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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals
The leading agency in environmental R&D—at least in terms of budget levels in FY 1995—is NASA, which is expected to spend $1.4 billion, the largest share of which will go to its Earth Observing System (EOS). Details are shown in Table 5. NASA's capabilities in space transportation provide it with the means for conducting important large-scale research on the earth's atmosphere and surface. The nature of these studies, and their context within a large and costly space program, make them the most expensive single element of federal environmental R&D. While some of the work relates to pollution control and abatement, the largest share is devoted to aspects of global change and other large-scale atmospheric, oceanic, and geologic processes. NASA's environmental R&D has grown at an average annual rate of 20 percent since FY 1993, although this is not likely to be sustained in coming years.
DOE (shown in Table 6) supports a wide range of environmental R&D, most of it associated with mitigation of the effects of energy production on the environment. Environmental restoration and waste management R&D, part of the much larger environmental restoration effort comprises the greatest share. Clean coal technology has also been a major focus of DOE's work, although it was sharply reduced in FY 1995. DOE's research also contributes to the national effort on global change through studies of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, conducted mainly at national laboratories and universities. DOE's environmental R&D programs total $580 million in FY 1995, down about $200 million from FY 1994.
Basic research on the environment is the province of NSF, whose efforts total some $622 million in FY 1995 and have grown at a rate of 8 percent a year over the FY 1993–1995 period. (See Table 7.) Most of these efforts are in environmental sciences, including ecology and environmental biology, ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, earth sciences, and polar programs. NSF also funds social science research related to global change as well as engineering research in a number of environmental areas, including earthquake hazard mitigation. NSF funds most of its environmental research through investigator-initiated grants to academic researchers and in FY 1992 NSF was responsible for nearly half of federal grant funding for environmental R&D (Gramp, Teich, and Nelson 1992, p. 26).
The Department of the Interior is another key source of support for environmental R&D, as shown in Tables 8 and 9. The U.S. Geological Survey, whose long-standing mandate is to classify and analyze the nation's water, mineral, energy, and other geologic resources, also conducts work on water quality, nuclear waste, energy development, natural hazards, and global change. Other agencies in the Interior Department that conduct environmental R&D include the National Biological Service, Bureau of Mines, Minerals Management Service, and National Park Service. Interior's environmental R&D programs total nearly $570 million.
Environmental research is supported by many units of the Department of