From the President’s Office – 11/16/2012
Congress returned to Washington this week for a lame-duck session that will set the tone for whether the President and Congress can work together. Only time will tell whether the political gridlock will carry over to the next Congress. I certainly hope that progress can be made quickly to avoid the fiscal cliff, including across-the-board spending cuts that could severely impact federal support for academic research. Earlier this week, I moderated a panel at the IOOS summit, which discussed the political and financial hurdles and opportunities facing the ocean observing community. While it will increasingly be difficult to garner funds through the traditional federal appropriations process, there are some potential sources of new research funding, including revenue sharing from offshore energy development and funds from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Speaking of which, yesterday, the Department of Justice and BP announced a $4 billion settlement on some of the criminal charges, which includes a new $350 million program on human health and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico to be administered by the National Academy of Sciences. I look forward to working with the Academy to find synergies between this new program and the $500 million Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative that Ocean Leadership is managing. BP and the Justice Department have yet to reach a settlement on civil charges, including the Clean Water Act, which could result in fines roughly between $5 billion and $20 billion, providing additional funds for research and restoration as outlined in the RESTORE Act. So, Stay tuned; we will keep you posted.
Enjoy the upcoming weekend and have a very happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family.