Monthly Review: April 2005
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.
House Subcommittee Restores Funding for USGS and EPA
House Passes National Energy Legislation, Senate Gets
Rep. Wolf Supports Tripling of Innovation Budget
New Bill Designed to Attract College Science and Engineering
House Subcommittee Moves to Authorize an Ocean Observing
Congress Tackles Water Supply Issues
Data Integrity Controversy Fuels Yucca Mountain Debate
Farmers to Measure Carbon Dioxide Emissions
- New Administrator, Michael Griffin
- Looking Up and Down for Dollars
- Mars Rovers Keep Going and Going
Can Kansas Be Saved in Six Days?
Academic Bill of Rights
New Guidelines and New Lawsuits for No Child Left Behind
House Science Committee Honors Science Teacher Awardees
May Day: NIH Public Access Policy Begins
Open Access "Growing" Pains in Europe
Congress Acknowledges African-American Women in Science
Input from Geoscientists Requested by Mid-May
- NSF Geosciences Advisory Committee
- NRC Decadal Study: Earth Science and Applications from Space
- USGS Geospatial Programs
Key Federal Register Notices
Restores Funding for USGS and EPA
The House Appropriations Committee officially began the fiscal year
(FY) 2006 appropriations process on May 4 with an Interior subcommittee
markup of a draft bill to fund the Department of Interior, the USDA
Forest Service and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The bill,
which is headed for a full Committee mark-up on May 10th, would restore
the $29 million cut that the Administration had requested for the
U.S. Geological Survey's Mineral Resources Program and $6.5 million
for the Water Resources Research Institutes. Overall, the bill would
allocate $974.6 million for the USGS in FY 2006, an increase of $38
million or 4.1 percent above the FY 2005 enacted level and $41 million
above the President's budget request.
Subcommittee members voted to cut EPA to $7.71 billion, which is
$318 million below FY05 but roughly $140 million above the President's
request. Most of the EPA's overall reduction is confined to the Clean
Water State Revolving Fund, for which the subcommittee restored $120
million of the President's proposed $361 million reduction. Meanwhile,
other major EPA accounts would see an increase over the current year.
Appropriators allowed for a $95 million increase to Environmental
Programs and Management and a $21 million boost for Science and Technology
while they restored $9 million to the Office of Environmental Education.
There is no indication yet how subsequent mark-ups might modify the
changes proposed initially by the Subcommittee. After being considered
by the full committee, the $26.2 billion interior/environment spending
bill will head to the House for a vote the following week. Appropriations
Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) has announced a $26.1 billion
spending cap for the bill and an ambitious schedule to move all 10
appropriations bills through the House by July 4th. The Senate is
expected to begin their appropriations mark-up process the week of
May 9th, according to E&E Daily.
House Passes National
Energy Legislation, Senate Gets Ready
On April 21, 2005 the U.S. House of Representatives passed comprehensive
energy legislation by a vote of 249-183. The
Energy Policy Act of 2005, or H.R. 6, strays little from the conference
report passed by the House in the 108th congress, including several
controversial provisions that contributed to the bill's defeat in
the Senate last year. Among these, liability protections for producers
of the fuel oxygenate methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) survived
a narrow vote of 219 to 213 on the House floor. Majority votes also
defeated an amendment to strike a heavily debated provision that gives
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) primary regulatory
authority over new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
To increase domestic energy supply, the bill includes several incentives
for oil and gas companies to explore shallow and deep-water outer-continental
shelf resources in the Gulf of Mexico, onshore natural gas reserves,
marginal wells and gas hydrate production. The bill also establishes
a permanent Royalty-in-Kind program at the Department of the Interior,
and reimburses companies for compliance with National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. The bill would also create new federal
funds to develop a nuclear hydrogen plant and hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Also included in the bill is an $8 billion tax package intended to
improve electricity, nuclear, and oil and gas infrastructure. Miscellaneous
incentives (totaling $1.85 billion) include a 15-20% tax credits for
residential solar power and efficiency improvements, business investments
in fuel cells, and credits for lean-burn motor vehicle technology.
