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Updated 8 February, 2004

Statement of Dr. Robert T. Watson (OSTP) & Dr. D. James Baker (NOAA) before the Committee on Science, Space and Technology U. S. House of Representatives, May 4, 1994
Appendix III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the Committee's questions were implicitly answered within the body of the testimony. However, there are some aspects of question 2 that deserve further explanation.

Question 2.

Federal Figures suggest we are spending close to $6 billion on environmental R&D. At the same time, environmental compliance costs are estimated by EPA to exceed $150 billion.

Are we investing the right amount of money in environmental R&D to develop cost-effective solutions to the many problems we face? Are we adequately investing in monitoring and data management so we can both identify emerging environmental problems and measure the effectiveness of our proposed solutions?

The number of important environmental issues facing our nation and the world is daunting, and as the Committee correctly notes, the estimated costs for the U.S. associated with environmental compliance costs exceed $150 billion annually, of which the annual federal government share exceeds $10 billion. The question of whether $6 billion of federal R&D is adequate to develop cost- effective solutions is difficult to answer at present. There is no question that additional resources could be usefully spent, however, the issue is the relative priority of resources for environment and natural resources R&D compared to other high priorities in these difficult times of limited discretionary funding. The CENR is looking carefully at how we are spending our existing funding. For example, we should be sure that we are spending our resources on the areas that will help us to reduce scientific uncertainties and that have the best return on the dollar, such as, in the biological sciences, socio- economic research, learning how to make policy decisions with uncertain scientific data, and data and information systems (the importance of these areas of research was discussed in the testimony and in Appendix II).

The Administration recognizes the importance on investing in the development of environmental technologies that enable sustainable development, and in accelerating their diffusion into the marketplace through partnerships with industry, state government, academia and non-governmental organizations. The challenge is facilitate the evolution from pollution control and waste management to pollution prevention and resource conservation, while continuing an aggressive program to clean up and remediate environmental hazards.


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