Trump’s Proposed Cuts to NOAA and Climate Science
Marcia S. Smith of SpacePolicyOnline.com follows a Washington Post leak of Trump’s proposed cuts to NOAA of 17% for the 2018 budget. In particular, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, NESDIS, which funds most satellites, will be cut by 22%, or $513 million of their $2.349 billion budget. The National Centers for Environmental Information, with a budget of only $60 million, and is a repository for climate and environmental information, is specifically targeted. Again, in Trump’s march to eliminate anything related to climate change science, he is eliminating agencies that provide a lot of useful information for American industries and government.
NESDIS is mainly Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction (PAC), at $2.160 billion, which handles satellites. NESDIS also shares satellite data from satellites launched by Europe, Japan, France, Taiwan, India, and Canada.
Which agency, NOAA or NASA, should control earth observing satellites is a political football. The game is refereed by the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Those tackling the football for the White House includes UC Irvine’s Business School “Economist” Peter Navarro, who favor NASA only doing exploration. In my opinion, speaking from friends at the end of the tail that gets wagged, bureaucrats who move programs around on paper have no idea of repercussions this has on already trim and smooth running programs, in relocating expert personnel, facilities, and delicate satellite and rocket components, which can’t afford to lose highly specialized technical personnel. The costs of redeployment will go sky high for no good reason, whatsoever.
Several analysts have speculated on the above move of earth satellites to NOAA, which has a smaller 2016 budget of $5.774 billion, compared to NASA’s 2017 request of $20.4 billion, as a way to kill many such programs.