Policy News Briefs

PDF versionPDF version

The Policy News Briefs page features an ongoing newsfeed of the most up-to-date geoscience policy information.

Subscribe to the Policy Monthly Review.


Use a comma to filter by multiple years
Use a comma to filter by multiple months
The White House
Federal Register Summary: June 2018
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2018

A summary of notices posted to the Federal Register by geoscience-related federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, and more.

 

Hawaiian flower
House and Senate pass versions of the 2018 Farm Bill
Date: Thursday, June 28, 2018

Following the House passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) by party line vote on June 21, the Senate amended H.R. 2 with text from S. 3042, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, and an amendment providing a one-year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Senate passed the bill on June 28 before breaking for July recess.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
House and Senate pass appropriations legislation funding FY 2019 Energy and Water Development
Date: Thursday, June 28, 2018

In June 2018, the House and Senate consecutively passed the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019 (H.R. 5895) to make progress on the appropriations process before the fiscal year (FY) 2019 deadline of September 30, 2018. More FY 2019 appropriations bills are slated to be considered in July, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to shorten the Senate’s August recess to proceed with appropriations legislation and nominee confirmation.  

 

Natural gas pump
House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee discusses oil and gas operations legislation
Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

On June 6, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources considered four draft bills aimed at streamlining oil and gas production on federal lands. These bills support President Donald Trump’s executive order (EO 13783), “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” to reduce regulations and processes that may hinder domestic energy development. On June 27, the committee approved three of these bills – H.R. 6087, H.R. 6107, and H.R. 6088 – on party line votes.

 

The White House
White House releases plan to reform and reorganize executive branch agencies
Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

On June 21, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a plan to reform and reorganize executive branch departments and agencies of the federal government, following President Donald Trump’s March 13, 2017, executive order (E.O. 13781) intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch. The plan outlines over eighty recommendations for structural realignment across the executive branch, including changes to geoscience-related federal agencies.

 

Writing hands
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosts a State-Federal STEM Education Summit
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2018

On June 25 and 26, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted the 2018 State-Federal STEM Education Summit, bringing together education and science leaders from eighteen federal agencies along with more than two STEM leaders. Throughout the summit, stakeholder groups provided input for development of the upcoming Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan, which is required by the America COMPETES Act of 2010 (PL 11-358) to be updated every five years.

 

The White House
Senate hearings consider EPA and DOE nominees; President Trump nominates head of CEQ
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2018

At the end of June, Senate committees held hearings to consider nominees for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Christopher Fall, the nominee for director of DOE’s Office of Science; Daniel Simmons, the nominee for assistant secretary of DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and Peter Wright, the nominee for assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Land and Emergency Management. On June 12, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Mary Neumayr to be the Chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which oversees the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) across federal agencies. To track the confirmation process of key geoscience presidential nominations from the Trump Administration, visit AGI’s Federal Nominations page.

 

House chamber
House subcommittee reviews three wind energy bills
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources discussed three bills that would boost offshore wind projects on June 26. One of the draft bills would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to include a leasing program for offshore renewable energy. Another draft bill would expand the Act to pertain to U.S. territories, such as Guam. The third bill would create a federal grant program to train workers who want to transition to offshore wind from other industries.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
House subcommittee discusses federal land protections and designations in Montana and Utah
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing to consider several pieces of public lands legislation with potential impacts in Montana and Utah. Two of the bills would remove Wilderness Studies Area (WSA) designations from various lands in Montana managed by the Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), respectively. The Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018 would establish a National Conservation Area, a National Monument, and wilderness areas in Utah, potentially affecting almost one million acres of land.

 

Atlantic waves
President Trump signs executive order implementing a new national ocean policy
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

On June 19, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13840, “Ocean Policy to Advance Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States,” revoking and replacing much of the previous administration’s ocean policy. E.O. 13840 seeks to improve interagency coordination on ocean-related matters, public access to data, and engagement with marine industries, the science and technology community, and other stakeholders.

 

U.S. Capitol
House and Senate committees approve FY 2019 Interior-Environment appropriations bills
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2018

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved their fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills to fund the Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other agencies. The House bill (H.R. 6147) directs $1.23 billion to DOI, an increase of $64.5 million compared to FY 2018 enacted levels, and the Senate bill (S. 3073) provides an increase of $30 million to DOI for a total of $1.20 billion.

 

Capitol at night
Senate Appropriations Committee approves NSF, NOAA, NASA, NIST, and OSTP funding
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved their Commerce, Justice, and Science fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bill. Similar to the House bill, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019 (S. 3072) would increase funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) compared to FY 2018 levels, but decrease funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
FERC commissioners recommend against subsidizing coal and nuclear power plants in oversight hearing
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a formal oversight hearing for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 12, 2018, with all five commissioners present for the first time in a decade. FERC is responsible for regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, oil, and natural gas, and plays an integral role in reviewing proposals to build natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and providing licenses for hydroelectric power projects.

