Policy & Critical Issues News

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Stay up-to-date with the latest geoscience policy information and news by reading our policy news briefs and monthly review digests, reviewing the latest trends in federal geoscience funding, and reading our recents posts on the AGI Geotimes blog about events and other items of interest related to our Geoscience Policy and Critical Issues programs.

Policy News

AGI's Geoscience Policy program publishes up-to-date news that covers geoscience policy activities and related events in Washington, D.C. Stay current with our Policy News Briefs, read our Monthly Review for a digest of policy information and activities, or peruse our Annual Review for a summary of the year's major developments in federal geoscience policy.

You can also sign up to receive the Policy Monthly Review as an email digest.

Recent Policy News Briefs

IES Soils Glyph
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released draft management plans on August 17 for the revised Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments that aim to provide more flexibility for the use and management of these public lands. Developed following President Donald Trump's removal of...
Mount Saint Helens
On August 29, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released a revised reorganization proposal to establish twelve unified regional boundaries for agencies and bureaus in the Department of the Interior (DOI). Discussed at a round table with Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT-1) in Utah on August 28,...
Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
On August 21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired electric utility generating units and power plants across the country. The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule would replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP)...
The White House
Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), appeared before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on August 1 to discuss the EPA’s priorities going forward under this administration. Wheeler assumed his current position after Scott Pruitt...
Cracked road from earthquake
On August 3, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48) introduced the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 6650). NEHRP is a program that provides coordination and leadership in monitoring seismic activity, studying impacts, and improving...
Capitol at night
On August 24, the nominees for director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology for a nomination hearing....
Climate and Weather glyph
On August 28, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on U.S. Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) events and the status of the algal-bloom research, technology, and monitoring techniques. During opening remarks, senators highlighted the health,...
Atlean Lake in British Columbia
On August 16, the South Carolina District Court ruled that President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13778 to suspend the Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Finalized in 2015, the Clean Water Rule—also called the Waters of the United States...
U.S. Money
By the end of August, the Senate passed nine of their 12 appropriations bills, while the House – on recess in August – passed six. The bills passed by both chambers include funding for the Department of the Interior, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Energy, but only the Senate...
NASA hurricane satellite image
On August 1, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation amended and advanced several bills including the Space Frontier Act (S. 3277), the Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act (S. 3265), and the COASTAL Implementation Act (S.2242).

Recent Policy Monthly Reviews

2017 Annual Review of Geoscience Federal Policy

Education Policy Review (January-June 2018)


Federal Geoscience Funding

Stay up-to-date on the budget process and appropriations by fiscal year with the Library of Congress Appropriations and Budget page. The AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program provides information on trends in federal research and development funding, including information on the president's budget request and appropriations bills. AIP's Federal Science Budget Tracker also has useful information on the status of budgets and appropriations relevant to the physical sciences.


Federal Geoscience Nominations

Track the confirmation process of key geoscience presidential nominations. You can also track the nominations process through the Library of Congress and the websites of Senate committees of jurisdiction. Learn more About Nominations by the U.S. President and the confirmation process through the Library of Congress.

Blog Posts

Read our recent posts from the AGI Geotimes blog about Policy & Critical Issues topics.

Latest Policy & Critical Issues Blog Posts

A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Welcome to March! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program: If you’ve ever looked at an earthquake hazard map for the United States, you’ll have noticed familiar areas of high risk on the West Coast, Alaska, and parts of the Rockies. But if you let your eyes drift east, you’ll see a...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Welcome to February! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program: On January 26th we held our most recent webinar, “Tracking the Global Supply of Critical Materials”, which featured speakers Nedal Nassar from the U.S. Geological Survey and Vitor Correia from the European Federation of...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
As the first month of 2018 draws to a close, we thought it’d be a good time to look back over 2017 in the Critical Issues program. We would like to thank you for being part of the Critical Issues community this year, whether you were one of the 10,000+ people who watched a webinar live or on...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Happy New Year! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program: On December 6th we held our most recent webinar, “Geologic Mapping to Empower Communities: Examples from the Great Lakes”, which featured speakers from the Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition (GLGMC), a group of states and...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Welcome to December! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program: Our next webinar, “Geologic Mapping to Empower Communities: Examples from the Great Lakes” will take place on Wednesday December 6th at 1:30pm EST. Detailed geologic maps help communities around the country to make informed...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Welcome to November! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program: Last week was the Geological Society of America’s 2017 Annual Meeting, which took place in Seattle, WA. Our manager Cassy Rose presented a poster at the meeting about recent successes in our webinar series, which have...
The Lawn On D (across street from Boston Convention Center). The opening reception, which had a "Bostonopoly" theme, took place among games, performers, tasty food, and lots of mingling among attendees.
As an organization, we believe that it is absolutely critical that we communicate the importance of geoscience for informed decisionmaking at the regional, state, and local levels. So from August 6-9, AGI's Critical Issues Program Manager Cassaundra Rose attended the National Conference of...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Welcome to October! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program: Around the U.S. and the world there are thousands of projects that enhance the drainage of water into the ground. These efforts improve stormwater management and help to recharge groundwater supplies, but they’re easy to...
A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Welcome to September! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program:We are pleased to announce the publication of the final report for our 2016 Critical Issues Forum, “Addressing Changes in Regional Groundwater Resources: Lessons from the High Plains Aquifer.” This forum brought together a...
Cover of the July 2017 AEG News
The Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists continues to track changes and challenges to professional geologist licensure across different states. In addition to a current summary, a new article in the July 2017 issue of AEG News also discusses potential ways to track bills...