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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NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency hosted an asteroid emergency planning exercise on October 25 in El Segundo, California.
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 Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience recently released a report entitled Opportunities to Enhance the Nation’s Resilience to Climate Change.
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.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently completed two projects undertaken after Hurricane Sandy.
On October 18, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing at the Hawaiian State Capitol in Honolulu.
The White House hosted the Frontiers Conference this October in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
On October 13, 2016, President Obama released an executive order addressing space weather hazards in the U.S.
The World Energy Council, a United Nations-accredited global energy consortium, released its 2016 World Energy Resources Report on October 12.
The Paris Climate Agreement reached the minimum requirements necessary to enter into force this October, four years earlier than the previously anticipated 2020 target.
Five federal agencies are working to increase consumers’ awareness of the benefits of switching to water- and energy-efficient fixtures and building codes.
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.
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.
On September 21, 2016, President Obama signed a memorandum addressing national security concerns posed by variations in Earth’s climate.
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.
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.
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.
September 15, 2016
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell approved Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) this September.
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.
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.
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.
The National Park Service celebrated its centennial on August 25, 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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint Dr. Jackie Richter-Menge to the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC).
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.
The Council of State Governments’ (CGS) Southern and Midwestern Legislative Conferences hosted a webinar to explore nuclear waste storage solutions.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The Solar Fuels Innovation Act (H.R.5638) and the Electricity Storage Innovation Act (H.R.5640) passed the House by voice vote this July. The bills, which require the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out two new basic research initiatives, received bipartisan support.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) released their final Arctic Rule regulating exploratory drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
With supermajority approval, the House Chamber passed the Bureau of Land Management Foundation Act (H.R. 3844) to address the issue of acid mine drainage from an estimated 500,000 abandoned mine operations in the U.S.
The House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology held a hearing to discuss the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Defense’s (DOD) current and future satellite missions.