AGI policy news briefs summarize geoscience policy activities and related events in Washington, D.C. Every month our news briefs are compiled into the Geoscience Policy Monthly Review digest, along with important announcements and opportunities, as part of a continuing effort to keep AGI member societies and other audiences informed about relevant federal policy and legislative updates.
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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.
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.
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).
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 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 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) continues to operate without a director and has recently lost some science division staff.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord on Thursday, June 1.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
On May 23, President Donald Trump unveiled his full budget request to Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2018.
The President’s budget request seeks to completely eliminate NASA’s Office of Education (OE) and its portfolio of programs and projects.
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.
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.
On May 4, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act (S.1041).
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28.
Industry and agency experts examined the United States’ increasing dependence on foreign sources of minerals on March 28.
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.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on long-term approaches for wildfire management on March 27.
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the bipartisan National Landslide Preparation Act (S.698) on March 22.
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).
President Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget blueprint outlining funding priorities and top-line spending levels for federal agencies.
Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-52) introduced the Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act (H.R.1579) on March 16.
On March 15, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill that would authorize more lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
House Republicans introduced a resolution (H.Res.195) on March 13 that expresses commitment to environmental stewardship.
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).
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.
Two bills introduced in the Senate and House would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
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.
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.
The House passed the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R.1004) on March 2.
A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (S.512) on March 2.
The House passed the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act (H.R.1009) on March 1, 2017.