Monthly Review: February 2007


This monthly review goes out to the leadership of AGI's member societies, members of the AGI Government Affairs Advisory Committee, and other interested geoscientists as part of a continuing effort to improve communications between GAP and the geoscience community that it serves.

1. Join Us for Congressional Visits Day on May 1-2
2. Congressional Cornucopia: Climate Change Aplenty
3. Energy Policy Propels Geoscience into the Congressional Spotlight
4. Senate Committee Passes Ocean Exploration Bill
5. House Science and Technology Committee Approve Four Research Bills
6. Congress Begins Deliberations on Science Education
7. Senate Agriculture Committee Adds New Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology
8. NASA Announces New Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate
9. Earthquake Hazards Reduction Advisory Committee Named
10. European Union Closing the Innovation Gap with the U.S.
11. Commission Launches European Research Council
12. Nominations for Presidential Science Awards
13. Disaster Management Starts With a Map
14. Dignitaries Urge Congress to Fund National Parks Centennial
15. AIPG/AGI Summer Geoscience Policy Internships: Apply by March 15
16. Key Federal Register Notices
17. New Updates to the Web

1. Join Us for Congressional Visits Day on May 1-2

Join us for the 12th annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD) on May 1-2, 2007. This two-day annual event brings scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington to raise visibility and support for science, engineering, and technology. Participants will spend the first day learning about how Congress works, the current state of the budget process and how to conduct congressional visits. The second day will consist of visits with members of Congress. In addition to the workshops and visits, participants will get to meet other scientists and engineers, meet federal science agency representatives and attend a reception and breakfasts at which members of Congress will speak and meet with the audience.

Please consider participating in these visits and plan early to come to Washington DC. Many scientific societies are involved in CVD, including several of AGI's Member Societies. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America are very active participating societies in CVD and can help coordinate your visits. In addition, these societies and AGI will coordinate some geoscience activities on May 1.

Individuals interested in participating should contact the Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

2. Congressional Cornucopia: Climate Change Aplenty

Congress continued to hold hearings on climate change in both chambers and across many different committees. Geoscientists were key witnesses in many hearings. Perhaps the most provocative and interesting hearing was the February 8th overview of one part of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fourth Assessment Report. The House Science and Technology Committee invited four co-authors of the IPCC's summary for policy makers of the first volume of the report, titled "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis" to testify. In an unusual twist, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the first witness and she offered strong support for the findings of the IPCC policy summary. Later on in the hearing, NOAA atmospheric scientist Susan Solomon got into a terse conversation with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) about the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that can be directly attributed to human influence and Professor Richard Alley delighted the members with a pancake analogy. An archived web cast of the hearing is available from the committee web page. Many more hearings are expected in March, including the testimony of more geoscientists and the former Vice President Al Gore.

Partially in response to the IPCC report and to the attention of climate change in Congress, the Senate Republican Policy Committee released a 10-page primer on climate change for policymakers on February 27. The primer, entitled "Global Warming: The Settled Versus the Unsettled Science" states that there is scientific agreement that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have increased in large part due to fossil fuel consumption, that Earth's average temperature has risen 1.3 degrees F over the past century and that carbon dioxide, methane and other gases exert a warming influence on climate. Beyond these 3 points, the primer states there is considerable uncertainty. The first two uncertainties are that it is difficult to determine how much of the past warming is due to human influence and that it is difficult to determine whether human activities will have a benign or catastrophic effect on climate in the future.

Speaker Pelosi has given the House a June 1 deadline for crafting comprehensive climate change legislation, but Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), chair of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee have requested more time. In addition to more time, which Speaker Pelosi denied, the chairmen are also seeking more input from outside organizations. On February 28, Dingell and Boucher sent a letter to more than 30 organizations requesting input on climate change legislation. The letter states "We appreciate any help you can provide in furthering our understanding of the significant factual and policy issues involved in the debate concerning potential congressional action on climate change legislation." The letter was sent to the AFL-CIO, American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Gas Association, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense, Coal Research Council, National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, National Association of Manufacturers, Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, the Renewable Fuels Association and others. Groups have until March 19 to respond and the chairmen have promised to make the responses public.

