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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H.R. 8, or the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, passed the House on 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.
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 U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released a triennial update to their 2012-2021 strategic plan this December.
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 Obama Administration released an executive order today outlining new greenhouse gas emissions targets for federal agencies for 2016.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 556) on November 19.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
President Obama announced his rejection of the construction of TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL pipeline this November.
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and other Democratic senators introduced legislation requiring mining companies to pay royalties for abandoned hardrock mine cleanup efforts.
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).
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.
A list of notices from the federal register for October 2015 from agencies including the Department of the Interior, USGS, NOAA, NASA, and more.
The western United States is experiencing a historically persistent drought.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act (S. 2219) on October 29.
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.
The House passed the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015 (H.R. 1937) on October 22.
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.
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).
Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced a resolution designating October 11-17, 2015 as Earth Science Week.
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.