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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The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
OCS seismic surveying hearing underscores differences in scientific opinion
Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources heard testimony from industry representatives and academics on the permitting process for seismic surveys to prospect for oil and gas.

 

Earth
Senate Committee hears testimony on America's role in the UN Climate Conference
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On July 8, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony on the Administration’s plans for the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris. As part of the conference, the Obama Administration intends to commit America to reducing carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2025.

 

Flow of data
Senate Committee seeks stakeholder input in preparation for COMPETES reauthorization
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Following the House’s move in May to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act, the Senate has announced their intention to draft a version of the bill by this fall.

 

Technology background
House Committee reviews success of Helium Stewardship Act
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On July 8, the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing reviewing the year-old Helium Stewardship Act’s (HSA) implementation.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
House Natural Resources subcommittee holds hearing on National Critical Minerals bill
Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals heard testimony mostly in favor of H.R. 1937, the National Critical Minerals Act (NCMA), on June 25.

 

IES Water Glyph
House bill addresses water infrastructure and drought mitigation in California and the West
Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

On June 25, Representative David Valadao (R-CA) introduced H.R. 2898, entitled the “Western Water and American Food Security Act,” in an effort mitigate the impacts of the drought in California and other Western states.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Energy Information Administration testifies on EPA Clean Power Plan to House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittees
Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On June 24, the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittees on Energy and the Environment held a joint hearing on the impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) on the energy sector. The hearing focused on a new Energy Information Administration (EIA) report on the effectiveness of the CPP.

 

U.S. Supreme Court building
BLM's new hydraulic fracturing rules postponed pending court decision
Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A federal judge for the U.S. District Court of Wyoming has placed a hold on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.

 

IES Rocks and Landforms Glyph
House Interior and Environment Subcommittee approves FY 2016 Interior and Environment bill
Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
On June 16, the House Appropriations committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations bill setting funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of Land Management, and others by a 30-21 vote.

 

Capitol at night
Senate Appropriations passes Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies spending bill
Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
On June 16, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $30 billion spending bill for Interior, Environment, and related agencies, which contains cuts to EPA funding.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
House Natural Resources subcommittee holds hearing on proposed Arctic drilling regulations
Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on “Arctic Resources and American Competitiveness” to discuss exploratory oil and gas drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

 

Capitol at night
Senate Appropriations passes FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill
Date: Thursday, June 11, 2015
On June 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2016, one week after the House passed its own CJS bill.

 

Drilling rig
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds series of hearings on massive energy legislation package
Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On June 9, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee completed its series of four hearings related to a new energy bill spearheaded by Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Legislators on both sides of the aisle have proposed 114 bills spanning energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and accountability and reform to be considered as a part of Murkowski’s larger energy legislation package, which she hopes to have completed before the end of the summer.

 

Excavator mining
House bill would fund research into raw materials that fuel energy innovation
Date: Monday, June 8, 2015
Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced The Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2015 (H.R. 2687) on June 8 to support research on Energy Critical Elements (ECEs).

 

IES Soils Glyph
Senate Committee assesses drought conditions in 11 Western States
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2015
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on June 2 to assess drought conditions and water challenges in the western United States.

 

IES Astronomy Glyph
NOAA reports potential coverage risk for U.S. weather data
Date: Monday, June 1, 2015

According to a report from the Department of Commerce’s Inspector General, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) weather satellites could be vulnerable for the next 29 months due to construction delays.

 

Drilling rig
Oklahoma passes law prohibiting outright bans on hydraulic fracturing
Date: Monday, June 1, 2015

On May 29, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill into law restricting municipalities from regulating oil and gas activities in their jurisdictions.

 

Natural gas pump
Maryland imposes 2-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing
Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015
With the passage of a new bill, the state of Maryland will not allow hydraulic fracturing until October 1, 2017.

 

IES Water Glyph
NOAA opens $24.5 million National Water Center in Alabama
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opened its new National Water Center on The University of Alabama campus on May 26.

 

U.S. Money
Senate Appropriations Committee approves FY 2016 Energy and Water bill
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Senate Appropriations Committee met on May 21 to mark up the fiscal year (FY) 2016 energy and water development funding bill. The bill that passed the committee totals $35.4 billion, $1.2 billion above the FY 2015 enacted level and $668 million below the President’s request.

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
Asteroid mining bill passes the House
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015

The House passed the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act (SPACE) of 2015 on May 21, which is designed to facilitate exploration and exploitation of space resources by American businesses.

 

IES Water Glyph
Senate Appropriations Committee finalizes Interior, Environment spending levels for FY 2016
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015

On May 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee allocated $30.01 billion to the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to cover funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Forest Service, and other agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

 

Earth
House Appropriations Committee passes CJS FY 2016 spending bill with cuts to NOAA and NASA programs
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The House Appropriations Committee passed the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2016 by voice vote on May 20.

