Trump budget stirs unease in Boulder science community

Paul Aiken, Daily CameraThe National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Mesa Laboratory is seen in front of Boulder’s foothills on May 7, 2017.

The release of President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion spending plan for the fiscal year starting in October sparked concern on Tuesday in Boulder’s scientific community for its potential impact on the work that many see as critical to public safety in the face of a changing global climate.

At the national level, much of the early focus has been on the budget’s slashing to Medicaid and anti-poverty efforts. But its cuts to scientific research are also being viewed warily at the local level.

A statement was released Tuesday by Antonio Busalacchi, president of the Boulder-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research for the National Science Foundation.

Busalacchi’s statement emphasized the importance of the work in which UCAR is engaged, and made the point that it could be hamstrung through inadequate funding at the federal level.

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“We are concerned that the administration’s proposed cuts to research into the Earth system sciences will undermine the continued scientific progress that is so vitally needed to better protect the nation in the future from costly natural disasters,” the statement said.

“This would have serious repercussions for the U.S. economy and national security, and for the ability to protect life and property. Such funding cuts would be especially unfortunate at a time when the nation is moving to regain its position as the world leader in weather forecasting.”

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