NOAA’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration

Silencing Science Tracker

NOAA’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration

On May 23, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued President Trump’s proposal for the Budget of the U.S. Government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The budget proposes significant cuts in funding for climate and other environmental research at various federal agencies. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the Department of Commerce, would see its research programs cut by seven percent or $49 million (compared to FY 2017 levels). The cuts would have a particularly significant impact on NOAA’s climate change research programs. Funding for NOAA’s oceanic and atmospheric research program would decline by seventeen percent which, according to a 2018 report, “would drastically reduce NOAA’s support for climate research carried out by NOAA’s own laboratories and at academic institutions . . . If sustained, such reductions will result in a loss of new knowledge, the possible closure of one or more NOAA laboratories and/or university cooperative institutes, and a decline in the education and training of the next generation of geoscientists.”

UpdateOn February 9, 2018, President Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act which allocates significant funding to NOAA to improve its research capabilities. Among other things, the Act provides:

  • $50 million for “improvements to operational and research weather supercomputing infrastructure and for improvement of satellite ground services used in hurricane intensity and track prediction;”
  • $50 million to “improve weather forecasting, hurricane intensity forecasting and flood forecasting and mitigation capabilities, including data assimilation from ocean observing platforms and satellites;”
  • $43 million for repair and replacement of observing assets, equipment, and property; and
  • $40 million for mapping, charting, and geodesy services.

On March 22, 2018, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill for FY2018. The bill rejects many of President Trump’s proposed cuts to funding for NOAA programs. Under the bill, NOAA’s overall budget would increase by $234 million, compared to FY2017 levels. The budget includes $1 billion for the National Weather Service and $883 million for NOAA Fisheries operations and research.


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