Policy News & Monthly Review

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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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Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
Hearing addresses the future of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site
Date: Thursday, July 7, 2016

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing led by Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY) to gather information in order to move forward with federal licensing of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Interior Department may move offshore oil and gas lease sales online
Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on the Innovation in Offshore Leasing Act (H.R. 5577).

 

Writing hands
Senate committee passes COMPETES successor
Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a markup of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084) and a number of other bills on June 29.

 

IES Water Glyph
Hearing to address contentious tribal water rights issues
Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing led by Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) to discuss bills addressing contentious tribal water rights in Montana and Arizona (S. 3013 and S. 2959) and repealing obsolete laws relating to Native Americans (S. 2796).

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
National Academies Roundtable holds forum and workshop on community resilience
Date: Tuesday, June 28, 2016
The ResilientAmerica Roundtable held their State of Resilience Leadership Forum and Community Workshop, aimed at assessing the current state of resilience on a variety of scales.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Senate Subcommittee holds hearing on federal sage grouse conservation plans
Date: Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a hearing to evaluate the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) sage grouse conservation amendments and address concerns over the incorporation of individual state plans to the federal initiative.

 

Hazards fire houses
Senate committee hears testimony on wildfire budgeting and management draft
Date: Friday, June 24, 2016

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened to receive testimony on the Wildfire Budgeting, Response, and Forest Management Act (S. ___) put forward by Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

 

Drilling rig
U.S. District Court rejects BLM authority to regulate fracking on public and tribal lands
Date: Friday, June 24, 2016

The U.S. District Court for Wyoming ruled that the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have no authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” on public and tribal lands.

 

Earth
Council of Economic Advisers releases report on coal leasing on federal lands
Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a report entitled, "The Economics of Coal Leasing on Federal Lands: Ensuring a Fair Return to Taxpayers".

 

Writing hands
Committee questions science and accountability at EPA
Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held an oversight hearing this June to examine the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scientific integrity and accountability.

 

U.S. Capitol
Briefing underscores the importance of earth science data in decision making
Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Advances in Earth Science Coalition, a group of professional geoscience societies and federal agencies, held a briefing to discuss how earthquake, air quality, and environmental data can inform policy making on natural resource management and disaster preparedness.

 

Atlantic waves
CBO reports cost of Senate Water Resources Development Act
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a report outlining the projected costs of the Senate’s reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). CBO projects the bill will cost an estimated $10.6 billion over the next decade.

 

The White House
White House press release on Obama and Holdren’s science legacy
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nearing the end of President Obama’s second term, the Office of Press Secretary has released an impact statement listing 100 Examples of President Obama’s Leadership in Science Technology and Innovation.

 

Natural gas pump
Proposed BLM planning rule faces criticism in Senate
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director, Neil Kornze, faced tough questions during a Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee hearing this June, where committee members were able to question him about the agency’s new Planning 2.0 rule.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
President Obama celebrates 100th anniversary of NPS
Date: Monday, June 20, 2016

President Barack Obama celebrated the National Park Service’s (NPS) upcoming 100th anniversary at Yosemite National Park this June. The Obama Administration and House and Senate Appropriations Committees have included language in their budgets to increase funding for NPS in FY 2017.

 

Hawaiian flower
International Resource Panel releases report on land resource management
Date: Monday, June 20, 2016

The International Resource Panel’s (IRP) working group on Land and Soils released a report outlining tools and policies for utilizing land resources sustainably into the future.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
House approves bill to reform NSF facilities management
Date: Friday, June 17, 2016

The House Committee on Science Space and Technology voted overwhelmingly to pass the NSF Major Research Facility Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 5049).

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
NOAA experts give monthly update on U.S. and global climate conditions
Date: Thursday, June 16, 2016

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held their Monthly Climate Briefing telecast summarizing NOAA’s May U.S. and global climate analyses, monthly and seasonal forecasts, and the outlook for La Niña development.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
House and Senate Committees pass FY 2017 Interior and Environment appropriations bills
Date: Thursday, June 16, 2016

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees each passed their fiscal year (FY) 2017 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bills this June, allocating funding for BLM, BOEM, BSEE, EPA, NPS, the Smithsonian Institution, and USGS from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Senate CST Committee passes Coastal Coordination Act of 2016
Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held an executive session to consider the Coastal Coordination Act of 2016 (S. 3038), which would update and reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA).

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
Hearing highlights the status of research on new energy technologies
Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss emerging energy technologies in the United States.

