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February 11, 2011 

House Majority Proposal to Slash Funding Would Cripple Federal Science on Health, Environment and Safety Protections

UCS Experts Available for Comment as Budgetary Process Unfolds

WASHINGTON (February 11, 2011) – Earlier this week, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) proposed 70 cuts totaling $23 billion in an overall spending bill that he said he would like to ultimately eliminate $58 billion from the federal budget. After push back from conservatives in his party, Rep. Rogers upped his target to $100 billion.

Budget reductions of this magnitude, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), would hobble climate research, deny the public access to information on the consequences of climate change, and prevent federal science agencies from carrying out their mission to protect public health and safety.

“Crippling the government’s scientific programs that keep our air clean, our water safe, and protect our children from toxic pollution won’t make these threats go away,” said Lexi Shultz, legislative director at UCS’s Climate and Energy Program. “Voters did not send their representatives to Washington to undermine health and environmental protections.”

Rep. Rogers' original list of 70 spending cuts was spread across multiple agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, National Institutes of Health, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These agencies conduct climate research and monitor floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather events; protect Americans from unsafe food and drugs; and promote the development of clean energy technology, a key element of U.S. job-creation and international-competitiveness strategies.

The proposed cuts include:

  • $899 million from the DOE’s renewable energy and energy efficiency program, which would reduce the agency’s research and development funding by about 40 percent below fiscal year 2010 enacted levels;
  • $1.1 billion from the DOE’s science program, which represents more than 20 percent of that program’s enacted fiscal year 2010 levels;
  • $1.7 billion from the EPA’s overall budget -- excluding an additional $1 billion in proposed cuts from state clean water and drinking water programs -- which is more than 30 percent of the agency’s overall budget compared with fiscal year 2010 enacted levels; and
  • $220 million from the Food and Drug Administration’s budget at a time when new food safety legislation requires the agency to ramp up food inspections to better protect the public.

“These proposed budget cuts could eliminate the science that enables officials at every level of government to make better decisions,” said Francesca Grifo, director of the UCS’s Scientific Integrity Program.

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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