Policy News Briefs

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The Policy News Briefs page features an ongoing newsfeed of the most up-to-date geoscience policy information. Click on the topic(s) in the filter menu below to learn more!

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AGI Geoscience Policy Annual Review 2017
Geoscience Policy Annual Review 2017

The 2016 election brought a new President and a new Congress to Washington, D.C. in January 2017. Throughout the year, geoscience issues have been the focus of significant action by the President and members of Congress. The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is pleased to bring you this summary of the major developments in federal geoscience policy during 2017.


U.S. Capitol
Federal Register - December 2017

A list of notices from the federal register for December 2017 from various federal science agencies, including the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, and more.


U.S. Capitol with flag
Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: December 2017

The Monthly Review is part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy.

Current and archived monthly reviews are available online.

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December 2017


Bingham Copper Mine
President Trump and Secretary Zinke sign orders to advance domestic production of critical minerals
Date: Thursday, December 21, 2017

Following the release of a USGS report on 23 mineral commodities that are critical for the U.S. economy and security, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals. Shortly after the executive order, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released a secretarial order on December 21 directing the initial steps to producing a nationwide geological and topographical survey of the U.S.

Document Type: News Brief


Technology background
House Natural Resources hearing revisits U.S. dependence on foreign minerals
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

On December 12, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing, “Examining Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Minerals,” to discuss reasons for the declining self-sufficiency of the United States for mineral commodities, and the consequences of relying on foreign sources for critical minerals. 

Document Type: News Brief


Gold Panning
House lawmakers discuss Grand Staircase-Escalante during Natural Resources subcommittee hearing
Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on December 14 to consider the Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act, introduced by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT-2) to create Utah’s sixth national park - the Escalante Canyons National Park and Preserve.

Document Type: News Brief


Hazards fire houses
Congress reauthorizes U.S. Fire Administration and grant programs in wake of recent wildfire disasters
Date: Friday, December 22, 2017

Following a highly destructive wildfire season this year for the west coast, the House passed the United States Fire Administration, AFG, and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R.4661) to reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration, the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants program through fiscal year 2023. 

Document Type: News Brief


IES Fossils glyp
Trump administration slashes 2 Utah monuments, with ongoing reviews to spur more reductions
Date: Thursday, December 7, 2017

On December 4, following an ongoing review by the Department of the Interior of 27 national monuments, President Donald Trump signed two proclamations reducing the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah by about 85 percent and 47 percent, respectively. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke publicly released his final report to the President one day later, which recommended modifications to national monuments in Nevada, Oregon, and California.

Document Type: News Brief


The White House
Trump administration moves to revise Obama-era energy regulations through rulemaking process
Date: Friday, December 29, 2017

Following several executive orders issued by President Donald Trump, the Department of the Interior and the EPA announced rulemaking revisions to offshore drilling protections, fracking regulations, and the Clean Power Plan in the final days of 2017. 

Document Type: News Brief


Drilling rig
USGS releases new assessment of oil and gas resources in Alaska’s North Slope, following annual lease sale
Date: Friday, December 22, 2017

On December 22, the USGS released a new assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). Just weeks before release of the USGS report, the Bureau of Land Management held its annual oil and gas lease sale for all available tracts in the NPR-A on December 6. The sale lasted less than 10 minutes and received only 7 bids.

Document Type: News Brief



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