Latest reports say that the new budget from the Trump’s administration has restored huge cuts on the NIH and NSF.
On the other hand, issues related to the environment still aren’t out of trouble yet.
Yesterday, the Trump administration put out a statement and released its proposed budget.
The proposed budget from the Trump administration calls for massive cuts to fields such as scientific research and others.
Moreover, the extent of the cuts would extend across the US federal government.
The Trump administration’s proposed budget did accompany a second document.
The second document actually rescinded a few of the proposed cuts.
While rescinding some of the cuts, the document also complained that reducing the cuts was probably not a good idea.
Meanwhile, both budget versions agree on drastic cuts regarding all renewable energy and environmental programs.
These won’t go away anytime soon by the looks of it.
So What’s All The Confusion About?
The previous week’s rather bipartisan budget deal did cause some confusion.
That budget deal actually proposed to raise caps on both domestic and military spending.
Before that, the Trump administration had actually made plans to work within the current caps.
The Trump administration also wanted to raise military spending.
How did it plan on doing that?
It planned on cutting back in other areas to compensate for the increased military spending.
Those cuts backs, it seemed, had to come from fields such as scientific research.
However, as mentioned just now, the actual budget deal raised domestic and military spending.
This budget deal, in its bid to increase domestic spending, would suddenly infuse domestic spending with quite a bit of cash.
Or extra cash, more specifically.
The Trump administration did respond to the budget deal.
And it did so by releasing an official addendum.
In the addendum, the Trump administration decided to reset a couple of priorities while keeping the budget deal in perspective.
To put it in simpler terms, the Trump administration has done well to show us all its views and intentions on many issues.
Some of those issues include science.
And scientific research.
Moreover, the Trump administration has also given an indication of what the administration would do now that everyone has witnessed the Congress forcing the administration’s hands.
No One Wants Your Money
The Trump administration knows how to handle a mess.
That’s why it hasn’t faced many problems in adjusting to the extra cash that Congress has allocated.
While it has adjusted, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Trump administration is happy about it.
At the very least, the Trump administration looks like it is not happy with all of what has transpired in the last couple of months.
The official budget addendum read that the Trump administration strongly supported the overall military and defense spending levels that the bipartisan cap deal included in it.
The addendum also mentioned that despite that, because of the current fiscal situation, the Trump administration could not propose a Budget at any f the new non-defense caps.
It further mentioned that the Trump administration did not believe that these non-defense spending levels fell in line with the administration’s vision for the proper size and role of the US Federal Government.
The Trump administration has already detailed its vision in the original budget.
It had revealed that budget yesterday as well.
That budget, according to most reports, would have had catastrophic consequences for scientific research in the US.
The original budget had the National Science Foundation, or NSF, losing more than 25 percent of its current funding levels.
Not only that, but the National Institute of Health would have also suffered the same fate.
Readers should remember that the National Institutes of Health are actually responsible for the majority of the biomedical research and its funding as far as the United States of America is concerned.
Moreover, the original result would have also caused other agencies to see large cuts in their fundings as well.
Congress has given the required money though.
And that has resulted in the Trump administration to reverse several of the administration’s planned spending/funding cuts.
Now, the likes of National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation would not be reduced to shells of their former selves.
If the current version of the Trump administration goes through then both institute will remain the way they are.
Of course, first the Trump administration’s budget must be adopted.
So, one thing is clear:
The Trump administration doesn’t want any extra money.
But if someone forces the Trump administration’s hand then it has shown willingness to spend some cash on science.
Or perhaps, we should say some science.
The Trump administration targeted a large array of scientific research programs.
It even selected some for complete elimination in the first or original version of the budget.
And that problem hasn’t gone away.
Because the addendum that has come along with the budget hasn’t really rescued all of those programs.
It is true that the Trump administration has made spending cuts which are actually heavily biased towards environmental and climate programs.
But those aren’t really the only programs that the Trump administration targeted in its proposed budget.
Shut Everything Down
As mentioned just now, the Trump administration has targeted a lot of scientific programs for elimination.
One of the items that the administration wants to eliminate is WFIRST.
The initial plan dictated that it would build Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope using the hold optical hardware that belonged to a spy satellite.
We also know that the intelligence community had actually donated that old spy satellite.
And once the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope went into orbit, it would have scanned the whole of the infrared sky by making use of a wide-field lens.
That would have allowed it to build and generate massive catalogs of various different objects.
Those objects would have also included near-Earth asteroids.
In one way or another, the budget document does seem to suggest that NASA would get its James Webb Telescope.
But it also mentions that the agency should not expect another Telescope so early.
The addendum said that Trump administration did not see it as a priority as to why the US would develop another huge space telescope right after it had completed the construction of James Webb Space Telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope cost the US around $8.8 billion.
Some of you may think that this is only a trivial joke.
The Trump administration would never terminate an actual active observatory.
Especially when you consider that the US has spent so much money on its to put it into orbit.
But you would be wrong.
Well, not really wrong.
But you should at least read the whole of the Trump administration’s budget proposal.
The proposal goes as far as to attempt to follow through on all of the administration’s earlier threats.
Threats such as it would gut NASA by eliminating its Earth-observing missions.
Maybe the Trump administration doesn’t know that two of those missions still have not yet launched.
One of those satellite goes by the name of CLARREO pathfinder.
This satellite is supposed to help the agency to develop instruments for another follow-on satellite.