Although the Bush Administration had suggested a limit of $6.7 billion
in energy tax incentives, the FY 2006 budget resolution sets aside
$11 billion for the energy bill, a generous invitation for the Senate,
which is expected to vote on its version of the energy bill by mid-summer.
During several highly-charged partisan debates that took place in
Committee mark-ups earlier in the month, Democrats unsuccessfully
challenged what they said was an overemphasis on supply-end solutions
and energy industry incentives. House Resources Ranking Member Nick
Rahall (D-WV) argued that the royalty and tax breaks would shift the
financial burden to consumers and taxpayers while doing little to
encourage energy conservation or the use of renewable sources of energy.
Along these lines, Democrats failed to pass amendments on key sticking
points such as raising corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards
for automobiles and raising the national renewable portfolio standard.
The majority also voted down a "sense of Congress" resolution
acknowledging the effects of climate change. Finally, Democrats failed
to strip controversial changes to the National Environment Policy
Act (NEPA) that would restrict federal agencies from considering alternative
plans as they assess the impacts of renewable energy projects.
Rep. Wolf Supports
Tripling of Innovation Budget
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Chairman of the House Science-State-Justice-Commerce
Appropriations Subcommittee, sent a letter to President Bush on May
3, 2005 asking for a "tripling of the innovation budget - federal
basic research and development - over the next decade." Rep.
Wolf has indicated that he will do anything he can to gain additional
support for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Rep. Wolf and Rep.
Boehlert, Chair of the House Science Committee urged scientists to
contact their congressional representatives and ask them to support
increased funding for research and development. Rep. Wolf is also
trying to organize a meeting in late May or early June to bring together
scientists, engineers, manufacturers and business leaders to ask President
Bush to support an increased investment in science to ensure innovative
competitiveness in the near future.
New Bill Designed
to Attract College Science and Engineering Majors
At a press conference on April 12, 2005, Representatives Frank Wolf
(R-VA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) announced
the introduction of H.R. 1457, the Math and Science Incentive Act
of 2005. In an attempt to restore the United States' global dominance
in science and innovation, the bill directs the Secretary of Education
to pay the interest on undergraduate loans for science, math and engineering
majors up to a maximum of $10,000. In order to be eligible, students
must agree to teach or work as a professional in their areas of study
for at least five years following graduation. Wolf based the bill
on an idea floated in Newt Gingrich's book, Winning the Future.
"In an era in which students are graduating college with record
levels of debt, I am hopeful that this incentive will be a significant
motivator in attracting or retaining math, science and engineering
students," Wolf said.
Senator John Warner (R-VA), who on the same day introduced an identical
bill (S. 765) with Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), stated, "Without
a doubt, our ability to remain ahead of the curve in scientific and
technological advancements is a key component to ensuring America's
national, homeland and economic security in the post 9/11 world of
global terrorism." In his statement before the Senate, Warner
likened today's shortage of "homegrown, highly trained scientific
minds" to the kind of national, scientific complacency that existed
before the launch of Sputnik in 1957.
View the full text of the House bill here,
or visit www.house.gov/wolf
for more information.
Moves to Authorize an Ocean Observing System
Members from the House Resources Fisheries and Oceans Subcommittee
invited ocean research experts and federal agency officials to discuss
H.R. 1489, The Coastal Ocean Observation System Integration and Implementation
Act of 2005. The bill, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Wayne Gilchrest
(R-MD), is the latest legislation to respond to last year's Oceans
Commission Report, and it would authorize $138 million to the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over four years to establish
a Coastal Ocean Observation System.
