Lawmakers move to protect funding for climate change research

Lawmakers move to protect funding for climate change research
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging appropriators not to cut funding from one of the federal government’s climate change research accounts. 

In a letter penned by Reps. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungOvernight Energy: New EPA head looks to reassure staff | New round of ex-Pruitt staffers leave | House votes to overhaul fisheries law | Trump rips Germany for pipeline deal with Russia House votes to overhaul fishery management law Bipartisan solution is hooked on facts, not fiction MORE (R-Alaska) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), the members told appropriators to preserve the $25.3 million in funding for the National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers. 

The program, established in 2008 during the George W. Bush administration, provides climate-related research to fish and wildlife managers as a way to help them “prepare for, respond to, and reduce the negative consequences of climate extremes,” according to the letter.

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The Trump administration has requested $17.3 million for the program in 2018, a $7.9 million cut from current levels. 

In a letter to Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), the chairman and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee’s Interior and Environment panel, the members said the program has “helped natural and cultural resource managers assess climate-related vulnerabilities in their local jurisdictions as a first step in enhancing preparedness.”

“We support the reputable and important work of the [Department of Interior’s] National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers," they wrote. “We understand that their return-on-investment is large and we encourage continued stable support and full funding for the program.”

The Trump administration proposed slashing funding for several science research accounts in its 2018 budget request, which lawmakers are beginning to consider this week. 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is due to testify before Calvert’s committee on Wednesday about Trump’s $11.6 billion budget request for the department.