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
Natural gas pump
Department of the Interior passes methane emission reduction rule, faces lawsuit
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The Department of the Interior released a final rule to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.


Atlean Lake in British Columbia
USGS announces grant program to support National Groundwater Monitoring Network
Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey has announced a new grant program that will award up to $2 million in cooperative agreements for new state and local water resource agencies participating in the National Groundwater Monitoring Network.


Cracked road from earthquake
National Academy of Sciences hosts Cascadia Subduction Zone panel
Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016

On November 10, the National Academy of Sciences hosted a panel discussion on the Cascadia Subduction Zone and its potential for large scale fault rupture.


Capitol at night
Donald Trump elected 45th President of the United States
Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received 279 electoral votes on November 9, defeating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and securing his presidency.


Galaxy NGC 3310
NASA and FEMA hold asteroid emergency planning exercise in El Segundo, California
Date: Friday, November 4, 2016

NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency hosted an asteroid emergency planning exercise on October 25 in El Segundo, California.


Atlantic waves
BOEM Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body submits Ocean Action Plan
Date: Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body submitted its Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan to the National Ocean Council for certification on November 3.


The White House
Obama Administration releases Resilience Opportunities report
Date: Monday, October 31, 2016

The White House Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience recently released a report entitled Opportunities to Enhance the Nation’s Resilience to Climate Change.


NASA hurricane satellite image
NSF and NOAA partner to promote weather hazards response
Date: Thursday, October 27, 2016
The The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are partnering to study how to improve communications during severe weather events and to encourage people to respond appropriately.


Smithsonian Air and Space Museum hosts space weather panel
Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum hosted a panel on October 25 to discuss advances in space weather research and forecasting.


Icebergs in the Weddell Sea
United States and United Kingdom fund research on Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica
Date: Monday, October 24, 2016

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K.-based Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) are partnering to fund $25 million in scientific research to study the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.


Atlantic waves
BOEM completed post-Hurricane Sandy initiatives
Date: Monday, October 24, 2016

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently completed two projects undertaken after Hurricane Sandy.


Technology background
White House highlights small satellite technology innovation and entrepreneurship
Date: Friday, October 21, 2016
The White House announced a new initiative to identify and establish programs to drive innovation using small satellite (smallsat) technology.


Hawaiian flower
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds water hearing in Hawaii
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On October 18, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing at the Hawaiian State Capitol in Honolulu.


The White House
President Obama hosts Frontiers Conference, opens with $300 million investment in sciences
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2016

The White House hosted the Frontiers Conference this October in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


White House issues executive order addressing space weather
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2016

On October 13, 2016, President Obama released an executive order addressing space weather hazards in the U.S.


Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
World Energy Council releases 2016 World Energy Resources Report
Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The World Energy Council, a United Nations-accredited global energy consortium, released its 2016 World Energy Resources Report on October 12.


Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
The current status of the Paris Climate Agreement
Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Paris Climate Agreement reached the minimum requirements necessary to enter into force this October, four years earlier than the previously anticipated 2020 target.


Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Five federal agencies take action to improve water and energy efficiency
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Five federal agencies are working to increase consumers’ awareness of the benefits of switching to water- and energy-efficient fixtures and building codes.


Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Senate and House pass Water Resources Development Act
Date: Friday, September 30, 2016

On September 15, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (S. 2848), marking a major milestone in the two-year water policy bill. The bill passed with a final vote of 95-3. The House version of the bill was voted upon once an amendment authorizing funding to aid Flint, MI, was approved, and it passed on September 28 with a final vote of 399-25.


U.S. Capitol
House subcommittee on research and technology holds hearing on academic research regulations
Date: Thursday, September 29, 2016
On September 29, 2016, the House Science, Space, & Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on restrictive and costly academic research regulations.


Capitol at night
Budget update for September
Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The House and Senate successfully passed a short-term spending bill on September 28 that will fund the federal government through December 9, 2016.


Atlantic waves
Congressional briefing held on ocean acidification
Date: Friday, September 23, 2016

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL) held a briefing on the economic impacts of ocean acidification (OA), or the process in which the ocean absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, making its pH slightly more acidic.


Writing hands
Senate committee passes two bills on women in STEM
Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee considered two House bills promoting women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields on September 21, 2016.


The White House
President Obama signs climate change memorandum
Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On September 21, 2016, President Obama signed a memorandum addressing national security concerns posed by variations in Earth’s climate.


U.S. Capitol
Senate meets to markup NASA reauthorization bill
Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
On September 21, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation (CST) Committee convened a full committee markup on several bills, including a bill to reauthorize NASA, known as the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 (S.3346).


