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  • Dan Powers

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse Urges Robust Federal Lab Funding

Congressman Joe Neguse is urging Appropriators in Congress to include robust funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in next year's budget. Colorado is home to over 30 federally-funded research labs and joint institutes across the state, making it one of the highest concentrations of federally funded science and research centers in the nation. Both NIST and NOAA have facilities in Boulder, Colorado as well as several joint research institutes with the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

“Our district is home to some of the nation’s top federal labs, research, and scientists,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Last year, I brought my colleagues on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to visit many of the federal labs in Boulder, including the NOAA laboratory, to see both the groundbreaking scientific research happening at these facilities as well as the need for additional support to update aging facility infrastructure and increase security and climate controls. In addition to introducing the Federal Labs Modernization Act last year to provide a permanent funding fix for these institutions, I’m requesting robust federal funding for these labs in this year’s budget process. Our nation cannot remain a leader in research and development without Congress’ dedication to providing the funding for these much needed improvements at federal laboratories.”

“Colorado is home to crucial research shaping our national security. From extreme weather threats to our food systems to new paradigms of energy resources to urgent public health concerns, our network of federal labs' scientists provide fundamental discoveries and tireless focus on challenges affecting our country,” said Dan Powers, Executive Director at CO-LABS. “At NOAA and NIST and several joint institutes American taxpayers are benefitting from the brilliant efforts of scientists and researchers to understand extreme weather and climate change dynamics, digital communication potential and cybersecurity threats, and dozens of other realms of research necessary to keep the United States safe and in a leadership role across innovative industries.Support for these labs cannot be overstated as a necessary national security investment.”

Congressman Neguse sent a letter requesting $592 million for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). OAR research focuses on forecasting large storms and seasonal wildfires, assessing local impacts of projected sea-level rise, and improving seasonal drought forecasts. It also improves understanding of ocean and atmospheric processes and the marine environment. OAR’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory is also located in Boulder, CO. Read the letter here.

Additionally, Neguse is requesting an $85 million increase in funding for the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) over FY2021 to further advance research projects in key areas, including quantum science and technology, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), as well as broader NIST measurement science programs. In addition, the letter requests an $82 million increase in facility construction which is necessary because “delayed facilities repairs and maintenance currently have a direct impact on NIST’s ability to provide critical services to industry,” as stated in the letter. In total, the letter asks for an $839 million investment in core laboratory research and $200 million for facilities construction. NIST’s Colorado-based facility is located in Boulder, CO.

In December, Congressman Neguse introduced the Federal Labs Modernization Act to ensure a permanent pathway for federal labs in Colorado and across the country to receive needed modernization and security updates. Throughout his first year in office, Congressman Neguse has visited multiple labs across the district and witnessed firsthand the need in some of these labs for updated infrastructure, energy efficiency, climate controls and security. In August, he hosted the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in his district to tour federal labs. The Committee’s Chair, Ranking Member and others visited NREL, NOAA, CIRES and NCAR and spoke with federal scientists there on their research.

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