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.

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Technology background
USGS provides information for partnering with 3DEP in 2018
Date: Thursday, August 17, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hosted two informational webinars about partnering with the 3-Dimensional Elevation Program (3DEP) for fiscal year (FY) 2018, and changes for this year's Broad Agency Announcement.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Federal agency declares Gulf of Mexico safe for seismic surveys
Date: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Four years after beginning an Environmental Impact Survey, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) declared that the Gulf of Mexico is safe for seismic surveys. 

 

Earth
Scientific societies question red team/blue team climate debate
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sixteen scientific societies sent a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt questioning the need for a red team/blue team debate on climate science in light of the decades of peer review done on the subject.

 

House chamber
Senate confirms Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominees
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Senate confirmed two new members for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on August 3. Neil Chatterjee, former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Robert Powelson from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission have joined Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, bringing the number of empty FERC seats down to two.

 

Hazards fire houses
Wildfires emerging as a hot topic on the Hill
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017

As the U.S. endures another fire season, legislators on the Hill are seeking to address some of the challenges associated with managing wildland fires on federal land. A hearing held by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on August 3 tackled the complex challenges in reducing wildland fire risk, focusing primarily on wildfire management programs and technologies.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
House and Senate committees approve five appropriations bills for DOE, CJS, and Interior and Environment
Date: Thursday, July 27, 2017

The House of Representatives has been moving Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget bills out of committee more quickly than the Senate. The full House has passed one bill, for the Department of Defense; no appropriations bills have reached the Senate floor yet. Congress and the President must agree a budget or a Continuing Resolution by September 30 to avoid a government shutdown. More detail on agency budgets is available here.

 

Mount Saint Helens
DOI announces Craters of the Moon, Hanford Reach, and Canyons of the Ancients no longer under review
Date: Friday, July 21, 2017

On July 13, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington are no longer under review by the Department of the Interior (DOI). The announcement of another unaltered monument, the Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, came days later.

 

Capitol at night
Zinke defends DOI budget proposal to Senate ENR Committee
Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017
On June 20, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to defend the President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget for the Department of the Interior (DOI).

 

House chamber
President Trump announces nominations for key positions
Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017

On July 20, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to consider nominations for key positions at the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of the Interior (DOI). 

 

Excavator mining
House holds oversight hearing on hardrock mining
Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017

On July 20, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing to discuss the future of hardrock mining in the United States. Streamlining the permitting process, royalties reform, and reclamation concerns were among the topics discussed at the hearing.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Atlantic offshore oil and gas development discussed in House
Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on July 12 to evaluate the potential development of offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

 

The White House
White House OSTP remains understaffed following recent departures
Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) continues to operate without a director and has recently lost some science division staff. 

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
President Trump reestablishes National Space Council
Date: Friday, July 7, 2017

On July 7, the Executive Office of the President published Executive Order 13803, which was signed by President Trump on June 30 reestablishing the National Space Council. 

 

Natural gas pump
Secretary Zinke signs order to streamline permitting for onshore resources development
Date: Thursday, July 6, 2017

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3354 on July 6 to promote energy exploration and development through better management of leasing programs for onshore oil and gas resources and solid mineral resources on federal lands. 

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Appropriations subcommittee holds EPA budget hearing
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2017

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies held a hearing on June 15 to evaluate President Trump’s budget proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

Natural gas pump
BLM postpones compliance deadlines for methane emissions
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2017

On June 15, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) posted a notice in the Federal Register indefinitely postponing certain compliance dates within the Methane Waste Prevention Rule.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Secretary Zinke recommends reduction of Bears Ears
Date: Monday, June 12, 2017

An interim report by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released on June 12 provides preliminary recommendations regarding the review of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

 

A glacier meets the ocean at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
House committee questions Secretary Zinke about DOI FY2018 budget
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017

On June 8, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies at a hearing on the DOI Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
NSF budget hearing for FY 2018
Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On June 7, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies held a hearing to discuss the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

Bingham Copper Mine
House holds oversight hearing on Abandoned Mine Lands Program
Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On June 7, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing about the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Program. The AML Program is set to expire in 2021.

 

The White House
President Trump withdraws U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement
Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017

President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord on Thursday, June 1.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
DOE seeks public feedback on limiting regulatory costs
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Department of Energy (DOE) requests public comments and information regarding the implementation of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.”

 

Atlantic waves
Senate passes Digital Coast bill authorizing NOAA’s Digital Coast program
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2017

On May 25, the Senate passed the Digital Coast Act (S.110) to help coastal communities prepare for storms, adapt to rising sea levels, and strengthen economic planning efforts.

 

Excavator mining
Good Samaritan cleanup bill receives positive feedback from committee
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2017

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on a discussion draft of the Community Reclamation Partnerships Act (H.R.__) to be introduced by Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL-18).

