water

Lawmakers reauthorize NOAA Marine Debris Program

Atlantic waves

President Trump signed the Save Our Seas Act of 2018 (S. 3508) into law on October 11. The Act reauthorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program through fiscal year 2022. It also strengthens certain Coast Guard requirements to promote safety in the maritime industry and promotes awareness and implementation of marine technology within the Coast Guard.

Geoscience for Community Priorities

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Background:
The geosciences provide valuable knowledge and tools that can be applied to a wide range of community issues, including air and water quality; geologic hazards; the provision of energy, water, and mineral resources; climate and weather impacts; and the construction and maintenance of infrastructure. Geoscientists are commonly keen to see this science put into action, but there are many factors that affect how geoscience is perceived and used in community decision-making. Communities vary tremendously in size, location, culture, history, resources, governance, priorities, and needs. Effective engagement strategies take account of this diversity and employ a range of approaches to support communities and individual decision-makers with science that they can trust, understand, and use.

In this webinar, experts in geoscience communication, education, and engagement discuss a variety of different techniques, media, and principles for more effective communication and collaboration between community leaders, decision makers, and geoscientists. Particular attention is paid to three types of engagement: facilitating community-led solutions by connecting community leaders with geoscientists; incorporating community issues into college-level geoscience curricula; and using online platforms to provide geoscience information, resources, access to expertise, and opportunities for communities facing similar issues to share their experiences.

Our speakers are:

  • Raj Pandya, Ph.D., Director, Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union | pdf download icon Slides | YouTube download icon Video
  • Natasha Udu-gama, Ph.D., Senior Specialist, Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union | pdf download icon Slides | YouTube download icon Video
  • Sarah Fortner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geology & Environmental Science, Wittenberg University | pdf download icon Slides | YouTube download icon Video
  • Cassaundra Rose, Ph.D., Program Manager, Policy and Critical Issues, American Geosciences Institute | pdf download icon Slides | YouTube download icon Video

Thank you to our media partners, the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Professional Geologists, Association of Women Geoscientists, Council on Undergraduate Research, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, National Association of State Boards of Geology, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Resources to learn more:

Search the Geological Surveys Database for reports and factsheets about geoscience in communities.

Communities and Scientists Working Together

House and Senate committees hold hearings on PFAS chemical exposure

U.S. Capitol

Both the House and Senate held separate subcommittee hearings this month to address the emerging health and environmental impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of manufactured chemicals used in a variety of applications such as firefighting foam and many household products. Prior to the two hearings, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the senior senator from Michigan, introduced two bills that seek to address the PFAS crisis.

Senate subcommittee holds hearing on algal bloom monitoring and impacts

Climate and Weather glyph

On August 28, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on U.S. Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) events and the status of the algal-bloom research, technology, and monitoring techniques. During opening remarks, senators highlighted the health, economic, and cultural impact impacts from HABs in Wisconsin, Alaska, and Florida.

South Carolina District Court reinstates the Clean Water Act WOTUS rule in twenty-six states

Atlean Lake in British Columbia

On August 16, the South Carolina District Court ruled that President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13778 to suspend the Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Finalized in 2015, the Clean Water Rule—also called the Waters of the United States or WOTUS rule—clarified the scope of federal water protected under the Clean Water Act. The nationwide halt of the applicability date rule effectively reinstates the WOTUS rule in twenty-six states.

Senate Commerce Subcommittee considers NOAA Blue Economy Initiative

Atlantic waves

The acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, appeared before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard on July 24 to answer questions about NOAA’s Blue Economy Initiative. At the hearing, Gallaudet also vowed that NOAA is committed to the climate and conservation elements of its mission.

President Trump signs executive order implementing a new national ocean policy

Atlantic waves

On June 19, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13840, “Ocean Policy to Advance Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States,” revoking and replacing much of the previous administration’s ocean policy. E.O. 13840 seeks to improve interagency coordination on ocean-related matters, public access to data, and engagement with marine industries, the science and technology community, and other stakeholders.

House and Senate pass appropriations legislation funding FY 2019 Energy and Water Development

U.S. Capitol with flag

In June 2018, the House and Senate consecutively passed the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019 (H.R. 5895) to make progress on the appropriations process before the fiscal year (FY) 2019 deadline of September 30, 2018. More FY 2019 appropriations bills are slated to be considered in July, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to shorten the Senate’s August recess to proceed with appropriations legislation and nominee confirmation.  

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