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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Drilling rig
Senators introduce legislation that will finance carbon capture and storage projects
Date: Thursday, November 19, 2015

Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation on November 19, 2015 that allows industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment.

 

U.S. Capitol
Senate bill would increase tech transfer from DOE’s national labs to the marketplace
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) released a bill known as the Accelerating Technology Transfer to Advance Innovation for the Nation (ATTAIN) Act (S.___) on November 17.

 

Capitol at night
House passes legislation preparing the nation for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1073) passed the House on November 17; the bill aims to prepare the nation in the event of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

 

Technology background
DOE partners with cities and states to share energy data via open-source software
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Department of Energy, in collaboration with the National League of Cities and the National Association of State Energy Officials, is launching a data-sharing program aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in buildings and lowering costs throughout the U.S.

 

Hazards fire houses
White House Wildland Fire Science and Technology Task Force calls for increased communication about wildfire mitigation research
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Wildland Fire Science and Technology Task Force, chartered under the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction, released a report in conjunction with the Fire Chiefs’ White House Roundtable recommending better communication between federal agencies that gather research on wildfire mitigation and response and the people that use the research to inform policy makers.

 

The White House
President Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline
Date: Friday, November 6, 2015

President Obama announced his rejection of the construction of TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL pipeline this November.

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
House Science Committee leads investigations into NOAA climate study
Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is leading an investigation into the validity of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study claiming that a previously believed pause in global warming was in fact incorrect, and that the rate of warming over the past 15 years has been the same as the rest of the 20th century.

 

Excavator mining
Senate introduces hardrock mining legislation regarding cleanup royalties for abandoned mines
Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and other Democratic senators introduced legislation requiring mining companies to pay royalties for abandoned hardrock mine cleanup efforts.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Draft bill introduced to reform and reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015

The House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) released a discussion draft of legislation titled, the Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation (PARC) Act, which aims to reform and reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

 

IES Materials and Minerals Glyph
Hearing on H.R. 3844 to establish energy and minerals reclamation foundation
Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on November 4 to review proposed mining actions, including two bills concerning Good Samaritan cleanups.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - October 2015
Date: Saturday, October 31, 2015

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

 

IES Water Glyph
Addressing the drought in the Western United States: What is Congress doing about it?
Date: Friday, October 30, 2015

The western United States is experiencing a historically persistent drought.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
New legislation would measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation in the U.S.
Date: Thursday, October 29, 2015

Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act (S. 2219) on October 29.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
New NPS rule proposes updating regulations governing non-federal oil and gas production
Date: Monday, October 26, 2015

The National Park Service (NPS) has proposed a rule giving the agency greater oversight over the exercise of non-federal oil and gas rights on NPS land.

 

Capitol at night
Senate engages scientific community on America COMPETES bill
Date: Friday, October 23, 2015
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee recently concluded an outreach effort seeking feedback from the scientific community on the Senate version of the America COMPETES bill, which authorizes funding for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and other federal science programs.

 

Excavator mining
House passes bill that allows for faster acquisition of mining permits
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015

The House passed the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015 (H.R. 1937) on October 22.

 

Excavator mining
House Subcommittee addresses issues of abandoned mine cleanups by Good Samaritans
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment held a hearing to gather information on abandoned mine sites in the United States and the opportunities for Good Samaritan cleanups.

 

U.S. Capitol
Senate Committee hearing on the nomination of Dr. Suzette Kimball for Director of the USGS
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On October 20, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Dr. Suzette M. Kimball to be Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

 

Earth Science Week logo
Congressman Honda introduces Earth Science Week Resolution
Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015

Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced a resolution designating October 11-17, 2015 as Earth Science Week.

 

The White House
President signs the STEM Education Act of 2015 into law
Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015
On October 8, 2015 President Obama signed into law the STEM Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 1020).

 

U.S. Capitol
The Native American Energy Act passed House of Representatives
Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Native American Energy Act (H.R. 538) passed the House of Representatives on October 8, 2015.

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
Informing the public of the science behind natural hazards
Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences, NBC Learn, and the Weather Channel released a 10-part video series that delves into the science behind natural disasters.

 

U.S. Money
Continuing Resolution will fund the federal government through Dec 11
Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Congress narrowly avoided another government shutdown this September, as lawmakers agreed on a short-term funding bill that will keep the government open at least through mid-December.

 

U.S. Capitol
New bill would draw on citizen science, crowdsourcing to solve national problems
Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) has introduced a bill that would authorize and promote federal agencies to use citizen science and crowdsourcing to help solve problems within the federal government.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Land Water Conservation Fund expired September 30
Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a conservation program annually funded by royalties from offshore oil and gas production, expired on September 30, 2015.