Panelists from the Administration commended the bill for naming NOAA
the lead agency for the observation system, and discussed how well
other agencies, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Minerals Management
Service, and the U.S. Navy are equipped to play a leading role. Ocean
research experts who testified were more critical of the new bill,
pressing hard for increased funding and better recognition of regional
oceanographic associations who are better connected to a larger constituency
of end-users than the federal government. Gilchrest expressed openness
to all aired concerns and recommendations.
A full hearing summary can be viewed here.
Water Supply Issues
Natural Resources Committees in the House and the Senate took up
the daunting question of how to solve water supply shortages, particularly
in western states. First, on April 5, 2005, the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Committee invited 22 groups to offer their "bold
and innovative solutions" for water resource issues and for improving
the federal water bureaucracy.
Through four panels of expert testimony, Committee members probed
the witnesses on the costs of desalination and purification technologies
and the role the federal government should play in advancing these
projects. Several panelists urged increased funding for federal agencies
that conduct water research and emphasized that monitoring programs
must be central to our water policy. "We don't need another national
policy commission, but there is a role for the federal government,
and that is to provide research and data," said Melinda Kassen
with Trout Unlimited.
On April 13, 2005, the House Resources Committee hearing focused
on the best approaches to improve water storage capacity in Arizona,
California, and Wyoming. Water Resource managers who testified offered
varied suggestions, from urging the federal government to support
large dam projects to encouraging congress to consider policies that
are based on more short-term, innovative solutions.
Full hearing summaries can be viewed here.
Data Integrity Controversy
Fuels Yucca Mountain Debate
Members of Nevada's Congressional delegation tried to increase their
bargaining power this month in opposition to the scientific and ethical
foundation of plans to build a massive nuclear waste repository under
Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Representative John
Porter (R-NV), who chairs a House Government Reform Subcommittee,
convened a hearing to question Energy Department and U.S. Geological
Survey officials regarding recent allegations that federal employees
falsified data for the project.
On March 16, 2005, the Energy Department admitted the existence of
several emails, dated between 1998 and 2000, that suggest U.S. Geological
Survey employees working on water infiltration and climate modeling
between 1998 and 2000 may have manipulated their records to meet strict
quality assurance requirements. In the emails, employees essentially
express being trapped between their scientific data and quality assurance
procedures established by the license application. According to an
internal DOE memo, "these e-mails may create a substantial vulnerability
for the program."
Indeed, Nevada's congressional delegation sent a letter to DOE demanding
a halt to the project. But DOE officials are waiting to consider the
outcome of two Inspector General Investigations now underway at DOE
and USGS. "It was and is our belief that the decision by Congress
and the president was and is based on sound science," said Energy
Secretary Samuel Bodman at an April 6 press conference.
The emails as well as all relevant documents are archived on Porter's
For a full summary of the hearing, click
Farmers to Measure
Carbon Dioxide Emissions
The USDA and Forest Service are providing new accounting rules and
guidelines for farmers and forest managers who want to control and
report greenhouse gas emissions. The new guidelines were included
in the Department of Energy's revised voluntary greenhouse gas reporting
program and summarized in the federal register on March 24, 2005 (http://www.agiweb.org/gap/email/review0305.html#fedreg).
Praising the new revisions, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said,
"with the help of a wide range of stakeholders, we have improved
upon our earlier effort to provide a clear and transparent accounting
system that will encourage increased participation in voluntary efforts
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way."
In the agricultural sector, the guidelines show landowners how to
quantify and maintain records of actions such as using no-till agriculture,
installing a waste digester, improving nutrient management, and managing
forestland. A new online tool will also provide a simple method for
estimating soil carbon sequestration.
Go to the DOE
website for further information.
New Administrator, Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin, a physicist-engineer with six advanced degrees was
confirmed by the Senate as the 11th NASA Administrator on April 13,
2005 after being nominated by President Bush on March 11. Griffin
relinquished his chairmanship of the Space Department at Johns Hopkins
University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to head the space agency.
