The Bush administration is eliminating a respected fellowship program for graduate research in the environmental sciences,Swiss Breitling Replica Watches
administration officials said this week. The fellowship provides $ 10 million a year to students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental science, policy and engineering, as part of an Environmental Protection Agency program called Science to Achieve Results, or STAR. Since 1995, the program has financed nearly 800 students, awarding $ 60 million for graduate-level environmental research. It now supports 311 fellows, with each receiving $ 30, 000 to $ 34, 000 for one to three years, said Chris Saint, assistant director at the agency's National Center for Environmental Research, which administers the program. \"This is the only federal program that is specifically designed to support the top students going into environmental science and related fields, \" said. David Block stein, a senior scientist with the National Council for Science and the Environment, an environmental science advocacy group in Washington. Under President Bush's 2003 budget proposal, most of the program's $ 100 million budget remains intact, but the fellowships would end, apparently falling victim to an effort by the administration to consolidate financing for environmental education under the National Science Foundation. A staff member for the House Committee on Science, which inspects parts of each agency, said the fellowship had been lost in the shuffle. \"It doesn't show up in their budget, and no one knows anything about it, \" the staff member said, \"It's not really explicit why this program is being cut. \" Plans to end the fellowship were made after more than 1 , 350 applications had been submitted for the 2003 program, Mr. Saint said. In February, applicants were notified that the program had been canceled. A number of interest groups and lawmakers have called for resumption of the fellowship. Supporters of the fellowship say the Bush administration has sent mixed messages. Last year, Christie Whitman, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, defended the fellowship in House appropriation hearings, saying it \"continues to successfully engage the best environmental scientists and engineers from academia through a variety of competitive, peer reviewed grants. \" Dr. Daniel Rubenstein, chairman of the ecology and evolutionary biology department at Princeton, said, \"If the goal is to formulate policy that is based in science so that it is made effective, then this program is a way to ensure that the next generation of scientists are in the pi peal one. \"