 

U.S. Capitol
Hearing Oct 20 to consider the nomination of Dr. Suzette Kimball to be Director of the USGS
Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on October 20 to consider the nomination of Dr. Suzette Kimball to be Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Federal Register - September 2015
Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
NASA Orbiter may reveal liquid water on Mars
Date: Monday, September 28, 2015

In a recent mission, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) used an imaging spectrometer to detect chemical signatures of hydrated salts concentrated in dark streaks along slopes on Mars’s surface.

 

Sun
Vice President Biden and DOE announce funding for new SunShot Initiative
Date: Monday, September 21, 2015
On September 21, Vice President Joe Biden in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the creation of a new initiative to fund solar research and development in the United States.

 

Natural gas pump
House Energy and Commerce Committee approves legislation to undo crude oil export ban
Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
On September 17, The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation amending the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (P.L. 94-163) to repeal the restriction on exporting crude oil in the United States.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
New Executive Order aims to improve federal programs with social science research
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Executive Order signed by President Obama on September 16 would direct federal agencies to identify programs that could benefit from social and behavioral science insights.

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
Congress reauthorizes the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On September 16, Congress passed the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015 (H.R. 23), which now awaits President Obama’s signature.

 

The White House
DOE releases 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Department of Energy (DOE) released their second Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR 2015) this September.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
President Obama plans to accelerate the acquisition of a new U.S. icebreaker
Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In order to keep up with increasing ship traffic in the Arctic Ocean, President Obama has announced his plan to accelerate the acquisition of a new heavy icebreaker for the United States.

 

Hazards fire houses
Senators urge Congress to reform budgeting for wildfire suppression
Date: Friday, August 28, 2015

Senators on both sides of the aisle have urged Congress to reform the nation’s budgeting for wildfire suppression, which currently requires the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to use funds from fire prevention and non-fire programs when fire suppression funding runs dry.

 

IES Materials and Minerals Glyph
Court affirms decision to strike down SEC conflict mineral rule
Date: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On August 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voted 2–1 to affirm its prior decision to strike down a regulation in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) conflict mineral rule.

 

Natural gas pump
DOI approves drilling for oil in Chukchi Sea
Date: Monday, August 17, 2015
The Department of the Interior (DOI) approved Royal Dutch Shell PLC to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska on August 17.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Senate confirms nominees to two DOE posts
Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The Senate confirmed Monica Regalbuto as Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management and Jonathan Elkind as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Energy (DOE) on August 5.

 

The White House
Administration announces nominations for DOE and NSF posts
Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

President Obama announced the nomination of Cherry Murray as Director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science and Richard Buckius as Deputy Director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) on August 5.

 

Hazards fire houses
Report: USFS spending more than half of its budget to fight wildfires
Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released a report on August 5 detailing the impacts of increasing costs of fighting wildfires on its non-fire work.

 

Earth
Administration releases final carbon rules for Clean Power Plan
Date: Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015

 

Capitol at night
Energy and Natural Resources Committee passes comprehensive energy bill
Date: Thursday, July 30, 2015

On July 30, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed its Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S.___), which addresses energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and government funding and oversight.

 

Technology background
House bill would require NSF research grants to provide national interest justification
Date: Thursday, July 30, 2015
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Scientific Research in the National Interest Act (H.R. ___) on July 30. The bill would require all National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to provide a non-technical explanation of the purpose of their research and explain how it serves the national interest.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
California senators unveil drought relief bill
Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

 

Icebergs in Greeland
USGS releases five-year plan to study Arctic
Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On July 28, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its 2015-2020 plan for the Arctic region, focusing on coastal erosion and its effect on coastal communities.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
House Committee hears Coast Guard testimony on Arctic icebreakers
Date: Monday, July 27, 2015
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing on July 27 on the National Icebreaker Fund Act (H.R. 3214), which would fund construction and renovation of icebreakers as well as government leases on privately owned vessels.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
House hears testimony on EPA Brownfields program
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On July 22, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment heard testimony on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program and discussed potential improvements to the initiative.

 

IES Water Glyph
House Committee hears testimony on Administration's proposed "social cost of carbon" rule
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on July 22 to assess a proposed standard from the Environmental Protection Agency known as the social cost of carbon (SCC).

 

IES Water Glyph
House passes California drought relief bill despite Administration veto threat
Date: Thursday, July 16, 2015
On July 16, the House passed the Western Waters and American Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 2898), largely along party lines. The bill addresses drought by laying the groundwork for new water storage projects in California and loosens environmental restrictions in the state.

 

Natural gas pump
House Subcommittee hears testimony on BLM hydraulic fracturing regulations
Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

At a July 15 hearing held by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Neil Kornze, Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), testified on BLM’s proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands.

 

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