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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Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Senate hopes to pass WRDA to support aging water infrastructure
Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair and Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), introduced the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) today.

 

Earth
Sec. John Kerry signs landmark climate agreement on behalf of US
Date: Friday, April 22, 2016

The Paris Agreement, a multilateral agreement on the mitigation, adaptation, and financing of green house gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, was adopted during the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) held in Paris, France, in 2015.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
LWCF reauthorization passes the Senate
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2016

On April 20, the Senate voted to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) within bipartisan energy reform legislation (S. 2012) sponsored by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

 

IES Water Glyph
AWRA releases second volume of report on flood and drought management in the US
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2016
The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Policy Committee released the second volume of their report, “Proactive Flood and Drought Management”.

 

U.S. Capitol
Senate Committee passes bill funding NASA, NIST, NSF, NOAA
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2017 on April 21.

 

U.S. Capitol
New bipartisan climate change caucus
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2016

The new House bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus held its first meeting this week.

 

U.S. Capitol
Bipartisan energy bill passes Senate, includes provisions for minerals and data preservation
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012) passed the Senate with overwhelming support on April 20.

 

Capitol at night
FAA reauthorization allows for UAVs to help monitor oil and gas facilities
Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Senate has approved an amendment to streamline the permitting process for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

 

Capitol at night
House Energy and Water Appropriations bill passes out of committee
Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The House Committee on Appropriations met on April 19 to markup the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which provides funding for the Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies.

 

Natural gas pump
BLM proposed venting and flaring rule spurs debate in Senate subcommittee hearing
Date: Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held an oversight hearing on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposed rule to reduce venting, flaring, and leaks during oil and gas production on Federal and Indian lands.

 

Earth
Senate oversight hearing on USGS
Date: Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met on April 7 to conduct an oversight hearing on programs at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

 

Earth
EESI holds webinar on adaptations to the declining coal industry in coal-impacted communities
Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2016
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a webinar entitled, "Can Coal Country Thrive in a Clean Energy Economy?" to discuss the range of adaptations, investments, and development programs underway in coal-reliant regions.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - March 2016
Date: Friday, April 1, 2016

A list of notices from the federal register for March 2016 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.

 

Cracked road from earthquake
USGS holds briefing on induced seismicity in the United States
Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), with sponsorship from the Seismological Society of America, held a briefing on induced seismicity in the United States.

 

Earth
DOI announces review of federal coal program
Date: Friday, March 25, 2016

The Department of the Interior (DOI) released a notice of intent (NOI) that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program.

 

Study group
Two bills aimed at increasing diversity in STEM pass the House
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Two bills were introduced and passed in the House of Representatives, aimed at encouraging women to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

 

IES Water Glyph
White House holds water summit, federal agencies invest in water-research projects
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

In celebration of World Water Day, The White House held a Water Summit on March 22 to highlight the need to conserve, protect, and better manage the nation’s water resources.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
BOEM releases proposed five-year offshore drilling plan
Date: Friday, March 18, 2016

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released the second of three proposals for the 2017–2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

 

Capitol at night
Rep. DelBene introduces legislation to reduce losses from landslide hazards
Date: Thursday, March 17, 2016

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) has introduced new legislation in an effort to decrease losses and damages as a result of landslides.

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
House Space Subcommittee discusses NASA FY17 budget
Date: Thursday, March 17, 2016

In a hearing hosted by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Space, Chairman Brian Babin (R-TX) lead a discussion of the fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) Presidential Budget Request for NASA.

 

U.S. Capitol
EESI and GEA hold briefing on the state of the geothermal energy industry
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) held a briefing on the state of geothermal energy on both national and global scales.

 

Mount Saint Helens
House Natural Resources Committee markup on NPS centennial bill
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The House Committee on Natural Resources marked up 14 bills today, including one titled the National Park Service Centennial Act (H.R. 4680) in honor of the National Park Service (NPS) celebrating their 100th year this August.

 

U.S. Capitol
Senate committee discusses presidential natural resource mitigation policy
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing this week to discuss a memorandum released in November 2015 by President Obama, detailing his proposed policies for mitigating the environmental impacts of natural resource development.

 

Excavator mining
Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2016

Critical minerals and materials are key components of the innovation economy. Minerals are a part of almost every product we use on a daily basis, either as the raw materials for manufacturing processes or as the end products themselves. Advanced technologies for communications, clean energy, medical devices, and national security rely on raw materials from mines throughout the world. In 2010, China curtailed exports of rare earth metals and sparked major concern about the security of global supply chains for a range of vital minerals and materials.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - February 2016
Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A list of notices from the federal register for February 2016 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
House committee holds hearing on California water supply
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans held a hearing to discuss the state of California’s water supply.

