Current Issues

The Current Issues page features an ongoing newsfeed of the most up-to-date geoscience policy information.

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IES Water Glyph
Western Democrats introduce water bill to address drought crisis
On July 31, a group of Democrats from Western states introduced the Water in the 21st Century Act, which includes a number of programs intent on conserving and managing diminishing water supplies in drought-stricken states.
Document Type: News Brief


U.S. Capitol
Senate committee passes bill restricting agency conference travel
Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the Conference Accountability Act of 2014 to limit the travel of federal employees to conferences.
Document Type: News Brief


U.S. Capitol
Senate committee releases draft of Interior and Environment appropriations report
Date: Friday, August 1, 2014
The Senate Committee on Appropriations released a committee report to accompany their Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill on August 1. Committee reports allow legislators to make their views on funding levels public at a time when the Senate appropriations process has come to a halt, and it is unclear whether specific appropriations bills will be voted on in committee and on the Senate floor.
Document Type: News Brief


IES Materials and Minerals Glyph
Critical minerals bill fails to pass House without Republican support
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
On July 22, the House failed to achieve the two-thirds majority vote required to pass the Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2013 (H.R. 1022), which supported federal investment in research and development for energy critical materials.
Document Type: News Brief


Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
Senate subcommittee examines future of the National Flood Insurance Program
Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on July 23 to discuss the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is up for reauthorization in 2017. The hearing covered recent changes to legislation aimed at increasing the NFIP’s solvency and plans to update Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) across the country.
Document Type: News Brief


Data Visualization
Senate Democrats introduce COMPETES reauthorization bill
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would fund science research and education and reauthorize the 2010 Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act on July 31.
Document Type: News Brief


U.S. Capitol
House subcommittee hearing on the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
A subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee met on July 29 to review the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). Committee members and witnesses agreed that reauthorization for NEHRP, which expired in 2009, is critical.
Document Type: News Brief


The White House
President Obama announces 3D Elevation Program
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
President Obama announced the launch of the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) on July 16. The 3D Elevation Program, a partnership program led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), aims to map the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories with a laser technology called lidar (light detection and ranging) in an eight-year period.
Document Type: News Brief


Icebergs in the Weddell Sea
House forms bipartisan caucus to bring attention to Arctic policy
Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) recently announced the formation of a new bipartisan caucus designed to bring more attention to Arctic issues in Congress.
Document Type: News Brief