 

Writing hands
Córdova reveals nine big ideas for the National Science Foundation
Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

France Córdova, Director of the National Science foundation (NSF), recently released a research vision for NSF centered on nine ‘big ideas” after a two-day offsite planning retreat for the agency’s leadership in April.

 

Writing hands
Women chosen to lead National Science Board
Date: Friday, June 10, 2016
The National Science Board (NSB) recently announced the election of Dr. Maria Zuber as chair and Dr. Diane Souvaine as vice chair.

 

U.S. Supreme Court building
Hearing highlights implications of Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan
Date: Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court stay of the President’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
Encouraging private sector partnerships with NOAA in weather forecasting
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing to discuss how partnerships between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the private sector can be strengthened to improve weather forecasting.

 

Atlantic waves
CHOW 2016 includes a panel on changing offshore energy portfolios
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Inspired by recent milestones in domestic offshore wind energy and persistently low oil and gas prices, Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW 2016) included a panel on potential changes to U.S. offshore energy portfolios.

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
U.S. and China embark on a R2ZE
Date: Friday, June 3, 2016

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and China’s Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang announced new efforts to reduce emissions from city bus fleets.

 

The White House
Federal Register - May 2016
Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016

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

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Senate passes Energy and Water appropriations bill, House unable to do so
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016
The Senate passed their fiscal year (FY) 2017 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill this May. The House, however, was unable to pass its version of the bill due to a controversial rider on LBGT rights included within it.

 

Drilling rig
National Academies Roundtable holds workshop on use of flowback and produced waters from the oil and gas industry
Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The National Academies’ Unconventional Hydrocarbon Roundtable held a two-day workshop on “Use of Flowback and Produced Waters: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation”.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
House Appropriations Committee approves funding for NASA, NSF, NIST, NOAA and OSTP
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This May, the House Appropriations Committee approved their fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill.

 

Earth
EPA releases final rule on curbing methane emissions
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued three final rules earlier this month to reduce emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other air pollutants from new and modified existing oil and gas production sources.

 

IES Water Glyph
DOE awards $4 million in R&D projects to recover critical materials from geothermal fluids
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $4 million to 4 R&D projects at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Washington, the University of Utah, and the University of Wyoming.

 

IES Water Glyph
Briefing highlights need for investment in water infrastructure
Date: Thursday, May 19, 2016

The National League of Cities (NLC) and Value of Water Coalition (VWC) held a briefing on water infrastructure and security across the United States on May 19, 2016, with examples of solutions from multiple cities.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
BOEM five-year OCS plan meets opposition in Senate hearing
Date: Thursday, May 19, 2016

The proposed program calls for 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, 3 in the Arctic, and none in the Pacific or Atlantic OCS regions.

 

Natural gas pump
RFF and Duke University hold seminar on impacts of oil and gas development on local governments and communities
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Resources for the Future (RFF) and Duke University co-hosted a seminar on how oil and gas development impacts local governments and communities, highlighting several recently released reports.

 

IES Water Glyph
Five Senate bills focus on western water
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing this May to discuss a suite of water bills aimed at addressing the drought across the West.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
AES holds briefing on offshore energy in the United States
Date: Monday, May 16, 2016

The Advances in Earth Science Coalition (AES), a consortium of professional geoscience societies and federal agencies, held a briefing on offshore energy (oil, gas, and wind) in the United States.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
New World Bank report outlines how water scarcity could impact us in the future
Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
The report projects that water scarcity will increase globally and impact economies, migratory patterns of populations, and create geopolitical conflict.

 

Atlantic waves
COAST Act would help protect Houston from flooding
Date: Monday, May 2, 2016

After floods hit the Houston area hard on April 17 and 18, forcing road and school closures and causing the death of eight people, Texas Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) recognized the need for better emergency preparedness in the region.

 

Ice Fields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
KY and WV tapping into new hydroelectric power
Date: Monday, May 2, 2016

Along the Ohio River in Kentucky and West Virginia, 4 dams originally built for passage of large ships in the 1960s and 70s are being retrofitted for hydroelectricity production.

 

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

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
New House and Senate bills would advance nuclear energy technology
Date: Friday, April 29, 2016

Two new bipartisan bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress in an effort to expand the use of nuclear energy.

 

Natural gas pump
House committee debates BLM natural gas flaring rule
Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing this week regarding the proposed rule issued in January 2016 by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reduce natural gas, or methane, emissions via venting, flaring, and leaks on federal lands.

 

Sun
Senate committee passes the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act
Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee passed the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act (S. 2817) on April 27.

 

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.

 

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