Paricutín Volcano
Volcano early warning and monitoring bill discussed in Senate hearing
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016

On September 17, Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced their National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act (S.2056). On September 22, they discussed the bill in a hearing with the committee.


U.S. Supreme Court building
Federal Appeals Court halts construction on North Dakota Access Pipeline
Date: Friday, September 16, 2016
On September 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered a complete freeze on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Lake Oahe, North Dakota.


Bipartisan coalition of Senators endorse Earth Science Week resolution
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016

On September 15, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a resolution (S.Res.562) officially designating the week of October 9-15, 2016, as Earth Science Week (ESW). The resolution successfully passed the Senate by unanimous consent on September 28.


Natural gas pump
House Subcommittee discusses U.S. energy security
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing this September to discuss the Department of Energy’s (DOE) role in national, economic, and energy security.


Atlantic waves
President Obama designates the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 15, 2016


IES Energy glyph
Secretary of the Interior approves Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell approved Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) this September.


Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
Conference Committee Meeting held on the Energy Policy Modernization Act
Date: Thursday, September 8, 2016

House and Senate conferees for the Energy Policy Modernization Act met this September to discuss the progress they had made on reconciling the House (H.R. 8) and Senate (S. 2012) versions of the bill.


Flow of data
House Subcommittee on Space holds hearing on commercial remote sensing
Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Space held a hearing on September 7, which assessed how previous legislation has impacted the private sector’s ability to obtain licenses and data for commercial remote sensing purposes.


Drilling rig
California Court Orders Obama Administration to Conduct Fracking Review
Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On September 6, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued an order to the Obama Administration calling for further environmental review of the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in California.


Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Happy 100th Birthday to the National Park Service!
Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016

The National Park Service celebrated its centennial on August 25, 2016.


NASA hurricane satellite image
NOAA launches new computer model for flood forecasting
Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently launched its National Water Model (NWM), a new hydrologic model that the agency claims will yield the “biggest improvement in flood forecasting the country has ever seen.”


Hazards fire houses
Wildfire funding issue may be solved in energy conference
Date: Monday, August 15, 2016

Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke optimistically that a House-Senate conference committee can work to resolve differences on the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016 (S. 2012 & H.R. 8).


Natural gas pump
BLM, industry, and interest groups spar over public land lease sales
Date: Friday, August 12, 2016

The Western Energy Alliance (WEA) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for New Mexico to challenge the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for not holding quarterly oil and gas lease sales.


The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Thirteen states sue over EPA methane rule
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thirteen states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over three new updates to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under the President’s Climate Action Plan: Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions and the Clean Air Act.


Drilling rig
EPA Science Advisory Board concerned over hydraulic fracturing conclusions
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) released its final report assessing EPA’s recent study of potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources.


Excavator mining
Interior Department recommends states move away from self-bonding
Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has issued guidance suggesting that states move away from self-bonding, or the act of putting aside cash, bonds, or other securities for mining reclamation using their current financial health as collateral.


The White House
President Obama appoints new official to Arctic post
Date: Friday, August 5, 2016

President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint Dr. Jackie Richter-Menge to the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC).


Atlantic waves
UNESCO and IUCN issue report calling for the creation of oceanic World Heritage Sites
Date: Friday, August 5, 2016

The United National Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are calling for the creation of the first oceanic World Heritage Sites.


Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
Webinar explores proposed nuclear waste storage solutions
Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Council of State Governments’ (CGS) Southern and Midwestern Legislative Conferences hosted a webinar to explore nuclear waste storage solutions.


Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
House Natural Resources panel considers renewable energy on public lands
Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing to discuss the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (H.R.2663), a bipartisan bill with 67 cosponsors that was introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in 2015.


Bingham Copper Mine
Hearing to revise Superfund implementation for first time since enactment
Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The House Environment and the Economy Subcommittee held a hearing to examine implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund.


Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Solving western water supply problems remains an ongoing debate
Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The House Natural Resources Committee on Water, Power, and Oceans Subcommittee met to discuss conflicting proposals between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on water release from the Shasta Dam.


Ice Fields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Hearing calls for investment in Coast Guard capabilities in the Arctic
Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on the Coast Guard’s Arctic capabilities led by Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-CA).


Mount St. Helens
Briefing highlights role of geoscience in reducing lahar hazards
Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Hazards Caucus Alliance, a network of organizations that promotes nationwide natural disaster resilience, held a briefing to highlight the role that science plays in protecting communities that are vulnerable to lahars.


U.S. Capitol
Senator introduces bill to promote energy research and cut wind tax credits
Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bill (S. 3169) that would authorize new basic energy research funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science programs by eliminating the long-standing wind production tax credit (PTC) that has helped to expand wind power production in recent years.



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