Republicans hostile to proposed NOAA spending hike
Agency leaders say they need more money for fisheries management and offshore wind regulation.
May 24, 2023
House Republicans scoffed at the Biden administration's proposed spending hike for NOAA on Tuesday.
The White House's $6.8 billion NOAA funding request for fiscal 2024 would be a more than $450 million increase from current levels.
That increase would boost the agency’s ability to provide climate data and forecasting, and better manage fisheries, Deputy Administrator Jainey Bavishi told a House Natural Resources subcommittee.
But Republicans — who are looking to cut spending dramatically this year — used the hearing to poke holes at NOAA's work and whether the agency is justified in seeking more money.
Bavishi said NOAA is requesting an additional $39 million to support its offshore wind environmental review and permitting process, and to mitigate impacts of these activities on ecosystems.
At stake is the Biden administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Standing in the way of development are permitting delays, as well as GOP concern that the activities disturb North Atlantic right whale habitat in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
House Republicans have a goal of returning discretionary spending to fiscal 2022 levels. By excepting defense and veterans programs, Democrats say the reductions at most agencies would be much deeper.
"Cutting [NOAA's] budget means cutting funding for essential research on the impacts of climate change to agriculture, natural resources and inland and coastal communities," said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee.
He said, “Let me emphasize, nothing in NOAA’s portfolio is optional. We're talking about essential weather forecasting, fisheries science. Cutting NOAA’s budget means cutting services that make our country safe and boost economic activity.”
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By: Alex Hargrave
Source: E&E Daily
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