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. Click on the topic(s) in the filter menu below to learn more!

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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.

 

Power lines. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy
Energy from the Earth: Series Launch
Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Energy, water, and land are fundamental, interrelated natural resources critical to the health, economic growth, and security of the nation. The connections and feedbacks among these three resources have impacts on human, environmental, and infrastructure systems. Although the U.S. is endowed with many options for supplying energy to meet national demands, different energy sources have different water and land-use requirements that have implications for local and regional water and land resources.

 

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.

 

Earth
House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Space hearing on the President's FY 2016 budget for NASA
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Witness 

General Charles Bolden

Administrator, NASA

 

Members in attendance 

Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Space Subcommittee Chair

Donna Edwards (D-MD), Space Subcommittee Ranking Member

Lamar Smith (R-TX), Committee Chair

Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Committee Ranking Member

Brian Babin (R-TX)

Don Beyer (D-VA)

Mo Brooks (R-AL)

Bill Johnson (R-OH)

Frank Lucas (R-OK)

Steve Knight (R-CA)

Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)

Bill Posey (R-FL)

Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

Marc Veasey (D-TX)

 

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.

 

Capitol at night
Senate budget amendments pass in "vote-a-rama"
Date: Friday, March 27, 2015
The Senate voted on a budget resolution for fiscal year 2016, and as part of this process, senators voted on many non-binding, germane amendments in a "vote-a-rama."

 

U.S. Capitol
Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill passes Senate
Date: Friday, March 27, 2015
The Senate passed Senators Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 as part of the Senate "vote-a-rama"

 

Earth
Senate Commerce, Science, Transportation Subcommittee Holds Hearing on NASA's Budget
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness held a hearing to review the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request for NASA.

 

IES Materials and Minerals Glyph
Senator Murkowski introduces mineral security bill
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced The American Mineral Security Act of 2015, a bill supporting the development of domestic supplies of critical minerals, as well as the infrastructure to support research and education

 

NASA hurricane satellite image
NOAA weather bill passes House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee passed the Weather Research and Forecast Innovation Act of 2015.

 

Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
House Natural Resources subcommittee holds hearing on proposed USGS FY 2016 budget
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request.

 

U.S. Capitol
Senate budget would change energy efficiency scoring
Date: Friday, March 20, 2015
The Senate FY 2016 budget includes changes to the criteria for how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determines the impact of energy efficiency on the federal budget.

 

Capitol at night
House passes two EPA reform bills
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015

The House passed Representative Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 which impacts science used in Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking.

 

Drilling rig
BLM introduces hydraulic fracturing regulations
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Obama Administration and Bureau of Land Management introduced new regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federally-managed land.

 

Hazards fire houses
Western Governors voice support for Wildfire Disaster Funding Act
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Western Governors’ Association sent a letter to Congress expressing their support for two wildfire-related bills.

 

Atlantic waves
House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee held hearing on proposed NOAA FY 2016 budget
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee met to discuss the President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

Atlantic waves
House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Hearing on proposed NOAA FY 2016 Budget
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee met to discuss the Presidents fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

EarthandYouDVD logo
House Appropriations subcommittee reviews proposed FY 2016 NSF budget
Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the President’s fiscal year 2016 budget request for the National Science Foundation.

 

IES Astronomy Glyph
Examining the President's fiscal year 2016 budget request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Date: Thursday, March 12, 2015
Witness (with link to opening statement)
Administrator of NASA
 
Members
Ted Cruz (R-TX), Subcommittee Chairman
Gary Peters (D-MI), Subcommittee Ranking Member
Bill Nelson (D-FL), Committee Ranking Member
Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
 

 

Technology background
Ashby named Director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Michael Kluse, current Director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), announced that Steven Ashby will take over as the new Director of PNNL on April 1 when Kluse retires.

 

Cumulonimbus clouds
NOAA issues advisory for weak El Niño
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues an El Niño Advisory announcing that conditions for El Niño have been established.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
Senate Energy and Natural Resources holds Arctic Opportunities Hearing
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to evaluate opportunities for the United States to build on its status as an Arctic nation.

 

Icebergs in Greeland
United States Arctic opportunities hearing
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015
Witnesses
Admiral Robert Papp
U.S. Department of State Special Representative for the Arctic
The Honorable Lesil McGuire
Alaska State Legislature Representative
The Honorable Bob Herron
Alaska State Legislature Representative
The Honorable Charlotte Brower
Mayor of North Slope Borough
Dr. Cecilia Bitz
University of Washington College of the Environment, School Atmospheric Sciences Professor
Mr. Patrick R. Arnold

 

Icebergs in Greeland
Ocean Leadership Consortium Public Policy Forum focuses on Arctic issues
Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The 2015 Consortium for Ocean Leadership Public Policy Forum on Predicting and Preparing for a Changing Arctic took place on March 4.

 

U.S. Money
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee: NSF, NIST FY 2016 budget hearing
Date: Friday, February 27, 2015

On February 27, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on the President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

 

U.S. Money
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: USFS FY 2016 budget hearing
Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) on February 26.

 

Atlean Lake in British Columbia
Obama renominates Kimball as USGS Director
Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015

President Obama renominated Dr. Suzette Kimball as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on February 26, following the lapse of her nomination at the beginning of the 114th Congress in January.

 

IES Oceans Glyph
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee advances tsunami warning bill
Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee marked up and passed the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015 (H.R.34) on February 26.

 

U.S. Money
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: DOI FY 2016 budget hearing
Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On February 24, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for the Department of the Interior (DOI).

 

The White House
President Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline legislation
Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

President Obama vetoed legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on February 24, following passage of the House and Senate bills.

 

U.S. Capitol
Full committee hearing - Department of the Interior's FY 2016 budget
Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Witnesses

Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary
Mike Connor, Deputy Secretary

Committee Members Present

 

Galaxy NGC 3310
NASA names new Associate Administrator
Date: Monday, February 23, 2015

Steve Jurczyk is the new Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA, replacing Michael Gazarik who left NASA earlier in February.

 

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
Obama Administration proposes new Arctic offshore drilling rules
Date: Friday, February 20, 2015

On February 20, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in conjunction with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proposed rules for future oil and gas drilling on 128 million acres in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas as allocated in the BOEM’s 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Plan.

 

Drilling rig
USGS releases report on 60 years of hydraulic fracturing
Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a report on February 17 that examines trends in the spatial distribution, treatment fluids, additives, proppants, and water volumes for nearly 1 million hydraulically fractured wells and 1.8 million fracturing treatments during the period 1947 through 2010.

 

Bingham Copper Mine
Grijalva introduces legislation to reform hardrock mining industry
Date: Friday, February 13, 2015

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced legislation this February that would overhaul the non-coal mining industry.

 

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