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
DOE nuclear waste disposal study in North Dakota
Date: Monday, February 15, 2016

The Department of Energy is conducting a study to determine whether a site in North Dakota could potentially replace the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository for storing long term, high level nuclear waste.

 

Cracked road from earthquake
Oklahoma hit by magnitude-5.1 earthquake, calls for wastewater disposal cutbacks
Date: Monday, February 15, 2016

One month after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) directed 27 oil and gas wastewater disposal wells to end wastewater injections, a magnitude-5.1 earthquake has shaken Fairview, Oklahoma.

 

Excavator mining
DOD study finds certain rare earth minerals critical for defense
Date: Monday, February 15, 2016

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a report detailing how the Department of Defense (DOD) can better manage supply chain risks for critical rare earth minerals and materials (rare earths).

 

Earth
“Keep It in the Ground Act” introduced in the House
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2016

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced new legislation, along with 16 democratic co-sponsors, that would prohibit new drilling leases in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and new coal leases on federal land.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Scientific Research in the National Interest bill
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The Scientific Research in the National Interest Act (H.R. 3293) passed the House of Representatives on February 10 with a vote of 236-178.

 

The White House
President Obama releases his final federal budget request
Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On February 9, President Obama announced his final federal budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2017.

 

Capitol at night
House science committee discusses NSF management reform
Date: Thursday, February 4, 2016

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology, held a hearing to discuss recommendations for management reform at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

IES Astronomy Glyph
House committee holds hearing on NASA human space exploration
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology met on February 3 to outline steps for future human exploration on the Moon and Mars.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - January 2016
Date: Monday, February 1, 2016

A list of notices from the federal register for January 2016 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.

 

U.S. Capitol
The Energy Policy Modernization Act heads to the Senate floor
Date: Friday, January 29, 2016
Last week the Senate began debate on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, the first major package of energy legislation considered in Congress since 2005.

 

Natural gas pump
BLM proposes methane reform to 30-year-old oil and gas regulations
Date: Friday, January 22, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing an update to the 30-year-old regulations for oil and gas operations on federal and Native American lands.

 

Cracked road from earthquake
Oklahoma calls for a reduction in wastewater injection
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oklahoma experienced a 50 percent increase in earthquakes magnitude-3 or greater last year—up from 585 in 2014 to 881 in 2015.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
House passes bill blocking controversial stream rule
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2016
On January 13, the House passed H.R. 1644, legislation blocking the implementation of the controversial Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSMRE) Stream Protection Rule.

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
House Science Committee marks up civilian nuclear energy bill
Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016
The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has voted to approve the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R. 4084), legislation aimed at increasing nuclear research within the Department of Energy (DOE).

 

The White House
January 2016 State of the Union from a geosciences perspective
Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

This January, President Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address to Congress.

 

Earth
Carbonate growth rings on rocks tell about North America’s climate past
Date: Monday, January 11, 2016

According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this January, growth rings on rocks may tell us about weather patterns from thousands of years ago.

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
DOE will work to craft a strategy to dispose of nuclear waste in 2016
Date: Monday, January 11, 2016

The Department of Energy (DOE) is launching an initiative to find a long-term solution for dealing with U.S. radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

 

IES Water Glyph
Science Advisory Board questions EPA hydraulic fracturing report
Date: Friday, January 8, 2016

In response to an EPA study on hydraulic fracturing, the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB), which provides independent scientific advice to the EPA, has submitted a critical draft letter expressing their concerns with the report’s findings.

 

Bingham Copper Mine
Abandoned Mine Reclamation Safety Act seeks to prevent pollution, increase worker safety
Date: Thursday, January 7, 2016

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) has introduced a bill that would direct the Department of the Interior (DOI) to create environmentally responsible regulations for reopening abandoned mines.

 

Drilling rig
Oil and gas companies cutting production and workers
Date: Thursday, January 7, 2016

The price of oil fell to $38 per barrel in December 2015, leading to massive cuts in the industry’s budget and workforce.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - December 2015
Date: Friday, January 1, 2016
A list of notices from the federal register for December 2015 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.

 

U.S. Money
Congress passes FY 2016 omnibus spending bill increasing funding for geosciences
Date: Friday, December 18, 2015

On December 18, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill providing funding for the federal government through September 30, 2016.

 

U.S. Capitol
Dr. Suzette Kimball confirmed as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey
Date: Friday, December 18, 2015

The Senate has finally confirmed Dr. Suzette M. Kimball as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

 

Bingham Copper Mine
House Committee holds underground hearing on mining workforce, education
Date: Monday, December 14, 2015

On December 14, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a field hearing at an unconventional location, the underground classroom of the Edgar Mine at the Colorado School of Mines Experimental Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado.

 

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