Chris actively worked with federal agencies and Congress to represent the geoscience community and promote sound public policy in Washington, D.C. He also managed the Geoscience Policy program’s social media presence, contributed to information products such as news briefs and the Monthly Review, and updated AGI’s web content. In addition, wrote an article about the ocean acidification, which will be published in EARTH magazine later this year.
Chris earned a B.S. in geology and environmental science at Allegheny College. For his senior thesis he studied how a flood control dam in Crawford County, Pennsylvania is impacting the fluvial geomorphology and the floodplain ecosystem of a local creek. His research interests involve the investigation of past climates through practices of sedimentology and geochemistry, and he plans on pursuing a master’s in the next few years.
Veronica focused on communicating relevant geoscience information to state and local-level decision makers. As the Critical Issues intern, she helped maintain and update the AGI website and publish web-based information products. Her article for EARTH Magazine, which will be published in November 2018, explores the concept of mineral criticality in response to the Department of the Interior Critical Minerals List.
Veronica is entering her senior year at Stony Brook University, where she is pursuing a BS in Geology. She will be participating in study abroad programs in Madagascar and Kenya for the entire academic year. So far, her undergraduate career at Stony Brook has focused on research in mineralogy and mineral physics. She conducted research with a faculty member affiliated with Brookhaven National Laboratory, and she was a member of the Summer 2017 cohort of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the American Museum of Natural History. She recently was a Stony Brook University nominee for the nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in undergraduate STEM research.
Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) introduced the first Republican carbon pricing bill in nearly a decade on July 23. The proposal, called the MARKET CHOICE Act (H.R. 6463), seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by imposing a federal tax on carbon, and to use the revenue to fund infrastructure modernization. It would also impose a rolling, performance-based moratorium on federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from sources covered by the carbon tax, and eliminate the excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels.
A summary of notices posted to the Federal Register by geoscience-related federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, and more.
In late June, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT-1) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-3) introduced bills in each chamber to address the backlog of maintenance at U.S. national parks via a new funding program. S. 3172 and H.R. 6510 are nearly identical to address the $11.6 billion backlog.
Following numerous ethics investigations, President Donald Trump announced the resignation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 5, with Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler now as acting administrator. On July 18, President Trump nominated Lane Genatowski for Director of Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) in the Department of Energy (DOE), and Dr. Scott for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics in the Department of Agriculture.
On July 19, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (E.O. 13845) establishing the President’s National Council for the American Worker. The council will develop recommendations for a national strategy to empower American workers. In late July, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353). The act amends and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 until fiscal year 2023.
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney sent a memorandum on July 31 to heads of executive departments and agencies highlighting the administration's research and development (R&D) priorities and providing guidance to agencies as they formulate their fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget submissions. The memorandum defined eight R&D priority areas and five R&D priority practices. Agency R&D budgets will be incorporated into the President’s annual budget submission to Congress in early February.
On July 19, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened a hearing on critical minerals. The hearing was held to review the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) recently published final list of critical minerals, which are minerals required for basic civilian and/or military manufacturing and with a supply chain vulnerable to disruption.