More Short-Sighted Budget Cuts on Science (NOAA)

I know the plan here.  The Republican Overlords are suggesting (and passing) budget cuts on agencies that we NEED, in the hopes that they can play the good guy.  If the cut goes through, then they successfully cut the budget.  If it doesn’t go through then they play the “Well, we tried, but the Democrats wouldn’t let us cut the budget” card.  Either way, they win and we lose.

This video is a congresswoman speaking against the NOAA budget cut.

First, as I explained here, even if you cut their entire budget, it won’t matter a bit to the US debt, economy, or budget.  In fact, the cut would be bad as more people would be out of work.

Second, let’s take a minute and look at what The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does:

The National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.

So, everything from whether you should wear a coat to plotting the course of hurricanes Ike and Katrina, the NWS is involved.  Tornado tracking is included here to.  Basic research into weather allows us to predict more accurately, saving property and lives.

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) is dedicated to providing timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, & enhance the Nation’s economy, security, environment, & quality of life.

All the weather satellites, all the ocean monitoring satellites, all the climate satellites (well, those from the US) are all run through and the data collected by NESDIS.  It’s available at the link above.  Again, knowledge is the only weapon we have against the planet.  No amount of nuclear weapons can stop a tsunami or an earthquake.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is the federal agency, a division of the Department of Commerce, responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s living marine resources and their habitat. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the management, conservation and protection of living marine resources within the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone (water three to 200 mile offshore). Using the tools provided by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service assesses and predicts the status of fish stocks, ensures compliance with fisheries regulations and works to reduce wasteful fishing practices. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service recovers protected marine species (i.e. whales, turtles) without unnecessarily impeding economic and recreational opportunities.

Without someone monitoring the productivity of the ocean, overfishing can destroy the ecological balance and us too (we depend on fish).  I’ll admit, I didn’t know that NOAA was responsible for this.

In the U.S., where over half of us live along the coast and more than 78 percent of our overseas trade by volume comes and goes along our marine highways, the health of our coasts is intricately connected to the health of our nation’s economy. The National Ocean Service (NOS) translates science, tools, and services into action, to address threats to coastal areas such as climate change, population growth, port congestion, and contaminants in the environment, all working towards healthy coasts and healthy economies.

Remember, we are a part of the Earth.  We can’t damage it without affecting ourselves.  Just look at some of the issues from the 60s in Southeast Texas.  Rivers so polluted that ships would travel up them just to kill barnacles on the hull.

Here’s the detailed list from NOS

  • Helps build capacity and adaptation strategies for dealing with climate change and natural hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis
  • Applies coastal and marine spatial planning, to balance ocean use with stewardship and conservation
  • Works with partners to develop and implement voluntary plans and regulatory programs to overcome coastal challenges
  • Provides early-warning systems, forecasts, and monitoring for threats to human health, such as harmful algal blooms, hypoxia, toxins, disease, and climate-related hazards
  • Prepares for, helps prevent, responds to, assesses, and cleans up oil and chemical spills

The budget for ALL of this activity?  5.5 billion US dollars.  That’s it.

Let’s compare:

5,500,000,000  NOAA budget

3,500,000,000,000  US Budget.

Like I said, even if you cut NOAA completely.  IT WOULD MAKE NO DIFFERENCE IN THE US BUDGET!

So, please call or write your congrespersons and explain to them that NOAA is a vitally needed organization that does good work with very little money.  Just for comparison, the US has already signed contracts worth over 7.8 billion dollars for one US Navy ship.  That would run NOAA for a year and a half.

Update: The Gerald R. Ford (referenced above) is just the ship.  If you want to add two squadrons of Joint Strike Fighters, that increases the cost by another 3.1 billion dollars.  Helicopters, dedicated fighter aircraft, oh and people… that’s more money.

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4 Responses to More Short-Sighted Budget Cuts on Science (NOAA)

  1. Pingback: Defense, Aircraft Carriers, and US Policy | Cassandra's Tears

  2. Pingback: Congresswoman Edwards Speaks on Importance of NOAA | Deep Sea News

  3. Pingback: Sunday Round Up #1 « Breaching the Blue

  4. Pingback: Lancashire MCS Blog » Blog Archive » Marine Science update 27th March 2011

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