 

Study group
Sexual harassment report released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report on the prevalence, nature, and impacts of sexual harassment of women in academic science, engineering, and medicine. The report concluded that organizational climate, including the degree of male-domination and tolerance for harassment, was the single most influential factor in the likelihood of sexual harassment occurring in an organization.

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
Lawmakers discuss the future of the International Space Station
Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

In response to President Donald Trump’s request to terminate direct federal funding to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025, lawmakers in the House and Senate held several hearings beginning in May and June 2018 to discuss the future of the ISS. The Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness held the first in a series of two hearings on May 16, and the second on June 6. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology also held a hearing to discuss the ISS on May 17.

 

Atlantic waves
Senate Oceans Subcommittee reviews the first decade of the NOAA Digital Coast Program
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on June 5 to review the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Digital Coast program. The program provides a free online database to help meet the unique needs of the coastal management community.

 

The White House
Federal Register Summary: May 2018
Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018

A summary of notices posted to the Federal Register by geoscience-related federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior (DOI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and more.

 

Capitol at night
Senate and House appropriations bills increase funding for the Department of Energy
Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Department of Energy (DOE) is poised to receive a significant increase in funding for FY 2019, as both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations rejected the administration’s proposed cut of $4 billion. The House Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019 would increase DOE funding by $925 million for a total budget of $35.5 billion, while the Senate’s version of the bill would provide a slightly lower total for DOE at $35.0 billion.

 

Technology background
President Trump nominates acting head of ARPA-E as the new Director of DOE Office of Science
Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018

On May 24, President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Christopher Fall for the position of Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE Office of Science is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, supporting fundamental energy research at DOE laboratories and more than three hundred institutions of higher education in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Dr. Fall is currently the acting head of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

 

IES Water Glyph
Congress moves forward with reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lawmakers from both the House and the Senate introduced bipartisan bills to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which should be passed every two years. The legislation provides for improvements to the nation’s ports, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water infrastructure administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure each approved their chamber’s version of the WRDA reauthorization on May 22 and May 23, respectively.

 

Technology background
House committee approves three bills supporting scientific research at the Department of Energy
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved three bipartisan bills on May 23 that support and expand science programs at the Department of Energy. H.R. 5905, the Department of Energy Science and Innovation Act of 2018, would reauthorize basic research programs in the DOE Office of Science. H.R. 5906, the ARPA-E Act of 2018, would expand the mission of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. H.R. 5907, the National Innovation Modernization by Laboratory Empowerment Act, would allow the directors of national laboratories approve cooperative research agreements costing $1 million or less.

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
NASA launches robotic explorer to Mars and GRACE-FO Earth-monitoring satellites
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On May 5, NASA successfully launched its first robotic explorer to conduct an in-depth study of the interior of Mars, along with two paired CubeSats, which are lower-cost, miniaturized satellites. NASA also launched an extension of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission on May 22 to monitor changes in surface and underground water on Earth.

 

Mount St. Helens
Senate passes bill to improve national volcano early warning and monitoring capabilities
Date: Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Senate unanimously passed the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act (S. 346), sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), on May 17. The bill establishes the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System, under the authority of the U.S. Geological Survey, to modernize and unify the current U.S. volcano monitoring network, including a data center and a national volcano monitoring office that is operational twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

 

Bingham Copper Mine
Department of the Interior finalizes list of critical minerals
Date: Friday, May 18, 2018

On May 18, the Department of the Interior released the final version of the Critical Minerals List (83 FR 23295) in accordance with Executive Order 13817. After reviewing 453 comments, the final list is unchanged from the 35 minerals first proposed in the draft released in February this year.

 

U.S. Money
House Appropriations Committee approves NSF, NOAA, NASA, NIST, and OSTP funding
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2018

On May 17, the House Appropriations Committee approved the chamber’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 5952). The bill would provide $8.2 billion for NSF, which is $407.5 million more than the FY 2018 enacted amount; $5.2 billion for NOAA, a $750 million reduction from last year; $21.6 billion for NASA, an increase of $840 million; and $985 million for NIST, a decrease of $214 million.

 

Earth
House Appropriations Committee approves funding for NASA climate monitoring
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2018

In early-May, reports emerged that NASA canceled the Climate Monitoring Program (CMP). In effort to preserve the program, on May 17, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a manager’s amendment to report language of the Science Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.R. 5952) that would designate $10 million for a climate monitoring system.