Congress is not just holding hearings and requesting information about climate change though. Members have been busy introducing legislation to address the issue, primarily in the Senate. One piece of legislation called for a new national assessment and better federal coordination of climate change research, a bevy of bills address greenhouse gas reductions and a newly introduced bill calls for a national assessment of our carbon sequestration capacity.

On February 7, Representative Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced the Global Change Research and Data Management Act of 2007 (H.R. 906) which would require the President to "establish an interagency United States Global Change Research Program to improve understanding of global change, to respond to the information needs of communities and decision makers, and to provide periodic assessments of the vulnerability of the United States and other regions to global change." The bill would repeal The Global Change Research Act of 1990. The measure would be intended to explicitly require a national assessment of climate change research. Currently the Bush Administration is being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for deciding not to produce a second national climate assessment in 2005, but instead producing a series of 21 staggered, narrowly defined reports on climate science. The 1990 law requires the government to prepare a scientific assessment every four years of current climate change research and the groups in the lawsuit contend that the Administration is in violation of this requirement.

Udall's measure would also form a working group that would include the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Director of the United States Geological Survey, the Archivist of the United States, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, or their designees, and representatives of any other Federal agencies the President considers appropriate.

By the end of February, the following 7 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were introduced in Congress and are being compared by members and outside stakeholders: 1. Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (S.280) from lead co-sponsors Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), 2. Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act (S.309) from lead co-sponsors Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), 3. Electric Utility Cap-and-Trade Act (S.317) sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), 4. Discussion Draft of Global Warming Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), 5. The Climate Stewardship Act (H.R. 620) led by co-sponsors Rep. John Olver (D-MA) and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), 6. Global Warming Reduction Act (S.485) led by co-sponsors Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and 7. National Energy and Environmental Security Act of 2007 (S.6) from lead co-sponsor, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). All of these measures would require implementation of some type of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for different sectors of the U.S. economy, including in some cases the use of carbon sequestration.

A new and different bill, introduced on March 1, would address the capacity for carbon sequestration in the U.S. The National Carbon Dioxide Storage Capacity Assessment Act of 2007 was introduced in the Senate and the House. Cosponsors for the Senate bill, S. 731, include Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Jim Webb (D-VA), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jim Bunning (R-KY), while in the House, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) is the lead sponsor of a companion version, H.R. 1267. Both bills task the U.S. Geological Survey, the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency with calculating storage capacity in all 50 states and the risks associated with sequestration, as well as estimating potential volumes of oil and gas that could be recovered after carbon injections.

The full text and summaries of each bill is available from Thomas
The Bingaman-Specter Discussion Draft on Global Warming Legislation is available from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee web site.
The Dingell-Boucher Letter is available from the House Energy and Commerce web site.
Also see AGI Government Affairs web page on Climate Change for more summaries of hearings and other actions.

3. Energy Policy Propels Geoscience into the Congressional Spotlight

Like the climate change debate, the 110th Congress is also keenly focused on energy policy and in many cases the two are intimately coupled in discussions and proposed legislation. Congress held multiple hearings across many different committees about energy policy and considered measures to diversify the nation's energy portfolio, improve efficiency and conservation, reduce the nation's demand for imported fossil fuel products, reduce the environmental impacts of energy use, improve global energy security and enhance research and development to meet future energy needs. Many of these measures will require geoscientific information and help from geoscientists and engineers working in applied geoscience fields.

Among the many energy hearings, the House Appropriations, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development February 28 hearing on "A Ten Year Energy Outlook" was particularly informative. Guy Caruso, the Energy Information Administrator was the first witness and he reviewed the recently released Annual Energy Outlook, 2007. After summarizing some pessimistic numbers about future energy demands, he told the committee he wanted to end his testimony on "a note of optimism" which drew faint laughter. He then noted that EIA's energy outlook in the 1970s had projected energy use in 2006 that was at least 50% off the mark, so future projections for 2030 might also be too high. Caruso was followed by Jim Wells, Director of Natural Resources and Environment at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Wells was very pessimistic as he presented the results of a GAO report entitled "Key Challenges Remain for Developing and Deploying Advanced Energy Technologies to Meet Future Needs". He indicated that the Energy Department's research and development (R&D) has been a failure since 1978 because the nation has not reduced its dependence on fossil fuels by any significant fraction. He concluded that cheap energy is now gone and the future will be "unsettling" for consumers.