It would help that satellite to produce important and detailed climate records.
Then there is one other satellite that goes by the name of PACE.
This satellite would track down interactions that happen between the ocean and the atmosphere.
The proposed budget also suggested to shut down specific instruments belonging to two other satellites.
One of those satellites has the Earth-observing camera.
The same one that Al Gore championed all those years ago.
The interesting thing is that each and every Republican administration has targeted that camera since Al Gore left the Vice Presidency.
In fact, the Bush administration preferred to shelve the expensive and working hardware instead of putting it into orbit.
That’s not even the most striking Trump administration action.
The most surprising one is the administration’s call to get rid of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.
Many of the readers might not know that the Orbiting Carbon Observatory has only operated in space for a little less than a period of four years.
What does this Observatory do?
Well, it does lots of things.
The most important of which is having the ability to monitor the planet’s carbon dioxide fluxes.
NASA considered this ability so important to follow climate change that the agency actually built a second one after the agency lost the first one in an unfortunate launch accident.
Of course, the Trump administration doesn’t care about any of that.
That is also the reason why it wants to shut the Orbiting Carbon Observatory down.
Should We Just Close Our Eyes?
The Trump administration doesn’t just plan on cutting funding in space where satellites are performing important environmental monitoring tasks.
The budget request has a clear theme to it.
For entities such as NOAA, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and USGS, or United States Geological Survey, there will be huge funding cuts on their efforts to study planet earth or collect sensitive data.
Moreover, their climate-related research efforts will have to suffer doubly so.
The Trump administration wants to cut both agencies by a total of 20 percent.
In fact, the only areas where the Trump administration has proposed an increase in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget are operational costs and facilities.
Even in those areas, it has excluded the agency’s work that it performs in order to incorporate important data from other and newer European weather satellites.
As a result of the Trump administration’s proposed budget, the National Weather Service will have to endure the loss of around 250 positions.
The Tsunami Warning Program will have to do with 25 fewer positions as well.
Because of the two United States Tsunami Warning Centers, one would get the ax.
In other words, the Trump administration wants to shut that down as well.
A recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summary document noted that work related to the support of Tsunami preparedness education along with innovative research and outreach would cease.
The Trump administration would perform a host of other cuts with its budget proposal.
Some of those cuts would affect the funding of other scientific research and development activities such as,
- Weather forecast models
- Ocean observations
- Hydrological models
- Ocean acidification research
- University partnerships
- Climate research
All of these would have to experience some form of funding cuts.
The proposed budget does seem to reverse the previous year’s call to get rid of many other future weather satellites.
But in reality, it calls for cuts amounting to $565 million from two more satellite programs.
Moreover, the Trump administration doesn’t really go through the pains of explaining how it would do that.
If the administration does go ahead with these cuts, that would seriously endanger weather forecasting.
Because as satellites get old, they die.
The Trump administration has also slated a host of other National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs for complete and utter demolition.
These include some major grant programs as well.
Currently, these programs fund many projects such as,
- Coastal research (examples include Sea Grant)
- Arctic research
- Many research programs related to fisheries
- The office of Education
- Big Earth Data initiative.
The Big Earth Data program came into existence to enable more and easier access to federal data.
As far as the United States Geological Survey is concerned, programs such as,
- Coastal work
- Water resources
divisions will all have to take some pretty significant hits in terms of budget cuts.
Most reports say, those cuts will probably cut 10 to 20 percent of their total funding.
We haven’t reached the worst yet though.
The worst fate comes to Ecosystems-focused programs.
They will get a whopping 40 percent funding cut.
The Trump administration’s proposed budget isn’t all about cuts though.
It would also increase the budget for some programs.
Those programs are specifically related to Mineral Resources and Energy programs.
These are the only programs which would receive a budgetary boost.
The boost would be actually around 15 percent.
What about the EPA you may ask?
It will have to see its research cut as well.
The Trump administration proposed budget would eliminate a program which previously allowed the EPA to fund different research programs are various universities.
Moreover, the cut would also mean that EPA won’t have the opportunity or the ability to make use of the research which the proposed budget would curtail.
The Trump administration also wants to eliminate the Clean Air and Water Acts.
This would directly affect the EPA.
Well, if the cuts do happen, then the EPA won’t have the resources to fund the program which helped states to comply with rules and regulations that resulted from the above-mentioned Acts.
In the act of doing so, the Trump administration would effectively take back a funded federal mandate.
More importantly, it would be de-funding it.
The new administration will zero out the budget of the government-backed symbol we all know as Energy Star.
Additionally, the government would ask appliance makes to pay additional fees if they wanted to use the Energy Star label.
There is another section in the addendum which basically suggests that the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission doesn’t consist of duties where it has to help companies address issues such as climate change.
One section read that the proposed budget would try to eliminate funding for many other voluntary partnership programs.
Furthermore, the proposed budget says that these programs did not have an essential role to play in EPA’s core mission.
Hence, they will rely on the private sector to implement these programs.
The proposed budget from the Trump administration also intends to cut the Cleanup of Superfund pollution sites.
However, if the Congressional budget allows it then the administration would restore that program again.
If one reads the official budget documents, one can’t really escape a certain impression.
The impression that the Trump administration doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in knowing more about the world that exists around the country.
Readers have to understand that some of that knowledge is essential.
It is essential to save lives and even properties.