 

Drilling rig
BSEE proposes revisions and reductions in offshore drilling regulations
Date: Friday, May 11, 2018

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would revise and reduce regulations on offshore drilling outlined in the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Final Rule of 2016 (WCR). BSEE is soliciting comments by July 10 on the proposed rulemaking, particularly relating to BOP testing materials, the 0.5 ppg (pounds per gallon) drilling margin rule, and alternative ways to meet the RTM provisions.

 

Natural gas pump
House lawmakers introduce legislation to reauthorize DOE Office of Fossil Energy
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

On May 10, Representative Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) introduced the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act (H.R. 5745), which would reauthorize the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy for the first time in over a decade to expand research on new carbon capture, sequestration, and utilization technologies. The proposed legislation authorizes $825 million for FY 2019, with slight funding increases each year through FY 2023, for these research expansions.

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
House passes legislation to advance nuclear waste storage in New Mexico and Nevada
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

On May 10, the House passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018 (H.R. 3053). The bill would resume and expedite licensing for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and authorize the Department of Energy (DOE) to construct an interim storage facility for consolidation and temporary storage of nuclear waste in New Mexico until the completion of a permanent facility. The FY 2019 Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill (S. 2975) does not include funding for Yucca Mountain storage, but the House bill (H.R. 5895) would provide $268 million to restart the adjudication of the Yucca Mountain license application.

 

IES Oceans Glyph
Research community responds to NSF divestment of marine seismic research vessel
Date: Monday, May 7, 2018

On April 10, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter, titled “Towards a New Approach for the Provision of Marine Seismic Capabilities to the U.S. Research Community,” announcing its decision to divest of the marine seismic research vessel Marcus G. Langseth by 2020. Early career geophysicists and groups such as the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) have replied to NSF with letters expressing concern about divestment of the vessel and limited options to continue cutting edge seismic research in deep-ocean crustal imaging.

 

IES Water Glyph
EPA proposes new transparency rule for regulatory science
Date: Monday, April 30, 2018

The EPA released a new proposed rule, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, in the Federal Register on April 30. The rulemaking summary states, “the proposed regulation provides that when EPA develops regulations, including regulations for which the public is likely to bear the cost of compliance, with regard to those scientific studies that are pivotal to the action being taken, EPA should ensure that the data underlying those are publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.”

 

The White House
Federal Register Summary: April 2018
Date: Monday, April 30, 2018

A summary of notices posted to the Federal Register by geoscience-related federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior (DOI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and more.

 

Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
House passes PREPARE Act and Disaster Recovery Reform Act to improve disaster resilience
Date: Friday, April 27, 2018

The House passed a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on April 27, which included a section requiring changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase the agency’s emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation. Included in the disaster section is the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (H.R.4660) and the PREPARE Act (H.R.4177).

 

U.S. Capitol
Administrator Pruitt answers questions from House lawmakers at EPA FY 2019 budget hearings
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt fielded an array of questions at back-to-back congressional hearings, which were originally intended to discuss the EPA’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request of $6.15 billion, a $1.9 billion or 24 percent reduction from FY 2018 enacted levels. The hearings were peppered with questions regarding ethics issues, policy concerns, and parochial projects.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Senate confirms USGS Director, NASA Administrator, Secretary of State, EPA Deputy Administrator
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. James Reilly as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey on April 9. In April, the Senate also voted  to confirm Andrew Wheeler as Deputy Administrator of the EPA, Representative James Bridenstine as Administrator of NASA, and Michael Pompeo as Secretary of State. To track the confirmation process of key geoscience presidential nominations from the Trump Administration, visit AGI’s Federal Nominations page.

 

U.S. Money
White House floats rescission of FY 2018 appropriations
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2018

The White House and some Republican members of Congress are considering pursuing a rescission procedure to roll back some of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 funds that President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law on March 23. The procedure provides an expedited process for the President to propose and Congress to pass a rescission resolution identifying appropriations that the administration does not want to spend. Regardless of whether the President officially initiates a rescission or Congress ultimately agrees to pass a rescission, some agency spending plans have already been delayed in anticipation. 

 

Atlantic waves
Congress introduces legislation to enhance flood mapping
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On April 18, congressional members from Illinois, Florida, Maryland, and Texas introduced a bipartisan, bicameral initiative to enhance the mapping of urban flood hazard zones. In addition, Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR-1) introduced the Scientific Flood Mapping Act (H.R.5559), which would transfer functions related to the preparation of flood maps from FEMA to the USGS due to concerns regarding FEMA’s flood map oversight and management.

 

Hawaiian flower
House Agricultural Committee approves farm bill package
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The House Committee on Agriculture voted 26-20 to advance the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2), commonly referred to as the “farm bill,” which was introduced by Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX-11). With authorization of the Agricultural Act of 2014 lapsing at the end of September, the massive farm bill package approved by the committee authorizes programs across the USDA including sections on commodities and trade, loans and insurance, conservation and forestry, research, nutrition, and rural development.

