NOAA 99-99
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tim Tomastik
2/1/99

NOAA ANNOUNCES FISCAL YEAR 2000 BUDGET

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has requested a budget of $2.5 billion for fiscal year 2000, a 13 percent increase of about $290 million over the current appropriation.

The increase is slated to extend NOAA's many accomplishments in 1998, from issuing weather and climate forecasts during a strong El Niño season, to managing our Nation's ocean and marine resources, which culminated in last year's National Ocean Conference in Monterey, Calif. It will also support a number of departmental, interagency and presidential initiatives.

"The extreme weather events caused by last year's El Niño and this year's La Niña put NOAA on prominent display to the public, and we more than met the challenge," said D. James Baker, NOAA administrator and under secretary for oceans and atmosphere. "NOAA scientists provided a six-month forecast for El Niño, an advance warning that allowed emergency managers, businesses, communities and individuals to prepare for the strong storms it brought. These forecasts saved countless lives and many billions in property. This budget allows NOAA to build on these achievements and meet the challenges of the coming years."

NOAA's mission of environmental stewardship was also carried out in its strong efforts to protect the Nation's natural resources. In 1998, NOAA developed innovative partnerships with the states of Washington, Oregon, and California to protect and recover at-risk Pacific salmon and steelhead species. More than 800 national leaders, members of Congress, researchers, and other interested stakeholders attended the National Ocean Conference, and were joined by an additional 1,000 parties over nationwide satellite downlinks.

The President's Budget Request also allows NOAA to perform an essential role in a number of departmental, interagency and presidential initiatives, including the Lands Legacy Initiative, the Year of the Ocean Initiative, the Climate in the 21st Century Initiative, the Clean Water Initiative, the Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative, the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, and building the capacity of the Nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Compared with the FY 2000 base, significant resource changes in the FY 2000 budget include:

  • $131.1 million to continue the President's commitment to restore the health and wealth of America's fisheries and protect species in danger of extinction;
  • $78.1 million to support the Year of the Ocean Initiative, an outgrowth of the National Ocean Conference. This will help to promote new scientific insight into the oceans, sustain fisheries and other marine resources, provide new opportunities for economic growth, and protect fragile coastal communities and ecosystems, such as coral reefs, from damage and environmental degradation. This includes $51.6 million to design and acquire the first of four new fisheries research vessels;
  • $32 million of the $105 million Lands Legacy Initiative will promote "smart growth" strategies along America's coast. $15 million is also included in Lands Legacy to strengthen protection at the 12 existing National Marine Sanctuaries, and to enhance America's marine resource protection through planning for future sanctuaries. An additional $14.7 million is devoted to the anticipated doubling of the protected areas covered by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System;
  • $42.1 million in support of the Administration's Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative, to conduct critical activities to reduce and mitigate the direct and indirect costs of natural disasters;
  • $28.1 million to enhance significantly NOAA's oceanic and atmospheric research capabilities;
  • $100 million to establish a new Pacific Coastal Salmon Conservation Fund to help share the costs of state, tribal and local conservation activities for at-risk Pacific salmon runs in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska;
  • $22 million for the Administration's Clean Water Initiative, focusing on polluted run-off and growing outbreaks of pfiesteria and other harmful algal blooms, hypoxia, and other symptoms of degraded coastal ecosystems.

The budget request also provides funding for some anticipated inflationary changes, such as the FY 2000 pay raise.

NOAA's FY 2000 budget request is available on the Internet at http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/budget2000