Congressional Briefings

In collaboration with other scientific societies and coalitions, the AGI Geoscience Policy Program hosts congressional briefings to educate and inform policy makers on relevant geoscience topics and issues. These briefings feature scientific speakers from government, academic, and industry sectors.

Please view past and upcoming congressional briefing notices on our website and feel free to reach out to govt@agiweb.org with questions.

Mt. St Helens following its catastrophic 1980 eruption. Image Credit: U.S. Geological Survey/Photo by Tom Casadevall
(2016-07-12)
Lahars are rapidly rushing rivers of water and rock fragments that slide down volcanoes. They occur on the Aleutian volcanic arc in Alaska and the Cascade Range in the Northwest U.S. Lahars can flow down slopes at over 120 miles per hour and grow to 10 times their initial size. Lahars can trap people in hazardous areas and move bridges, buildings, and other manmade structures caught in their flow. To better understand how and when lahars happen, scientists use technology to observe, describe, and model the events as they unfold. Learn how scientists are working to protect communities impacted...
Technology background
(2016-06-22)
Robust data collections are vital for understanding and managing Earth’s natural resources and hazards: Earthquake data can help identify quake-prone areas and inform earthquake preparedness. Air quality data can reveal potential health risks and hazards from air pollution. Water quality data can capture noteworthy trends and changes in safety and accessibility. Ongoing efforts to build comprehensive and reliable data sets for various sectors of Earth Science help experts make informed decisions that keep communities safe. This briefing features experts from industry, academia, and state...
An oil drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico that drills up to 20,000 ft. Image Copyright © Noble Corporation.
(2016-05-16)
Offshore energy is a huge and growing resource. About 18 percent of U.S. oil and natural gas is produced offshore and production is growing. Globally, the offshore provides 30 percent of oil and natural gas.  Offshore wind is also a growing source of electricity, especially in Europe. The U.S. has significant offshore wind power potential, but no commercial wind facilities are in development. Ongoing technological advancements assure all these resources will continue to grow while addressing heightened environmental concerns. This briefing will bring together experts from academia, industry...
Excavator mining
(2016-03-03)
Critical minerals and materials are key components of the innovation economy. Minerals are a part of almost every product we use on a daily basis, either as the raw materials for manufacturing processes or as the end products themselves. Advanced technologies for communications, clean energy, medical devices, and national security rely on raw materials from mines throughout the world. In 2010, China curtailed exports of rare earth metals and sparked major concern about the security of global supply chains for a range of vital minerals and materials. This briefing will address the efforts...
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s (NOAA) map of sea surface temperature anomalies shows warmer surface water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during El Niño. Image Credit: NOAA
(2015-11-23)
Join us for a congressional briefing to learn about El Niño. How does it form and what are the roles of the ocean and atmosphere? What impacts can be anticipated from the current event?What are the opportunities and challenges in understanding, monitoring, and predicting El Niño? A panel of leading experts will walk us through these questions and more. Speakers: Dr. Tony Busalacchi, Director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland Dr. David DeWitt, Director of NOAA Climate Prediction Center Dr. Lisa Goddard, Director of the International Research...
Boulder Dam, Hoover Dam
(2015-11-19)
Hydropower is the largest renewable energy resource in the United States and provided about 6 percent of total U.S. energy generation in 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration*. Washington, Oregon, New York, and California are a few of the top hydropower producing states but nearly all states generate at least some hydroelectric power. Research is helping to expand the variety of hydropower technologies, which are being deployed at a range of scales. Hydropower’s complex interdependencies with other land and reservoir uses make it unique in our energy generation portfolio...
The Geysers field in northern California boasts the largest geothermal complex in the world and the first successful demonstration of EGS technologies in the United States.
(2015-09-15)
Geothermal energy is a relatively untapped resource that could be a significant source of clean power for the United States in the future. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, heat from the Earth’s interior could fuel more than 10 percent of the nation’s current electrical generating capacity. The United States is already the world leader in geothermal energy production, accounting for 28 percent of the global installed geothermal capacity. States including California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah have the greatest amount of current geothermal development, but deployment of this virtually...
Natural gas pump
(2015-06-12)
Geoscience information can be used by federal, state, and local decision makers to assess the positive and negative impacts of onshore oil and gas energy resource development, and to inform policy to both facilitate U.S. energy production and minimize impacts on water and land resources. In this briefing, the speakers will address key questions that geosciences help to inform, such as: How does onshore oil and gas development impact our water and land resources? What water and land resources are necessary for onshore oil and gas development? What new technologies are available or being...
Power lines. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy
(2015-04-21)
Energy, water, and land are fundamental, interrelated natural resources critical to the health, economic growth, and security of the nation. The connections and feedbacks among these three resources have impacts on human, environmental, and infrastructure systems. Although the U.S. is endowed with many options for supplying energy to meet national demands, different energy sources have different water and land-use requirements that have implications for local and regional water and land resources. This briefing will set the scene for a series of briefings examining the energy-water-land...
Gregory Bald Wildfire 1992
(2014-09-11)
The National Fire Protection Association, the University of California at Riverside and San Diego, and the Western Governors’ Association in conjunction with the Hazards Caucus Alliance are pleased to host a briefing on the challenges to the nation that wildfires pose. Experts will discuss advances in the science and understanding of wildfires, the impact of federal and state policies, mitigation strategies for communities, and new technologies for first responders. Speakers Ms. Laura Wilkeson, Western Governors’ Association: Summary of current WGA wildfire policy and efforts, effective state...

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