Before working at APL, he was a chief engineer and associate administrator
for exploration at NASA, an engineer and administrator in the Department
of Defense, a contractor at Orbital Sciences Corporation and the chief
operating officer of a nonprofit national security research firm run
by the CIA. He has a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University
of Maryland and Master's degrees in aerospace science, electrical
engineering, applied physics, civil engineering, and business administration.
Griffin firmly supports human space exploration and favors President
Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration", which focuses on
manned missions to the Moon and Mars. He hopes to speed up the development
of the next generation space shuttle to avoid a 5 year gap during
which the United States would have no human space shuttling capabilities.
A new orbiter is scheduled for completion by 2014 and the current
shuttle fleet will be retired by 2010. During his senate confirmation
hearing, Griffin stated "I do not believe that we wish to see
a situation where the United States is dependent on any partner. It
seems unacceptable to me that it should take from 2005 to 2014"
to develop a new shuttle. At the hearing, Griffin also indicated that
he would reconsider a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Looking Up and Down for Dollars
With a new NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, a $5.5 billion budget
for science, reconsideration of a Hubble repair mission and an anticipated
shuttle launch, you would think things would be looking up at NASA.
Unfortunately some undercurrents about cost overruns and deep cuts
are causing many to look down at the bottom line budget realities
and the lower priority projects being reviewed for elimination. NASA
needs to cut $400 million from the current 2005 science budget to
cover earmarks (totaling about $160 million) and shuttle cost overruns.
The total cost to get a shuttle ready and launched in 2005 continues
to rise (~$700 million), as NASA works to ensure that all 15 of the
recommendations by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board are implemented.
The launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery has been postponed 3 times
and on April 29, Griffin announced that the launch scheduled for May
22 would be postponed until July. Engineers are worried that chunks
of ice could form on the external fuel tank, break off during launch
and damage the shuttle. Columbia was damaged by a fragment of foam
insulation that broke off of the external tank during launch. Discovery
will be moved from the launch pad to the Vehicle Assembly Building,
so that engineers can add heaters to prevent ice build-up.
The Earth-Sun Exploration Division has been targeted for the deepest
cuts. President Bush's proposed fiscal year 2006 budget would cut
the funding for the division from $75 million to $53 million. Seven
of 13 missions might be terminated, including Voyager 1 and 2, spacecrafts
that completed a grand tour of the solar system and are now exploring
the fringes of the solar system; the Ulysses spacecraft which is studying
the sun; Geotail, Wind and Polar, which trace solar events and their
interaction with Earth; FAST which studies Earth's aurora and TRACE
which studies the solar atmosphere and magnetosphere. In addition
to terminating long-running missions, most of the future missions
will be abandoned or indefinitely deferred, such as the Glory mission
to study aerosols and related climate change issues. An interim report
on April 27 from the NRC decadal survey entitled "Earth Observations
from Space" warned that the entire Earth observation program
is at risk and more funding is needed now to support many of the missions
proposed for termination or delay. An outside review of the 13 currently
operating solar physics missions, including the Voyagers will be completed
in the fall, perhaps delaying some hard budget choices for awhile.
Mars Rovers Keep Going and Going
On April 5, 2005, NASA extended the Mars Exploration Rovers mission
for another 18 months. The twin rovers, Spirit, which landed in Gusev
Crater on January 4, 2004 and Opportunity, which landed on Meridiani
Planum on January 25, 2004, completed their original 3 month primary
missions and the twins have already been extended for an additional
11 months. Opportunity, which is currently "speeding" over
relatively flat terrain toward some wind eroded, regolith called Etched
Terrain, overtook Spirit for the longest distance traveled by a robotic
vehicle on Mars by covering more than 5 kilometers (3 miles). Opportunity
also set the speed record by traveling 722 feet in one day. Spirit
is busy climbing a rocky slope to get to the top of Husband Hill and
has regained much of its power after a wind storm cleaned the martian
dust off of its solar panels on March 9, 2005.
Can Kansas Be Saved
in Six Days?