 

Capitol at night
House spending bill cuts NSF funding to Geoscience Directorate
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
On May 20, the House Appropriations Committee passed the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill with language setting directorate-level funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a change from current agency-level funding.

 

Drilling rig
Bicameral push would give DOI discretion over pipeline permits through national parks
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Members of the House and Senate have introduced bills that would give the Department of the Interior (DOI) authority over natural gas pipeline permitting on federal lands in lieu of congressional oversight.

 

Capitol at night
Senate bill would increase DOE basic energy research funding
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Senate bill (S. 1398) introduced on May 20 would provide an alternative to the energy research funding levels proposed in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, which passed the House on May 19.

 

Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
House passes Weather and Forecasting Innovation Act
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
On May 20, the House passed the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R.1561) which would fund the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) research on storm forecasting and early warning systems.

 

IES Water Glyph
Bureau of Reclamation sends $50 million to water-starved Western states for water conservation
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Department of the Interior announced on May 20 that $50 million from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART grants will be sent to 12 drought-stricken states for water reclamation and reuse facilities, recycling and desalination programs, and water and energy infrastructure and efficiency initiatives.

 

Natural gas pump
Texas law restricts local laws regarding oil and gas
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Texas governor Greg Abbott signed TX HB 40 into law on May 19 in an effort to create continuity in oil and gas restrictions across the state.

 

Drilling rig
Murkowski, Heitkamp introduce Senate bill to allow crude oil exports
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

One week after introducing the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015 (S. 1312), which would lift the US ban on exporting its crude oil to other nations, Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a second, more focused bill on the issue.

 

Capitol at night
Federal science bill passes House amid funding debate
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On May 19, the House voted to approve the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806).

 

Excavator mining
Murkowski bill to overhaul minerals and mining regulations
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On May 12, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR) held a hearing to consider the American Mineral Security Act of 2015 to increase support for minerals science, information, and forecasting within the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Resources Program.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
White House conditionally approves Arctic Drilling
Date: Monday, May 11, 2015
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a statement on May 11 granting Royal Dutch Shell PLC conditional drilling rights in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.

 

U.S. Capitol
GAO releases report on oil and gas monitoring and venting
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) regulations regarding royalty payments and measurement standards for onshore oil and gas production.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
House approves FY 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill
Date: Friday, May 1, 2015

On May 1, the House passed a $34.5 billion Energy and Water spending bill by a vote of 240-177, largely along party lines.

 

IES Energy glyph
House and Senate hold hearings on energy efficiency legislation
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee both held hearings on energy efficiency bills working their way through each chamber.

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds hearing on BLM hydraulic fracturing rule
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Bureau of Land Management’s new regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee passes NASA reauthorization bill cutting Earth science funding
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a markup of the NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 (H.R. 2039).

 

The White House
Administration releases Quadrennial Energy Review
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Obama Administration has introduced a Quadrennial Energy Review to address the future of energy transmission, storage, and infrastructure distribution in the U.S.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee holds hearing on Deepwater Horizon, five years later
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing examining impacts and changes in the five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

 

EarthandYouDVD logo
Senate committee passes EPA reform act
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the Secret Science Reform Act (S.544).

 

U.S. Capitol with flag
USGS to incorporate induced seismicity in earthquake prediction modeling
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey released a report on preliminary models of earthquakes triggered by human activity, or induced seismicity, to be added into U.S. hazard modeling.

 

Capitol at night
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee passes COMPETES reauthorization bill cutting Geoscience Directorate funding
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806) with a party-line vote.

 

IES Astronomy Glyph
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Space Subcommittee holds hearing on President's FY 2016 NASA budget
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Space Subcommittee held a hearing on the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for NASA.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
Representative Issa introduces Monuments Protection Act of 2015
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced the Monuments Protection Act of 2015 (H.R.1836) which would require federal departments to accept offers from local governments supporting access to public lands in the event of a funding lapse, such as a government shutdown.

 

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee passes funding bill
Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water passed a bill funding the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration for fiscal year 2016 (H.R.2028).

 

Atlantic waves
GAO examines NOAA in annual report on duplication
Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released their fifth annual report on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in government services.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Administration proposes new offshore drilling regulations
Date: Monday, April 13, 2015

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement proposed new regulations for offshore drilling.

 

Earth
Multi-agency partnership aims to understand harmful algal blooms
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A new $3.6 million effort supports a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Geological Survey to develop an early warning indicator for freshwater algal blooms.

 

Atlantic waves
President Obama and NOAA expand marine sanctuaries
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

 

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