Undercutting Security: Congress Moves to Eviscerate Earth Science Programs. Straight party-line vote sends draconian NASA budget cuts out of committee to the House floor
Questions Pursue Republicans
The recent party-line vote in a US Congressional oversight committee has raised national security questions even as the Republican party positions itself as a supporter of “national security.”
Climate Change denialists and a vocal anti-science faction have moved to end the #EarthScience programs of a new fleet of NASA Earth monitoring satellites. In the process, they have signaled a deep opposition to one of the most critical national security missions of the US government.
The strategic shift is coming amid increasing attacks on the results of NASA’s multi-dimensioned roles dealing with security threats that impact US and global environments. Support missions, intelligence, geo-monitoring, resource assessments, the range of NASA roles is unique and vital in scientifically ‘measuring and managing‘ risk environments over time from space.
The recent political moves would, in effect, cover the eyes of this generation’s reporting of “Vital Signs“, as NASA refers to earth system monitoring and severely limit the spectrum of essential services NASA provides US agencies, space-earth enterprises, scientists, business, educators, and the public via data sharing on the Internet.
Scientific data is essential for environmental and national/global security and should be continued and expanded, not radically cut… The actions this past week by Republican lawmakers escalate the debate challenges in Congress and points out the adverse impacts of those looking to shut-down essential science and, in the process, damage national and environmental security work…
Republicans question why earth science from space is needed / Military Technologies
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a firebrand budget hawk who has proven as likely to rail against the Space Launch System, which has bipartisan support, as Earth Science, has kept some powder dry in the form of legislative language that would strike Earth observations from NASA’s core mission as spelled out in the agency’s legislative charter.
On April 30, as the House Science Committee proceeded with its bill markup, Rohrabacher appeared set to offer the language, plus his Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2015, as amendments to the legislation.
But when recognized by committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Rohrabacher withdrew his amendments from consideration, keeping the language in play for the rest of the legislative season.
Bolden, who is well aware of Rohrabacher’s proposed amendments, told SpaceNews he opposes any attempt to end NASA’s environmental observation activities.
“Anything that strikes responsibility for Earth Science and responsibility for providing necessary data to decision-makers about protecting this planet, about Earth, I think would be irresponsible, to be quite honest”, Bolden said.