The second panel of 6 witnesses focused on a ten year outlook for energy R&D. All of the witnesses agreed that the federal government and the private sector in the U.S. was not spending enough on R&D. They also agreed that the U.S. needs to consider a diverse energy portfolio to meet future demand and that all energy resources should be adequately supported with R&D funds because all of these resources will be needed now and in the future. Professor Daniel Kammen from the University of California, Berkeley documented a disturbing decrease in energy R&D spending by the government and the private sector. He noted that the U.S. invests about $1 billion less in energy R&D than it did a decade ago. All of the representatives who attended the hearing, including the Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-IN) and Ranking Member David Hobson (R-OH) agreed that energy R&D spending should be increased and their committee would like to support appropriate increases for energy R&D.

Also see AGI's Government Affairs web page on Energy for more summaries of hearings and other actions.

4. Senate Committee Passes Ocean Exploration Bill

On February 13, Senate bill S. 39, entitled "Ocean and Coastal Exploration and NOAA Act (OCEAN Act)" was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The measure, if successful in the full Senate and House, would authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in concert with the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies, to spend $486 million over 10 years on a coordinated program with a focus on deep sea regions research, the location of historic shipwrecks and submerged sites, and public education programs. An amendment to the bill would also require NOAA to study and evaluate U.S. coastal resources, with a focus on wave, current, tidal and biological resources in the coastal areas.

In addition, S. 39 also authorizes $278 million for an undersea research program to establish a national undersea research center and research projects on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Another $296 million would fund a coordinated effort to map federal coastlines, the Exclusive Economic Zone, the outer continental shelf, other territorial waters and the Great Lakes, as well as three joint hydrographic centers to aid the mapping project.

The full text and summaries of the bill is available from Thomas

5. House Science and Technology Committee Approve Four Research Bills

On February 28, the House Science and Technology Committee passed four bills that would help the U.S. maintain a competitive advantage in science and technology. The "Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act", (H.R. 363) would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Science within the Department of Energy (DOE) to award grants to scientists and engineers at the early stage of their careers at institutions of higher education and certain research organizations, such as museums, observatories, or research laboratories. NSF would be required to allocate 3.5% of its Research and Related Activities per year for the early career awards and 1.5% of its Research and Related Activities per year for graduate education and research traineeship awards. DOE would be authorized to receive as much as $25 million per year to pay for its early career grants. The programs would run for a 5 year period from 2008 to 2012.

The measure also authorizes a National Coordination Office for Research Infrastructure to be organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to report on deficiencies and priorities in research facilities and major instrumentation at academic and national laboratories. The original bill had contained authorization for billions of dollars over 5 years for basic research in science, mathematics, computing and engineering at federal agencies, however, that language was removed from the bill to help ensure its passage through the committee and hopefully ease its passage through the full House and then the Senate.

The Energy Technology Transfer Act (H.R. 85) would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to direct the Secretary of Energy to award grants for a five-year period to nonprofit institutions, state and local governments, cooperative extension services, or universities (or consortia thereof) to establish a geographically dispersed network of Advanced Energy Technology Transfer Centers, located in areas the Secretary determines have the greatest need of their services. The centers would encourage demonstration and commercial application of advanced energy methods and technologies.

House bill, H.R. 1068 would revise the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-194) and require the Office of Science and Technology Policy to "draw a road map" for developing and deploying high-powered computing systems for the nation's research community.

House bill, H.R. 1126, would reauthorize the Steel and Aluminum Energy Conservation and Technology Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-680). The measure would authorize $12 million per year for five years to support advanced metals research. The federal funds, along with funds from the steel industry, would support metals research at U.S. universities.

The full text and summaries of the bills are available from Thomas

6. Congress Begins Deliberations on Science Education

Since 2002, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been the cornerstone of federal K-12 education policy. Within NCLB, the primary effect on Earth science education has been the establishment of Math and Science Partnerships in the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation (NSF). NCLB also requires that states begin assessing science proficiency in the 2007-2008 school year. With this requirement, states have the opportunity to set standards, determine curricula and review education programs. This is also a time for the Earth science community to advocate for and explain the value of Earth science in curricula, testing and standards. NCLB, the Higher Education Act (HEA) - which focuses on federal student aid, contains scholarship and loan relief provisions for math and science students and teachers, and NSF are all up for re-authorization in fiscal year 2008. Congress is likely to consider their overlapping objectives in crafting any changes to these programs. A number of education initiatives have also been proposed as part of a new focus in Congress and the White House on innovation and U.S. competitiveness.