The Kansas State Board of Education will hold 6 days of "science
hearings" from May 5-7 and May 12-14. The hearings were set-up
to address a minority report of the state standards writing committee
that requested changes to the definition of science and other aspects
of the curricula standards (see the Political Scene Column "Creationism:
Back in Kansas Again" in the April issue of Geotimes: http://www.geotimes.org/apr05/scene.html
for more details). The American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS), other societies and many in the scientific community
are boycotting the hearings because they believe the trial-style hearings
will be biased, will confuse the public and will not change the Board's
final vote. The Kansas State Board of Education, which now has a majority
of members who are proponents of "teaching the controversy"
are likely to approve the changes requested by the minority report
of the standards writing committee.
Proponents of the teaching of intelligent design (ID) in K-12 classrooms
have repeatedly entangled evolution and indirectly all of science
with the decline of moral values, and with two specifically controversial
and divisive issues, gay marriages and abortion. Reverend Jerry Johnson
from the First Family Church in Overland Park Kansas, states in a
Science news story that "Getting intelligent design into school
curricula is the worthiest cause of our time and the key to reversing
the country's moral decline. The evangelical and intelligent design
community must work together to make that happen."
Opponents of the teaching of ID, gathered scientists, parishioners
and business leaders at Plymouth Congregational Church on April 21
to emphasize that evolution is a scientific theory that is not in
conflict with religious doctrine and to warn that introducing ID would
undermine the state's ability to produce highly-trained workers with
analytical skills. Without skilled workers, Kansas could lose some
high-technology industries and the jobs that they create.
The Kansas Coalition for Science which consists of the Kansas Academy
of Sciences (KAS), the Kansas Citizens for Science (KCFS), Kansas
Families United for Public Education (KFUPE), The MAINstream Coalition,
the Kansas Association of Biology Teachers (KABT) and the Kansas Association
of Teachers of Science (KATS) will hold their own briefing on May
4. More information is available at
More information about the teaching of ID in Kansas and other states
is also available at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/evolution/index.html
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) will hold
a meeting on May 11, 2005 in Washington DC to discuss political intrusions
into the responsibilities of academic disciplines. Legislation, often
given the title of an "Academic Bill of Rights" that would
require institutions to adopt grievance procedures to enforce a specific
list of rights for students and faculty. Some of the "rights"
are objectionable and might create significant problems for academic
freedoms, according to AAUP. Some of the objectionable language includes
"respect all human knowledge" and "provide students
with dissenting sources and viewpoints". Academic Bill of Rights
legislation has been introduced in 14 state legislatures and in the
House majority vehicle for the reauthorization of the Higher Education
Act (HR 609). The meeting is open to the public and you can RSVP to
Robert Burns, email@example.com.
If you cannot attend the meeting you can send comments or request
more information from Robert. More information about this issue is
available at http://www.aaup.org/Issues/ABOR/aborintro2.htm
New Guidelines and
New Lawsuits for No Child Left Behind
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced on April 7, 2005
that new guidelines will allow states with strong accountability systems
more flexibility in complying with the No Child Left Behind law. According
to Spellings, the new guidelines would make the law more "workable"
and "sensible" on a school-by-school basis, as long as important
educational reforms have been implemented. For schools that have raised
overall achievement and accountability, closed achievement gaps, made
information more accessible to parents, and improved the quality of
the faculty, federal officials will now weigh various state and local
conditions when approving flexibility measures, such as modified assessments
for students with learning disabilities and limited English proficiency.
Spellings explained that implementing national education standards
must be an "organic process" and "a shared responsibility"
between the federal government and states.
Still, frustration among state education officials over whether the
federal government has contributed enough funding to help meet No
Child Left Behind standards has mounted over recent months. On April
20th, The National Education Association and nine school districts
in Michigan, Texas, and Vermont sued the Education Department on the
grounds that the 2001 law insufficiently funds its policy changes.
