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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Books and Apple
House passes three bipartisan bills to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On Monday, December 18, a day that was informally declared “Science Day in Congress”, the House considered three bipartisan pieces of legislation that support careers and education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Document Type: News Brief


House chamber
Congress ends session by passing tax reform and continuing federal funding into January, but delays disaster aid
Date: Friday, December 22, 2017

On December 22, President Donald Trump signed into law a bill to provide for tax reform and legislation to continue funding the federal government under fiscal year (FY) 2017 levels through January 19. Lawmakers from various states impacted by hurricanes and wildfires this year were seeking billions more in disaster aid funding, but Congress stopped short of sending an $81 billion relief package to the President before the end of the year. 

Document Type: News Brief


IES Soils Glyph
Senate Commerce Committee votes to advance earthquake and drought bills and NOAA nominee
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

At an executive session on December 13, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved the nomination of Barry Myers as Administrator of NOAA, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Reauthorization Act of 2018 and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Reauthorization Act of 2017.

Document Type: News Brief


Capitol at night
Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: November 2017

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

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November 2017


U.S. Capitol
Federal Register - November 2017

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


House chamber
Texas 21st District Representative Lamar Smith will not seek re-election in 2018
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017

Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) announced in a statement shared on Twitter on November 2 that he will not seek re-election in 2018 for his seat representing the 21st district of Texas. Representative Smith has served as a member of Congress since 1987, and will complete his six-year term as Chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the end of the 115th Congress, which will conclude on January 3, 2019. 

Document Type: News Brief


Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
House lawmakers reach deal for reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program
Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

On November 14 the House of Representatives passed legislation that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five more years, while making several operational changes. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the NFIP is not fiscally sustainable in its present form, and is currently set to expire on December 8.

Document Type: News Brief


House chamber
House natural resources subcommittee hearing on geothermal energy, geologic mapping, and hazards
Date: Thursday, November 30, 2017

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on November 30 to discuss a draft bill to promote timely geothermal energy exploration under federal leases, and three other bills related to geologic mapping and hazards research, monitoring, and response.

Document Type: News Brief


Hazards fire houses
Congress considers legislation to improve forest management in wake of recent wildfires
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017

In response to the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 thus far, and the escalating costs of battling fire-related damages, Congress is fielding legislation to promote forest management techniques that would return resilience to overgrown, fire-prone forested lands.

Document Type: News Brief


NASA hurricane satellite image
Congress discusses emergency response following the 2017 hurricane season
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017

The devastating 2017 hurricane season has prompted Congress to take action in recent months, with a number of committee hearings held in both chambers and new legislation introduced relating to natural disaster preparedness and response.



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