With this backdrop on science education legislation, a bipartisan task force presented more than 70 recommendations for improving NCLB to members of the House Education and Labor Committee on February 13, 2007. The task force recommended more tests and standards for students, new requirements for teachers, requirements for schools to maintain databases of student progress, and new requirements to measure the performance of principals against the performance of their students.

For more information, see AGI's Government Affairs web page on Innovation and Competitiveness.

7. Senate Agriculture Committee Adds New Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has added a new panel focused on energy and renewables to the Agriculture Committee. Dubbed the "Energy, Science and Technology" panel, the new subcommittee will be led by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), who are both biofuel advocates. According to a statement by Senator Harkin in an E&E Special Report, the panel's focus will include renewable energy production, energy efficiency improvement on farms and ranches, research, and new uses for agricultural commodities.

8. NASA Announces New Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate

NASA announced on February 12 that Dr. S. Alan Stern will be replacing Dr. Mary L. Cleave as the agency's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate in April. Dr. Cleave, who has served as the associate administrator since fall 2005, announced her retirement in the fall of last year.

Dr. Stern, a planetary scientist with a doctoral degree in astrophysics and planetary science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, will be joining NASA from the Southwest Research Institute's Space Sciences and Engineering Divisions, Boulder, Colorado. As chief executive of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Stern will oversee research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system and the universe beyond. He will also manage a broad spectrum of grant-based research programs and spacecraft projects to study Earth and the universe.

For more information about NASA and its suite of science programs, go to http://science.hq.nasa.gov/

9. Earthquake Hazards Reduction Advisory Committee Named

In February, 15 people, including several seismologists and geotechnical engineers, were named to the new National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR). Established by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, NEHRP is the federal government's program to reduce the risks to life and property from earthquakes. NEHRP consists of four federal agencies: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Congress designated NIST as the lead agency for NEHRP in 2004.

The responsibilities of the new independent advisory committee include assessing: (1) trends and developments in the science and engineering of earthquake hazards reduction;
(2) the effectiveness of NEHRP in performing its statutory activities (improved design and construction methods and practices; land use controls and redevelopment; prediction techniques and early-warning systems; coordinated emergency preparedness plans; and public education and involvement programs); (3) any need to revise NEHRP; and
(4) the management, coordination, implementation and activities of NEHRP.

For more information on NEHRP, including biographical information on the advisory committee members, go to www.nehrp.gov.

10. European Union Closing the Innovation Gap with the U.S.

In February, the European Union (EU) announced that the "innovation gap" between Europe and the United States continues to narrow for the fourth year in a row. For the past several years, Congress has considered the growing concern that the U.S. is losing its innovative and competitive edge in the global market. Government and non-government reports, as well as coalitions from industry, government and academic sectors, have called upon Congress to increase funding for physical science research and development (R&D) to ensure the nation's competitive edge in an increasingly technology-driven global economy. The EU and countries like China and India are committing record amounts of funding to R&D, while the U.S. has been decreasing funding for non-defense physical science R&D for many years.

As noted in the January 2007 Monthly Review, the Department of Energy has seen significant decreases in energy R&D at a time when the nation needs R&D to solve critical energy supply and demand issues. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on "Key Challenges Remain for Developing and Deploying Advanced Energy Technologies to Meet Future Needs" notes that "DOE's total budget authority for energy R&D dropped by over 85 percent (in real terms) from 1978 to 2005…"

The European Innovation Scoreboard 2006 (EIS), published in late February, reinforces concerns about U.S. competitiveness. According to the report, the innovation performance of a country's economy is based on a range of indicators, including education levels, expenditures in the information and communication technologies sector, investment in R&D, and the number of patents filed. America's innovation edge is primarily due to more early-stage venture capital, a larger fraction of the population with a tertiary education and a larger number of U.S. patents. According to the report, which presents a comparative analysis of the innovation performance of the EU, the U.S. and Japan, the innovation "leaders" are Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Japan. The innovation "followers" are the United Kingdom, Iceland, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, and the United States.

For more information about what Congress is considering related to innovation and competitiveness see AGI's Government Affairs web page on Innovation and Competitiveness.

