Scientists sound alarm over Trump’s budget

Helion Energy tour
Helion Energy CEO David Kirtley shows off a prototype for a fusion reactor during Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s visit to Helion’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. The research is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, which is slated for elimination. (Jay Inslee via Flickr)

Today’s White House outline for a “skinny budget” covering $1.15 trillion in discretionary spending aims a sharp blow at federally funded research on topics ranging from agriculture to zoonotic diseases – and is prompting sharp responses from researchers as a result.

Among those hardest hit would be the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health. The EPA would be in for a 31 percent overall cutback, and research into climate would be eliminated. NIH’s $31.7 billion budget would be reduced by 18 percent.

Spending for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science would be reduced by nearly 20 percent. The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA-E, which is funding fusion research at Helion Energy in Redmond, Wash., would be completely eliminated.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant program, which funds marine research and outreach at the University of Washington, would face the same grim fate.

The “America First” budget blueprint released by the Office of Management and Budget calls for reductions across a wide spectrum of agencies in order to balance big increases for defense and border enforcement, including a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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