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Statement from Dr. Kathyrn Sullivan on NOAA’s FY 2014 Budget Request

April 10, 2013

While the economy has shown signs of recovery over the past year, continued fiscal uncertainty and tight budgets mean that government agencies, like so many families and businesses across the country, still face tough choices. At NOAA, we’re working to fulfill our core mission of science, service and stewardship and balance investments in current and future programs and services.  

Americans in all 50 states and territories have come to rely on NOAA’s products and services on a daily basis. Across all of NOAA, our employees and partners work day in and day out to foster scientific discovery, support economic vitality, and protect our planet’s resources for future generations.  

NOAA provides the environmental intelligence that helps citizens, businesses, and governments make smart choices. Just as every citizen depends on NOAA for weather information, so, too, do businesses rely on NOAA’s services. The fishing and shipping industries count on NOAA’s nautical charts and information about tides and currents before heading to sea. Farmers depend on our long-range forecasts and information about the drought to inform decisions. The entire country relies on NOAA’s observations and products to keep goods moving safely and efficiently through our ports.

While we still face significant challenges and an uncertain budget environment, the fiscal year 2014 budget request shows that we have listened to our stakeholders, exercised the necessary strong fiscal discipline and worked hard to make the right investments for the whole of NOAA. This year’s budget request of approximately $5.4 billion aims to: 1) ensure the readiness, responsiveness, and resiliency of communities from coast to coast; 2) help protect lives and property; and, 3) support vibrant coastal communities and economies.

Ready, Responsive, and Resilient Communities

Last year’s onslaught of severe weather events caused widespread damage and devastated families and businesses. These losses highlighted the need for communities across the nation to become more ready, more resilient, and more responsive.

One recent example is Hurricane/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy (Hurricane Sandy).  Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the value NOAA brings to society, as the whole agency mobilized to help the public prepare for, respond to, and initiate recovery from the storm. In the weeks prior to Hurricane Sandy, NOAA satellites and observing platforms provided the vital data needed for our forecast enterprise to predict the path and intensity of the storm and all its impacts. Once Hurricane Sandy passed through the Northeast, NOAA worked side-by-side with Federal, State, and local agencies to aid the area’s recovery. Our ships surveyed ports and harbors so that maritime commerce could resume. Our aircraft re-mapped the coastal zones, speeding the flow of aid to damaged communities and homeowners.  Our environmental response teams responded to oil and hazmat spills and assessed environmental damages and debris.  Our recovery work continues: NOAA’s coastal expertise, technical tools and information - such as coastal inundation products, maps, and storm surge modeling capabilities - are helping communities rebuild in a manner that is smarter and safer.

NOAA is the only federal agency with operational responsibility to provide critical and accurate weather, climate, and ecosystem forecasts that support national safety and commerce, and to protect and preserve ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources.  

This budget allows NOAA to deliver forecasts and warnings that can be trusted, provide services in a cost-effective manner, continue to promote preparedness and resilience to weather-related impacts, and improve the economic value of weather, water, drought, and climate information.  

Environmental Intelligence

Americans rely on satellite observations every day. NOAA’s environmental observations are the backbone of our global earth observing system and provide the information needed to provide a holistic picture of our planet from the depths of the oceans to the surface of the sun. The data supplied by NOAA satellites are critical to the full breadth of NOAA services and drive our ability to increase community and ecological resilience from the local to national level, now and into the future.  

NOAA missions, from issuing accurate weather forecasts to researching climate change, depend on this integrated suite of observing systems. NOAA’s satellites provide critical data for forecasts and warnings that are vital to every citizen and to our economy as a whole. They provide warnings for severe weather, enable safe air, land, and marine transportation, and even contribute directly to life-saving rescue missions. In addition to their key role in weather prediction, NOAA’s satellite observation suite also provides other benefits such as monitoring coastal ecosystem health to tracking migratory movements of endangered species and monitoring solar eruptions.  

Vibrant Coastal Communities and Economies

A healthy marine environment provides significant economic benefits to our nation. NOAA is the primary federal agency responsible for enabling and promoting the sustainable, safe, and efficient use of coastal resources and coastal places. NOAA plays a critical role in fostering the vitality of the growing coastal population and a productive economy by supporting sustainable resources that benefit industries, jobs, and provide services that make businesses more efficient and safe. Our investments in the management of vital marine resources ensure these resources will contribute to thriving communities and their economies well into the future. Whether it’s supporting science-based stewardship of living marine resources or supporting sound decision-making for human, ecological, and economic health, NOAA’s science enhances our understanding of our planet’s marine and coastal ecosystems. This budget provides key investments to support sustainable fisheries, protected resources, habitat conservation and restoration, coastal science, and research and development opportunities to protect and preserve our environment for future generations.

NOAA touches each and every community across the United States. Our employees are your colleagues, neighbors and friends.  NOAA and its employees work each day to maximize U.S. competitiveness, enable economic growth, foster science and technological leadership, and promote environmental stewardship.  This budget makes the right investments for NOAA while maintaining our commitment to delivering the services, stewardship and science America needs.

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator