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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The Native American Energy Act (H.R. 538) passed the House of Representatives on October 8, 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.
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.
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.
The Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a conservation program annually funded by royalties from offshore oil and gas production, expired on 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).
A list of notices from the federal register for September 2015 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.
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.
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.
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 Department of Energy (DOE) released their second Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR 2015) this September.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August 3, 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On May 29, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill into law restricting municipalities from regulating oil and gas activities in their jurisdictions.