October 13, 2003 - ASM Letter Regarding Increasing Funding for the EPA Research Programs

The Honorable Christopher Bond
Chair, Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and
Housing and Urban Development, and
Independent Agencies,
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
274 Senate Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Bond:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is writing to encourage you to provide higher levels of funding for several crucial research programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the VA/HUD/Independent Agencies appropriations bill for FY 2004.

In written testimony to the Subcommittee earlier this year, the ASM expressed concern over flat funding for the EPA extramural Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program during the past several budget cycles. The $40 million decrease for EPA research and development that is part of the Senate proposal could further damage this program. Moreover, the ASM is concerned over inadequate funding for the closely related STAR Graduate Environmental Fellowship Program as well as the agency’s intramural Safe Water and Water Research Program.

In particular, the ASM believes that the EPA requires higher funding for its research and development programs because these programs serve the agency in its need to develop and implement sound, science-based regulatory policies. Moreover the STAR Program supports research projects and laboratories that are crucial for EPA’s overall missions to protect human health and the environment as well as to meet new homeland security needs.

With its more than 40,000 members representing academic, industrial, medical, and governmental institutions, the ASM is the largest single life science organization in the world. The ASM appreciates having this opportunity to comment and would be pleased to provide additional information supporting this request to increase support for vital EPA research programs.