 

Badlands Topography, Drumheller
House Natural Resources Committee reviews long-standing federal land laws
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on May 24 to examine three major laws affecting the management of federal and tribal lands, as well as designated wilderness areas.

 

The White House
President Trump releases FY 2018 Budget Request
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

On May 23, President Donald Trump unveiled his full budget request to Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2018.

 

Earth
FY 2018 budget request seeks to eliminate NASA Office of Education
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The President’s budget request seeks to completely eliminate NASA’s Office of Education (OE) and its portfolio of programs and projects.

 

U.S. Money
FY 2018 budget request would cut USGS programs severely
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

President Trump proposed a budget of $922.2 million for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in his request for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which is a 15% cut from the FY 2017 enacted level.

 

The White House
DOI is conducting a review of 27 national monuments
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017

As directed by the President’s Executive Order 13792, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is conducting a review of certain national monuments designated or expanded since 1996 under the Antiquities Act.

 

Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida Coast
Senator Rubio introduces bill to extend drilling suspension off Florida's coast
Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017

On May 4, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act (S.1041).

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Climate resolutions bill re-introduced in the House
Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Representative John Delaney (D-MD-6) introduced the Climate Solutions Commission Act (H.R.2326), which aims to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, on May 3.

 

Earth
Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act passes the Senate
Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Senate passed the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act (S.141) on May 2 to develop an integrated strategy for the coordination of federal government activities to improve the nation’s ability to prepare for, mitigate, and respond to the impacts of space weather events.

 

U.S. Capitol
Congress reaches final agreement on FY 2017 funding
Date: Monday, May 1, 2017

On May 1, Congress agreed to advance an omnibus appropriations bill for the current fiscal year (FY) 2017, which will fund the government through September 30, 2017.

 

Atlantic waves
DOI reconsiders seismic surveying in the Atlantic
Date: Monday, May 1, 2017

On May 10, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it will reconsider applications from ocean seismic survey companies to carry out geological and geophysical activities off the Atlantic coast.

 

The White House
Executive order undoes much of Obama’s climate legacy
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

President Donald Trump issued an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28.

 

U.S. Capitol
Senate hearing examines U.S. reliance on foreign sources of minerals
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Industry and agency experts examined the United States’ increasing dependence on foreign sources of minerals on March 28.

 

Cracked road from earthquake
Bill introduced to prepare northwest for next earthquake
Date: Monday, March 27, 2017

The Pacific Northwest Earthquake Preparedness Act (H.R.654) moved a step closer to becoming law when the bill passed the House on March 27.

 

Hazards fire houses
Workshop on wildfire management highlights areas for improvement
Date: Monday, March 27, 2017

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on long-term approaches for wildfire management on March 27.

 

landslide
Senate and House introduce landslide bills to promote research and save lives
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the bipartisan National Landslide Preparation Act (S.698) on March 22.

 

Study group
Science committee hearings delve into NSF priorities
Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology held two oversight hearings on funding priorities for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

The White House
President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint cuts science agency funding
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2017

President Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget blueprint outlining funding priorities and top-line spending levels for federal agencies.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Bill introduced to help at-risk water systems
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2017

Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-52) introduced the Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act (H.R.1579) on March 16.

 

Natural gas pump
Bill to stimulate investment in offshore energy development
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On March 15, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill that would authorize more lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

 

Hawaiian flower
House Republicans introduce resolution on climate change
Date: Monday, March 13, 2017

House Republicans introduced a resolution (H.Res.195) on March 13 that expresses commitment to environmental stewardship.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Senate Science Committee submits budget recommendations for FY 2018
Date: Friday, March 10, 2017
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee submitted its Views and Estimates for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to the Senate Budget Committee on March 10.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
House passes bills to change EPA science methods
Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

On March 8, two members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee introduced bills addressing scientific research and review practices at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

U.S. Capitol
Soda ash producers may receive royalty cut
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate, which is used in products such as glass, detergent, and other industrial goods, may receive a royalty cut.

 

Mount Saint Helens
Bills introduced to permanently authorize Land and Water Conservation Fund
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Two bills introduced in the Senate and House would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

 

Excavator mining
Domestic supply of critical materials would be boosted by new bill
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50) introduced the "Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security (METALS) Act" (H.R.1407) to ensure the U.S. has access to a sustainable and secure supply of materials to safeguard our national security on March 7.

 

Drilling rig
Interior Secretary proposed 73-million acre lease sale for Gulf of Mexico
Date: Monday, March 6, 2017

The Department of the Interior (DOI) will offer 73 million acres, including all available areas in the Gulf of Mexico, for oil and gas exploration and development, according to an announcement from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on March 6.

 

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