11. Commission Launches European Research Council

On February 27, 2007, the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potoznik, announced the formation of the European Research Council (ERC). ERC will fund "research at the frontiers of science" with an annual budget of about one billion euros. The ERC will directly fund researchers, based on the scientific excellence of their proposals. The ERC's Scientific Council - not the European Commission, or anyone else - will be responsible for scientific strategy and implementation and ERC operations will be autonomous, through an Executive Agency. The ERC will offer two types of grants, one for young principal investigators (2 to 9 years beyond their PhD) and one for principal investigators who are considered top research leaders. The grants will range from 100,000 to 500,000 euros over as long as a 5 year time period. Candidates of any country or origin may apply, however, they must be sponsored by a legally-recognized public or private research organization situated in the European Union or associated countries.

12. Nominations for Presidential Science Awards

Each year, the President of the United States recognizes outstanding mathematics and science teachers by honoring them with the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Exemplary mathematics and science teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible for the award, which recognizes teachers from the 50 states, Washington, D.C., Department of Defense Schools, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories. PAEMST awardees are "a premier group of highly qualified teachers who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in these areas."

The PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House. Since the program's inception in 1983, more than 3,700 awardees have been selected, with up to 108 awardees each year. In even-numbered years, the award is given to elementary teachers; in odd-numbered years, secondary teachers are recognized. To nominate a 7th-12th grade teacher, visit www.paemst.org; applications are due by May 1, 2007.

13. Disaster Management Starts With a Map

In response to a series of disasters that have beset the United States in recent years, the National Research Council (NRC) has published several studies that examine the research and development tools that can help mitigate the risks and respond more effectively when a natural disaster does occur. In February, the NRC published a new report entitled "Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management." The report emphasizes the need for accurate geospatial data and tools in emergency situations. The report assesses the status of the use of geospatial data, tools, and infrastructure in disaster management, and recommends ways to increase and improve their use.

14. Dignitaries Urge Congress to Fund National Parks Centennial

More than 100 dignitaries signed their names to an open letter to Congress urging them to support a sustained funding effort to benefit the National Park Service in advance of its centennial in 2016. Among the august signatories were former President Jimmy Carter, former First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson, former Vice President Walter Mondale, Walter Cronkite, Warner Bros. President and CEO Alan Horn, former Sen. Bennett Johnston (R-La.), author David McCullough, actors Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Robert Redford, media mogul Ted Turner, and former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.

"Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower launched Mission 66, a 10-year, $1 billion dollar program approved by Congress that upgraded park facilities, staffing and resource management capabilities throughout the park system to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary in 1966," the letter states. "We are now calling on Congress to make a proportional investment as we approach the 100th anniversary of the National Park System."

15. AIPG/AGI Summer Geoscience Policy Internships: Apply by March 15

AGI is seeking outstanding geoscience students and recent graduates with a strong interest in federal science policy for a twelve-week geoscience and public policy internship in summer 2007. Interns will gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and the operation of executive branch agencies. They will also hone their writing and web-publishing skills. Stipends for the summer interns are made possible through the generous support of the AIPG Foundation. Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2007. For more information, please visit http://www.agiweb.org/gap/interns/internsu.html

Key Federal Register Notices

NSF: The Division of Ocean Sciences in the Directorate for Geosciences has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment for a low-energy marine seismic survey by the Research Vessel Roger Revelle in the northeastern Indian Ocean in international waters during May-August 2007. The draft Environmental Assessment is available for public review for a 30-day period. Comments must be submitted on or before March 9, 2007. For more information, contact Dr. William Lang at (703) 292-7857 or visit http://www.nsf.gov/geo/oce/pubs/Scripps_NE_Indian_Ocean_EA.pdf
[Federal Register: February 7, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 25)]

NRC: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold open meetings regarding the Sunshine Act during the weeks of February 12, 19, 26; March 5, 12, 19, 2007 in the Commissioners' Conference Room, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. For complete information, go to http://www.nrc.gov/what-we-do/policy-making/schedule.html.
[Federal Register: February 14, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 30)]

NASA: The NASA International Space Station Advisory Committee will hold an open meeting on Thursday, March 22, 2007, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at NASA Headquarters, 300 E. Street, SW., Room 7U39, Washington, DC 20546. For further information, contact Mr. Larry Kenyon, Office of External Relations, (202) 358-0644.
[Federal Register: February 15, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 31)]