According to CQ Weekly (April 25, 2005), states that are required
to balance their budgets have been struggling to meet the law due
to recession, higher Medicaid costs, and increased homeland security
spending. The Utah legislature also recently passed a bill that ignores
the provisions of No Child Left Behind where it conflicts with Utah's
own school accountability system.
Meanwhile, other school districts around the country are taking a
"wait and see" approach to gauge how significantly Spelling's
new guidelines will impact their schools. One report from a rural
New Mexico newspaper is hopeful the new guidelines will make allow
local schools to better assess Spanish-speaking students and to adopt
more flexible teacher certification requirements, as science and math
teacher certification is scarce in small towns.
Visit the Education
Department website to read the official announcement, or go straight
to articles in the Washington
Post and Alamogordo,
New Mexico Daily News.
House Science Committee
Honors Science Teacher Awardees
Five recipients of this year's Presidential Teacher Award offered
lawmakers their suggestions on how to improve science and math education
at a House Science Committee hearing on April 14, 2005. The annual
award program, administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF),
recognizes exceptional teaching in science and math with a $10,000
grant for each recipient.
Before the hearing at an awards ceremony, Science Committee Chairman
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), told the awardees, "quite frankly,
Members of Congress don't spend enough time with teachers. We talk
about teachers and teaching a lot
but we don't spend enough
time truly listening to you, the people on the front lines of our
educational system." Boehlert went on to discuss how the government
is working to improve science education as well as how it may be falling
short. In particular, Boehlert discussed the progress and fate of
the National Science Foundation's K-12 education programs, which were
reduced in the President's proposed fiscal year 2006 budget.
The teachers told the committee that highly qualified teachers were
the most important element of an effective educational system, and
they urged Congress to encourage better pre- and in-service training
for K-12 teachers. One of the awardees, Cassandra Barnes, who teaches
third grade, told the Committee, "I believe that the National
Science Foundation-funded, standards-based curricula are improving
math education for students across the country; however, I know that
the difference for kids lies in the hearts and minds of the teachers
who implement the curricula and standards. If the federal government
wants to take steps to improve math and science education for our
children, they need to focus energy and resources on providing high
quality professional development for our teachers."
Visit the Science
Committee website for press releases, the awardees' written testimony,
or to view an archived webcast of the hearing.
May Day: NIH Public
Access Policy Begins
The NIH-funded Public Access Policy begins on May 2, 2005. The latest
version of the policy is listed below and contains two slight, but
important modifications compared to their initial announcement. NIH
will not post a paper until after it has been published and the publisher
may take a more active role in deciding what version of the paper
may appear on the NIH website. NIH estimates $2-$4 million per year
in incremental costs to create and then maintain a website for submitting
authors' final manuscripts and for Extensible Markup Language (XML)
tagging of the manuscripts into PubMed Central's archival format.
As of May 2, 2005, NIH-funded investigators are asked to submit voluntarily
to PubMed Central (www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov) an electronic version
of the author's final manuscript when the article is accepted for
publication. This version is defined as "the final version accepted
for the journal publication, and includ[ing] all modifications from
the publishing peer review process." Included are publications
resulting from current projects that are funded in whole or in part
by the NIH, as well as reports on previous NIH-supported research
that are accepted for publication on or after May 2.
The policy applies to all research grants, career-development awards,
cooperative agreements, contracts, and national research service awards,
as well as NIH intramural research studies. It does not apply to book
chapters, editorials, review articles, or conference proceedings.
Manuscripts are to be submitted in the usual word-processing or PDF
formats through a secure Web-based system. There are procedures to
ensure that submissions are consistent with copyright assignments
and agreements and that the journals have been notified of the submission.
At the time of submission, the responsible author will specify when
the manuscript is to become publicly accessible through PubMed Central;
no article will become accessible until after it is published.
