Friday, September 9, 2011

Science is suffering

I wanted to draw your attention to the latest Washington Dispatch update from the APS Office of Public Affairs. Here I have reproduced a portion of this month's edition. Emphasis mine (because nothing else needs to be said).
ISSUE: Budget and Authorization Environment
Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations
As of the deadline for APS News, the House of Representatives had passed the Energy and Water Development (E&W) bill that funds DOE and completed full committee action on the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) bill that funds NSF, NIST, and NASA. A summary of key elements of the action follows.

* E&W Appropriations bill (HR 2354): On July 15th the House passed HR 2354 by a vote of 219 (209 R, 10 D) to 196 (21 R, 175 D), providing $24.7B for DOE (-$850M relative to FY11), including $4.8B for the Office of Science (-$43M); $1.3B for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [EERE] (-$491M); $733M for Nuclear Energy [NE] (+$8M); $477M for Fossil Energy (+$32M); $180M for ARPA-E (+$0); $10.6B for National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA] (+$76M); and $4.9B for Defense Environmental Cleanup (-$42M)....

* The E&W Subcommittee report also contains language of concern: ... (2) It also directs Basic Energy Sciences to create "a performance ranking of all ongoing multi-year research projects... by comparing current performance with original project goals" and directs DOE to eliminate $25M by terminating the lowest ranked grants based solely on that criterion.

* CJS Appropriations bill (No bill number assigned): The House Appropriations Committee passed the CJS bill by voice vote on July 13th, providing $4.5B for NASA Science (-$431M); $701M for NIST (-$49M) and $6.9B for NSF (+$0)....

* Of greatest concern to the science community should be the elimination of funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the highest priority for astronomy and astrophysics. Rep. Wolf (R-VA 10th), chair of the House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, alleged that NASA had "been hiding costs" associated with the telescope... [and] also claimed that NASA had rushed its planning....

Thus far, the Senate has begun debate on only one appropriations bill: Military Construction. It is not expected to address the other eleven bills until after Congress returns from its August recess, virtually assuring a Continuing Resolution to take effect when the new fiscal year begins on October 1st.

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