JPSS Would Be Cut Again in CJS Bill

JPSS Would Be Cut Again in CJS Bill

NOAA’s budget request for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) would be cut again this year if the House CJS appropriations subcommittee recommendations stand.

The subcommittee made its recommendations last week. The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the CJS bill tomorrow. The committee’s press release last week sounded like good news for JPSS, saying “an increase of $430 million is included for the Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program to ensure the continuation of important weather data collection.”

Unfortunately for NOAA, as explained in the draft committee report on the bill that was released today, that is an increase over the amount that it received for the current fiscal year, FY2011, not over the request for FY2012. The subcommittee approved $901 million for JPSS in FY2012, $168 million less than the $1.07 billion request.

JPSS is NOAA’s portion of the restructured National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). As NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko has pointed out in several congressional hearings, Congress’s decision to not fund JPSS at the requested level for FY2011 could mean an 18-month data gap later this decade as NOAA’s older satellites cease functioning and there are no new ones to replace them. A reduction in FY2012 presumably could lengthen that gap.

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