The National Library of Medicine will use a standard digital archival
format to store manuscripts. After manuscripts have been converted
to this format, the responsible author will be sent an electronic
copy. No manuscript will be released until the author has verified
If the publisher provides its final version of the article, this version
will supersede the author's final version. When publishers transmit
manuscripts, the National Library of Medicine will ask the responsible
author to sign off on the transfer and verify key information, such
as the accuracy of the paper and the release date. The author's final
manuscript will still be available at PubMed Central, through a link
from the publisher's final version. If the publisher agrees, public
access to the publisher's final version can occur before the time
originally specified by the author.
As the NIH gains experience with the new process, the policy will
be refined. An advisory committee, the NIH Public Access Working Group
of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine, is being
Open Access "Growing"
Pains in Europe
While NIH begins their Public Access Policy on May 2, the United
Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands are developing their
own open access plans. In the U.K., London's Wellcome Trust, the largest
supporter of biomedical research in the U.K., will require Trust-funded
authors to deposit a copy of their accepted manuscript within 6 months
of publication. The Trust is currently seeking a host to sponsor the
archive and get it designed and established by the beginning of 2006.
In France, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) plans
to expand its physics and math papers archive to other fields of research
and perhaps even compel researchers to submit by allowing only archived
papers to count in their job evaluations. In Germany, the national
science funding agency, DFG, has offered to cover researchers' expenses
if they submit to an open-access journal with a publication fee. The
Max Planck Society launched a pilot archive called eDoc for Max Planck
researchers to voluntarily deposit their papers. Participation among
the diverse group of Society authors, including historians, lawyers,
biologists and physicists has been highly variable and Society officials
attribute this to researcher inertia. In the Netherlands, the Netherlands
Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands
Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Library and 13 universities
will develop a network of databases called Digital Academic Repositories
(DARE). Submission is voluntary, but the group plans to highlight
recent work to active as an incentive for participation.
African-American Women in Science
Introduced by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) on March 15, 2005,
a joint resolution is making its way through Congress that "acknowledges
and recognizes the significant achievements and contributions of African
American women scientists, mathematicians, and inventors." According
to the resolution, whereas women comprise roughly 25% of the science
and engineering professionals who hold a doctoral degree in the United
States, African American women comprise less than 1% of that workforce.
The resolution intends to encourage future involvement of African
American women in the sciences and to establish "a special day
on which these great minds may be honored and esteemed." Full
Input from Geoscientists
Requested by Mid-May
NSF Geosciences Advisory Committee
The Geosciences Advisory Committee of NSF is seeking input about
current and future geoscience funding plans in advance of their May
11-12, 2005. To offer input or follow the committee's progress visit
The next meeting of the committee will be October 5-7, 2005.
NRC Decadal Study: Earth Science and Applications from Space
The U.S. Space Studies Board has begun a 2-year study to generate
prioritized recommendations from the Earth and environmental sciences
for space-based observations and ancillary analyses conducted by NASA
and NOAA. Concepts for programs linked to societal needs and benefits
are encouraged. The study is divided into the following themes: Earth
science applications and societal needs; land-use change, ecosystem
dynamics and biodiversity; weather (including space weather); climate
variability and change; water resources and the global hydrologic
cycle; human health and security; and solid-Earth hazards, resources
and dynamics. Ideas should be submitted by May 16, 2005. More information
is available at http://qp.nas.edu/decadalsurvey.
USGS Geospatial Programs
The USGS has created a National Geospatial Programs Office which
brings together The National Map, Geospatial One-Stop, and the Federal
Geographic Data Committee. The USGS is seeking comments and feedback
on the strategic priorities and associated actions in the NGPO Plan
for Action from May 2-16, 2005. The Plan for Action will be finalized
based on input received and will be distributed at the end of May
2005. An implementation strategy will be developed by June 30, 2005,
and additional comments on that approach will be sought then. Please
visit www.usgs.gov/ngpo for
more information about the programs and the call for comments.
