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.

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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.

 

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.

 

Atlantic waves
Legislators call for a halt to Atlantic seismic surveys
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2015

In a bipartisan letter addressed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) called for a halt in seismic testing on the outer continental shelf of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Writing hands
President signs bill strengthening K-12 STEM education
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2015
On December 10, the President signed the Student Success Act (S.1177) into law

 

Hawaiian flower
Sen. Sanders and others introduce bills supporting transition to clean energy
Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced two bills on investment in renewable energy tax credits and the state of jobs in the coal mining industry.

 

IES Water Glyph
House passes bill which bans the use of microbeads
Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Microbead-Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321) passed the House by a voice-vote on December 7, 2015. H.R. 1321 attempts to lower the negative environmental impacts that synthetic microbeads have on water pollution.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - November 2015
Date: Monday, December 7, 2015

A list of notices from the federal register for November 2015 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.

 

U.S. Money
NDAA includes provision supporting conference travel for scientists
Date: Friday, December 4, 2015

The fiscal year (FY) 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1356), which normally focuses on the Department of Defense, included provisions supporting scientific research and collaboration among all federal science agencies.

 

Drilling rig
House passes bill amending the Natural Gas Act
Date: Thursday, December 3, 2015

H.R. 8, or the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, passed the House on December 3, 2015.

 

IES Water Glyph
House legislation introduced that will allow farmers tax breaks for water conservation
Date: Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) introduced the Groundwater Conservation Incentive Act (H.R. 4175) on December 3, which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

 

IES Materials and Minerals Glyph
New DOE funding opportunity hopes to spur retrieval of rare earths and other critical materials from geothermal fluids
Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office announced funding for a new program to explore the potential for recovering rare earth elements and other critical materials from dissolved geothermal fluids and high temperature brines.

 

The White House
Update to USGCRP Strategic Plan published in the Federal Register
Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released a triennial update to their 2012-2021 strategic plan this December.

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
Congress approves legislation to legalize space mining
Date: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262) passed the Senate and House of Representatives and was signed into law by the President on November 25.

 

The White House
White House announces federal agencies’ greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2016
Date: Monday, November 23, 2015

The Obama Administration released an executive order today outlining new greenhouse gas emissions targets for federal agencies for 2016.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Sportsmen’s Act approved by Senate Energy and Natural Resources includes amendment to renew LWCF
Date: Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 556) on November 19.

 

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