2019

Julia Jeanty

Julia is a 2018 graduate from University of Florida with a dual degree in Environmental Geosciences and Sustainability Studies, as well as certificates in Geospatial Information Analysis and Meteorology and Climatology. Throughout her undergraduate career, Julia conducted research pertaining to flooding, climate change and natural disaster management in Hopkins, Belize as part of an NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates, and studied the effects of plantation forestry on soil nutrient cycling at Stanford University as part of Stanford’s Summer Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering Program. She also served as General Manager for Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant, a nonprofit whose mission is to ensure the sustainability of the Asian elephant and the peoples sharing its habitat.

During her time at AGI, Julia wrote geoscience policy updates for AGI’s Monthly Review, maintained AGI’s social media presence, attended Congressional hearings and briefings pertinent to the geosciences, wrote an article on the The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Interim Hazards report, and attended geoscience coalition meetings on behalf of AGI. After her internship at AGI, Julia moved on to a Talent Pool internship at the American Geophysical Union.

Bernhardt confirmed as Secretary of the Interior

Capitol at night

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved acting Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt’s nomination for the permanent secretary position by a 14-6 vote on April 4. Despite receiving strong bipartisan support from the committee, Bernhardt’s confirmation remains encircled in a series of ethics allegations regarding his involvement with lobbying for Westland Water District after filing a legal notice that stated he was no longer a lobbyist. Bernhardt was confirmed as interior secretary by the full Senate on April 11 by a vote of 56-41.

House subcommittee meets to discuss ocean acidification bills

Atlantic waves

The Subcommittee on Environment of the House Science Committee met on April 9 to discuss four bills to address ocean acidification: The National Estuaries and Acidification Research (NEAR) Act of 2019 (H.R.988), COAST Research Act of 2019 (H.R.1237), Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2019 (H.R.1716), and Ocean Acidification Innovation Act (H.R.1921). Committee members have two days to submit additional comments on the bills before they move on to the full committee for a vote.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passes a series of disaster aid bills

Paricutín Volcano

Several disaster aid bills, including the Post-Disaster Assistance Online Accountability Act (H.R. 1307), Disclosing Aid Spent to Ensure Relief (DISASTER) Act (H.R. 1984), Federal Disaster Assistance Coordination Act (H.R. 1306), and H.R. 1311, were introduced in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee beginning on February 15. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also approved the National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation fund, which will provide between $400 million and $600 million per year in grants for infrastructure investments in states that are most threatened by hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters.

House Appropriations Committee holds budget hearings for FY 2020

U.S. Money

Beginning on March 26, subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee held a series of fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget hearings for agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Energy (DOE), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Administrators from each agency gave justifications for their budgets, which are derived from the White House’s FY 2020 budget plan, and laid out their agency’s priorities to be addressed in FY 2020.

House committee holds hearing on reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program

IES Oceans Glyph

On March 13, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP was last reauthorized by Congress on December 21, 2018, authorizing the program through May 31, 2019. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NFIP reauthorization gives Congress the chance to simplify this program and strengthen it financially so that it can effectively help individuals and communities to secure flood insurance.

House passes bipartisan bill to support energy efficiency in schools

Study group

On March 5, the House passed the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2019 (H.R. 762), a bill that directs the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to provide a clearinghouse of information on programs and funding geared towards making schools more energy efficient.  The bipartisan bill, introduced by Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8) and Peter Welch (D-VT-AL) on January 1, would also include resources to help conceptualize and fund energy efficiency and retrofitting projects.

House subcommittee holds hearing on offshore energy policies at BOEM and BSEE

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig

On March 6, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing to discuss the policies and priorities of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Both BSEE and BOEM have been prioritizing the advancement of offshore energy to satisfy Executive Order (E.O.) 13795, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which aims to reduce restrictions on the offshore drilling industry.

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