A Decrease for the EPA; a Boost for NASA

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed discretionary budget would decrease by $330 million from fiscal 2008 to $7.1 billion, with significant drops in spending on clean-water projects. The proposal calls for an overall decrease of almost $600 million from EPA spending in 2007 and the elimination of five programs.

The proposed NASA discretionary budget would increase by 1.8 percent, to $17.6 billion -- with new funds to restore Earth science projects that had been shelved. The agency said the additional money would also allow it to finish building the international space station in 2010, retire the space shuttle fleet and have a new spacecraft ready to launch by the spring of 2015.

"This increase demonstrates the president's commitment to funding the balanced priorities he set forth for the agency in space exploration, Earth and space science, and aeronautics research," said Deputy Administrator Shana Dale.

But Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology, said the budget appears to shortchange the agency. "It unfortunately appears to be a 'business-as-usual' budget that does little to address the significant challenges NASA is facing," he said in a statement. "It continues the Administration's practice of underfunding the agency."

The budget also calls for an increase of 14 percent in the National Science Foundation's discretionary budget over the allocation in 2008, including big increases for nanotechnology research and for advanced supercomputing and networking.

-- Marc Kaufman

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