Keep Up the Momentum for NOAA’s Budget

NOAA is a vital agency to communities and the economy and needs full funding in FY24

There’s been much debate swirling in the news of the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget process, including the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This federal agency is critical for its oversight of our ocean and Great Lakes, our coastal ecosystems and communities and our national resources. Whether you live on the coast or inland, NOAA’s services, data and research benefit communities everywhere in the United States and fuel our economy. Maintaining robust annual funding across all of NOAA’s interdependent programs is essential.

Recently, President Biden released his FY24 budget proposal, including strong funding for NOAA to meet our growing needs nationally. This proposal, totaling $7.1 billion, places a critical focus on building resilient communities, expanding clean ocean energy, protecting ocean resources and increasing our understanding of the ocean and climate. Simply put, the president’s proposal would provide the funds needed to keep NOAA headed in the right direction at a critical time for our ocean and climate. 

NOAA FY24 Proposed Budget from President Biden 

FY23 OmnibusFY24 RequestWhy is this vital?
National Ocean Service $693,422 $687,742 To continue to support ocean economies and safe and effective shipping as global commerce increases
National Marine Fisheries Service           $1,093,347 $1,154,874 To continue building climate-ready, resilient fisheries
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research $761,297  $786,275 To continue to explore and learn from our deep sea and underwater ecosystems, understand and anticipate climate impacts, and discover opportunities for more robust science on these issues
National Weather Service $1,356,742  $1,380,086 To bring leaders, businesses and the American public early and accurate critical information on weather conditions, including extreme weather, storms, hurricanes and flooding
National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Services $1,705,656  $2,073,921 To increase speed and capacity of understanding of ocean and climate through improved data collection
Mission Support $503,760  $605,565 To provide the capacity to utilize last year’s supplement dollars, act on climate and help transition to a clean-energy future
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations $460,677  $458,961 To provide the capacity to operate our vessels and aircraft that gather the data from the air above and the seas below and respond to emergencies
Total$6,686,366 $7,147,424 

It’s important to note NOAA’s annual budget is separate from the much-needed supplemental resources that were approved by Congress last year through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These acts included funds to increase coastal resiliency and help communities adapt to climate change, tackle plastic pollution and facilitate regional planning for increasing ocean uses. While the supplemental funding was a critical boost, it cannot replace steady appropriations. NOAA must be able to maintain base capacity, hold long-term partnerships and contracts, and employ people on the ground (and in the water). Think of the supplemental funding as the wave to launch the ship for critical NOAA initiatives; now we must keep the ship sailing—and ensure that all of NOAA’s programs have the resources they need to meet the growing challenges of our time.

Consider all the ways that NOAA touches your lives and our economy. NOAA manages our nation’s fisheries, helping put seafood on our tables while supporting jobs and generating billions of dollars. NOAA also provides critical data for shipping, aiding in the delivery of goods and services to consumers, by helping vessels avoid dangerous weather and water conditions and navigate efficiently, which saves time and money. NOAA plays a lead role in restoring and protecting our ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems and economies, including commercial fishing, and helps communities address the problems created by marine debris and pollution. Additionally, NOAA helps communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding and drought, which can have devastating economic impacts. The president’s budget would help to ensure all these benefits continue.

But ultimately, Congress has the power of the purse. 

In the past few weeks, members of Congress have muddied the waters of the budget process with conversations about the federal debt ceiling. Some legislators are working toward drastic and irresponsible cuts to non-defense budget items—items like NOAA and its programs—upwards to the tune of 22 percent. Cuts like this would dramatically shrink NOAA’s budget and have ripple effects felt across the agency – and felt across the government. Heavy cuts to NOAA would hamstring its ability to deliver on all its core benefits, affecting the everyday lives of Americans. 

These cuts would create a tidal wave of bad news. This is where you come in.  These are your elected officials, after all, and your voice matters! Let Congress know that you value the services NOAA provides for our ocean, coasts,  Great Lakes—and so much more—and ask your elected representatives to say YES to funding NOAA at the current or higher levels.

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