AWCIA Extends Support to NOAA; Opposes Fund Reduction

13-Oct-2009

Friends of NOAA 
October 13, 2009 
An Open Letter to the United States Senate:   Stakeholder Groups Oppose Cutting NOAA Funding
 
Dear Senator:  
 
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 kwheeler@oceanleadership.org if the Friends of NOAA coalition can be of further service or provide additional information. 
 

Sincerely,  

AccuWeather, Inc 
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. 
CARIS USA 
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 
Ocean Conservancy 
The Ocean Foundation 
The Ocean Project  
Oceana  
Port of Portland (Oregon)  
Restore America’s Estuaries  
Scripps Institution of Oceanography  
Sea Grant Association  
Shedd Aquarium  
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 
WeatherBank, Inc. 
West Marine 
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute 
Vaisala, Inc.

 





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