NOAA: NOAA announces a FY 2007 Broad Agency Announcement Request for Extramural Research, Innovative Projects, and Sponsorships. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis up to 5 p.m. ET September 28, 2007. Applications shall be evaluated for funding generally within 3 to 6 months of receipt. For further information, see http://www.grants.gov.
[Federal Register: February 20, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 33)]

CEQ: The Council on Environmental Quality requests comments on their new publication, "A Citizen's Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)." This is a guide to help citizens and organizations who are concerned about the environmental effects of federal decision-making to effectively participate in federal agencies' environmental review process under NEPA. To view the guide, go to http://www.NEPA.gov. Written comments should be submitted on or before March 30,
2007. For further information, contact Horst Greczmiel at 202-395-5750.
[Federal Register: February 21, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 34)]

NIST: The American Petroleum Institute announces its intent to develop or revise standards and requests public comment and participation in standards development. For more information, visit http://www.api.org.
[Federal Register: February 21, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 34)]

NSF: The National Science Board Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics will hold an open meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2007, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. EST to discuss a draft report. Room 1235 at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia will be available to the public to listen to this teleconference meeting. For more information, contact Dr. Elizabeth Strickland at 703-292-4527 or by email: estrickl@nsf.gov.
[Federal Register: February 22, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 35)]

BLM- The Bureau of Land Management is soliciting comments on proposed rulemaking related to regulations on surface management under the Mining Law in 43 CFR subpart 3809. These regulations were challenged because they did not require fair market value payment for the use of Federal lands for mining operations when the lands are "invalidly claimed" or unclaimed under the Mining Law. The court has ordered these regulations to be re-evaluated. For more information, contact Scott Haight at (406) 538-1930, for information relating to the surface management program or the nature of the notice, or Ted Hudson at (202) 452-5042 for information relating to the rulemaking process generally. Comments must be submitted by April 24, 2007.
[Federal Register: February 23, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 36)]

DoE- The Department of Energy (DOE) has decided to cancel the preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the assessment of potential environmental impacts from DOE's Carbon Sequestration Program, as described in a Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register on April 21, 2004 (69 FR 21514). For further information, contact Heino Beckert, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507-0880, by telephone (304) 285-4132, or electronic mail at heino.beckert@netl.doe.gov.
[Federal Register: February 26, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 37)]

USGS- The USGS-CCSP Committee for Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.4: Abrupt Climate Change will meet at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Reston, Virginia on March 26-28, 2007. The goal of the workshop is to produce a detailed outline of topics for consideration in the Synthesis and Assessment Product and establish writing assignments. The agenda will focus on the state of the science regarding the topic of ``abrupt climate change.'' For further information and to pre-register, contact John McGeehin (DFO), U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M.S. 926A, Reston, VA 20192, (703) 648-5349, mcgeehin@usgs.gov.
[Federal Register: February 26, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 37)]

New Updates to the Website

The following updates and reports were added to the Government Affairs portion of AGI's web site www.agiweb.org/gap since the last monthly update:
Mining Policy (3-2-07)
Climate Change Policy (3-2-07)
Global Earth Observations (2-26-07)
Fiscal Year 2008 Appropriations Hearings (2-26-07)
Energy Policy (2-16-07)
Hearings on Earth Observations (2-16-07)
Hearings on Climate Change (2-15-07)
Hearings on Energy Policy (2-15-07)

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Monthly Review prepared by Linda Rowan, Director of Government Affairs and Erin Gleeson 2007 AGI/AAPG Spring Intern.

Sources: New York Times, AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, Associated Press, Washington Post, Greenwire, E&E Daily, Library of Congress, Congressional Quarterly, Department of the Interior, House Committee on Appropriations, White House Office of Public Affairs, Platts Inside Energy, U.S. Geological Survey, National Research Council and Government Accountability Office.

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This monthly review goes out to members of the AGI Government Affairs Program (GAP) Advisory Committee, the leadership of AGI's member societies, and other interested geoscientists as part of a continuing effort to improve communications between GAP and the geoscience community that it serves. Prior updates can be found on the AGI web site under "Public Policy" <http://www.agiweb.org>. For additional information on specific policy issues, please visit the web site or contact us at <govt@agiweb.org> or (703) 379-2480, ext. 228.

Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted March 5, 2007.