Emily Lehr Wallace has departed from the Government Affairs Program
for a challenging new position in a consulting firm. Emily did an
extraordinary job with GAP and we will miss her. The Government Affairs
Program is actively seeking a new Policy Associate with experience
on the Hill and an interest in the geosciences. The following ad will
appear in Geotimes, Roll Call and other places. Please feel free to
distribute this ad to potential candidates in the geoscience community.
Policy Associate - A non-profit federation of 42 geoscience societies,
seeks a government affairs staff member. Major duties and responsibilities
include: monitoring and analyzing appropriations bills, legislation
and policy developments on geoscience-related issues, updating information
on the website, handling logistics for fly-ins as well as internship
and fellowship programs, and fostering information flow between the
geoscience community and policy makers. The preferred candidate will
have a successful background on Capitol Hill; outstanding writing,
verbal, and organizational skills; experience in public policy; a
science education and familiarity with web publishing. Candidates
should submit a resume, names of three references and salary requirements,
with a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
or Government Affairs Search, American Geological Institute, 4220
King St, Alexandria VA 22302. More information about the program at
to remain open until filled. EOE
Key Federal Register
Below is a summary of Federal Register announcements regarding federal
regulations, agency meetings, and other notices of interest to the
geoscience community. Entries are listed in chronological order and
show the federal agency involved, the title, and the citation. The
Federal Register is available online at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont05.html.
Information on submitting comments and reading announcements are also
available online at http://www.regulation.gov.
EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency is requesting comment on
issues raised in a petition for reconsideration of EPA's rule to implement
the 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard. In particular,
the EPA requests comment on whether it should interpret the Act to
require areas to retain major NSR requirements that apply to certain
1-hour ozone nonattainment areas in implementing the 8-hour standard.
See the full notice for details. [Federal Register: April 4, 2005
(Volume 70, Number 63)]
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will hold
a meeting of the NASA Earth Science and Applications from Space Strategic
Roadmap Committee on May 11-12 from 8:30-5:00, in The Latham Hotel
in Washington, DC. The meeting will be open to the public up to the
seating capacity of the meeting room. For the agenda or other further
information view the full federal register notice or contact Mr. Gordon
Johnston, at 202-358-4685. [Federal Register: April 18, 2005 (Volume
70, Number 73)]
NSF: The National Science Foundation will hold an Advisory Committee
Meeting for its Geoscience Program on May 11th and 12th, from 8:30
to 5:30 at NSF headquarters. The purpose of meeting is to provide
advice, recommendations, and oversight concerning support for research,
education, and human resources development in the geosciences. The
meeting is open to the public. Contact Dr. Thomas Spence, Directorate
for Geosciences, at 703-292-8500. [Federal Register: April 19, 2005
(Volume 70, Number 74)]
NSF: The National Science Foundation will hold an Advisory Committee
for Polar Programs on May 9-10, 8:00 to 5:00, at NSF headquarters.
The purpose of the meeting is to advise NSF on the impact of its policies,
programs, and activities of the polar research community; to provide
advice to the Director of OPP on issues related to long range planning,
and to form ad hoc subcommittees to carry out needed studies and tasks.
The meeting will be open to the public. Contact Altie Metcalf, Office
of Polar Programs at (703) 292-8030. [Federal Register: April 19,
2005 (Volume 70, Number 74)]
The following updates and reports were added to the Government Affairs
portion of AGI's web site http://www.agiweb.org/gap
since the last monthly update:
Monthly review prepared by Linda Rowan, AGI Director of Government
Affairs and Katie Ackerly Government Affairs Staff.
Sources: Hearing testimony, House Government Reform Committee
documentation, House Science Committee documentation, Department of
Energy documentation, Environment and Energy Daily, Greenwire, National
Journal, Triangle Coalition Electronic Bulletin, Washington Post,
New York Times, Alamogordo Daily News, Science Magazine, NIH PubMed
Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted May 6, 2005.