 

Earth
House Science Committee advances NASA Reauthorization and STEM education and research bills
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The House Science Committee held a full committee markup of two bills, the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act (H.R.5509) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2018 (H.R.5503). H.R.5509 directs NSF to provide grants for research about STEM education approaches and the STEM-related workforce. The NASA Authorization Act would reauthorize the agency for FY 2018 through FY 2019, and was intensely debated during the markup due to disagreements about language slashing the FY 2019 authorized funds for Earth Science.

 

The White House
EPA announces revision of greenhouse gas emission standards
Date: Friday, April 13, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the agency would revise fuel economy standards for cars and trucks for model years 2022 through 2025, citing recent data that suggest the current standards are not appropriate. The current standards, requiring automakers to engineer their fleets so gas mileage would average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, were established by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2012.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
House committees discuss FY 2019 NOAA budget request
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), testified at two House committee hearings about NOAA’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request. In the testimony, he stated that NOAA’s FY 2019 budget request of about $4.6 billion – a decrease of $1.3 billion or 23 percent below the FY 2018 omnibus enacted level – prioritizes investment in the core missions at NOAA. 

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
Senate Commerce Committee discusses hurricane preparation and response capabilities
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Transportation, and Science held a hearing to examine the status of local and federal agencies’ recovery from the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, and ongoing preparation for the 2018 season. The hearing focused on the importance of disaster relief funds for local communities, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation of the 2015 sinking of the US-flagged El Faro cargo ship.

 

Cumulonimbus clouds
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee discusses bipartisan bill to boost carbon capture technology
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing to discuss the bipartisan Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act, or the USE IT Act (S.2602). Introduced by Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), the USE IT Act supports research and development of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and facilitates a new permitting process for CCUS projects and carbon dioxide pipelines. 

 

Capitol at night
Senate Appropriations Committee changes leadership after retirement of Mississippi Senator Cochran
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Senate ratified the selection of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, following the resignation of former Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) on April 1. Now the senior Republican member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shelby replaced Senator Cochran as Chair of the Subcommittee on Defense and handed over his previous chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS).

 

The White House
Federal Register: March 2018
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2018

A summary of notices posted to the Federal Register by geoscience-related federal agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and more.

 

The White House
President Trump announces a new energy and climate advisor
Date: Friday, March 30, 2018

The White House tapped Wells Griffith this month to join the National Economic Council as the leader of its international energy efforts, including the Administration’s climate positions. Mr. Griffith currently serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Energy’s office of international affairs. The appointment is for a term of three months, but could lead to a more permanent position.

 

Cracked road from earthquake
Congress holds series of hearings to discuss the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Congress responded to President Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal through a series of hearings in which committee members questioned the heads of key federal agencies regarding funding mechanisms, permitting processes, and other logistical aspects of the proposal. Although the White House has been pushing for Congress to complete an infrastructure overhaul by the end of the year, senior administration officials conceded in a phone call with reporters on March 28 that pieces of President Trump's infrastructure plan are likely pass via smaller infrastructure-related bills, as recently suggested by congressional leadership, instead of the broad package proposed last month.

 

U.S. Money
Congress passes FY 2018 omnibus with record funding of geoscience agencies
Date: Friday, March 23, 2018

Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill on March 23 that will fund the federal government through September 2018. The 2,232-page bill, entitled the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, rejects the Administration’s proposed deep cuts to federal science agencies. Instead, many science agencies received increased funding, in part due to the increased budget authority for FY 2018 non-defense discretionary spending agreed to last month in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

For more information on the federal budget process, including a more detailed programmatic funding analysis for geoscience-related agencies, please visit AGI’s Overview of Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations.

 

Flow of data
Congress discusses cybersecurity threats and energy infrastructure security
Date: Friday, March 23, 2018

On March 14, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on energy infrastructure cybersecurity and emergency response. This hearing is the third hearing in a series of hearings concerning DOE modernization efforts dating back to January 2018. The committee discussed a series of bills introduced earlier this month – H.R. 5174, H.R. 5175, H.R. 5239, and H.R. 5240 – that attempt to harden the nation’s energy infrastructure and protect the electric grid and energy supply chain from cyber-attacks.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Hearings examine priorities outlined in the FY 2019 Department of the Interior budget request
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke defended the President’s FY 2019 budget proposal for his department to members of Congress on relevant House and Senate committees. The President’s FY 2019 request for the Department of the Interior (DOI) includes a total of $11.7 billion in discretionary appropriations, which is a reduction of more than $1 billion from the current funding level. During the hearings, Secretary Zinke explained that while the Department will continue to emphasize energy development, its priorities this year revolve around "conservation, infrastructure and reorganization."

 

Pages

-------------- ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------