Cantwell Calls for Doubling of NOAA's Budget to Meet Its Mission and Protect Country's Resources
In the face of ever growing economic concerns of the impacts of climate change on our nation's businesses and communities, today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chairman of the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, urged the Administration to double the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is responsible for understanding and predicting changes in our planet's environment, and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our nation's economic, social, and environmental needs. Yet, despite this broad mission, the Administration is proposing a budget of $4.48 billion, only a 2.5 percent increase over the Fiscal Year 2009 enacted level.
"Protecting our oceans and coasts is an environmental and economic imperative, yet to date, the federal government has not made necessary investments in oceans, and coastal management and conservation," said Cantwell. "Today, the ocean and coastal economies of the U.S. provide over 50 million jobs for Americans and contribute nearly 60 percent of our GDP. In Washington, as much as $3 billion of the state's economy comes from commercial fisheries alone. NOAA climate services and data are more important than ever to the energy, agriculture, transportation sectors of our economy as they work to adapt to the effects of climate change. The Administration needs to recognize the valuable science and stewardship that NOAA provides to our nation and double its budget."
Cantwell's opening statement, as prepared for delivery, is below:
"Good Morning. I'd like to welcome Dr. Lubchenco and I look forward to hearing her testimony on the Administration's FY 2010 budget request for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"On Tuesday, this Subcommittee held a hearing on the Blue Economy and the contributions that oceans and coastal resources play in our nation's economic health. The hearing made three points clear. First, protecting our oceans and coasts is an environmental and economic imperative. Second, the Blue Economy faces an uncertain future due to climate change, pollution, and greater demands for marine resources. Third, the federal government must make a greater investment in oceans and coastal management and conservation.
"This last point, the need for greater federal investment, is the focus of our hearing this morning.
"NOAA's work reaches from the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the sun. From daily weather forecasts to long-term climate monitoring, NOAA touches the lives of every American. NOAA's programs support industries from fisheries to maritime commerce to aviation. NOAA is also the steward of our ocean and coastal resources.
"To highlight a few of the benefits that NOAA brings to the United States:
"The Integrated Ocean Observation System supports ocean and coastal management, reduces the risk of maritime accidents, and strengthens search and rescue efforts. The associated economic benefits to U.S. coasts are estimated at approximately $300 million annually.
"Hydrographic surveys ensure safe, efficient, and environmentally sound maritime transportation. Deep-draft seaports and seaport businesses generated approximately 8.4 million American jobs and added nearly $2 trillion to our economy in 2006.
"One-third of our economy is sensitive to weather and climate. NOAA climate services and data are more important than ever to the energy, agriculture, transportation sectors of our economy as they work to adapt to the effects of climate change.
"Unfortunately, the importance of NOAA's mission and the resources it is charged with protecting are not translating into funding for the agency. For FY 2010, the Administration is proposing a budget of $4.48 billion for NOAA, only a 2.5 percent increase over the FY2009 enacted level. I want to compare NOAA's budget to other agencies. The Administration's budget proposes $12.1 billion for the Department of the Interior in FY 2010, a 7 percent increase; $10.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a 37 percent increase; and $18.9 billion for NASA, a 5 percent increase. The Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA deserve these significant increases. And so should NOAA.
"The Administration needs to recognize the valuable science and stewardship that NOAA provides to our nation and double its budget."