marine Fish Conservation Network
Estuarine Research Reserve Association
Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean
National Fisheries Institute
National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation
Weather Service Employees Organization
The Nature Conservancy
Carolina Beach, Inlet & Waterway Association
The Ocean Foundation
The Ocean Project
Port of Portland (Oregon)
Restore America’s Estuaries
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Sea Grant Association
South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
Stony Brook University
United Fishermen's Marketing Association
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
University of California, Los Angeles Institute of the Environment
University of Oklahoma
The Weather Coalition
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute