Monthly Review: June 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.
Senate Passes Energy Bill With Climate Change Language
House Completes All Spending Bills, Senate Makes Progress
Societies, Congress Endorse a National Commission on
AGU Questions Space Exploration Vision
The NASA Reauthorization Act Makes Its Way Through Congress
USGS Director Departs, Acting Director Steps In
President's Fish Food for Thought
Teaching Teachers About Groundwater
Freedom to Read
Scientific Misconduct Study
Canada Funds More Mapping
New Evolution Website: Q&A on Intelligent Design
Academies Joint Climate Change Statement
Participate in Climate Change Workshop
NIST World Trade Towers Report
Disaster Reduction Report
Earth System Processes 2: Conference in Alberta
One More Summer Intern Joins AGI
Senate Passes Energy
Bill With Climate Change Language
After an exhausting two-week mark-up, the full Senate overwhelmingly
passed bipartisan energy legislation by a vote of 85-12 on June 28,
2005. The final legislation included several new attempts to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and foreign oil dependency that were not
passed in the House energy bill. However, according to coverage in
the media, White House and Senate officials have acknowledged that
the legislation will not bring consumers any short-term relief from
high gas prices.
Compared to the House energy bill passed in April, the Senate bill
includes a higher, 8 billion gallon mandate on annual ethanol production;
a first-ever national renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that would
mandate 10% renewable energy production by 2020, and an inventory
of offshore continental shelf (OCS) energy resources. The $10.65 billion
tax package attached to the Senate bill also provides greater incentives
for efficient and renewable energy technologies than its counterpart
in the House.
Climate change dominated the debate for much of the mark-up's second
week. Although two amendments to establish mandatory caps on greenhouse
gas emissions failed to attract the necessary support, the Senate
adopted an amendment offered by Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to provide financial
incentives for the development of new emission-reducing technology.
Also approved was a "sense of the Senate" resolution, which
will put on the congressional record for the first time that the Senate
acknowledges greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to global warming.
Earlier this year, the House voted down a similar "sense of Congress"
resolution regarding climate change.
After Congress returns from 4th of July recess, the two houses will
have their work cut out for them as they convene a conference committee
to begin the process of reconciling the two bills. President Bush
has said he wants an energy bill on his desk by August.
For more about the Senate climate debates, visit AGI's Climate
Change Policy site.
For a full AGI summary of the energy bill, visit AGI's Energy
House Completes All
Spending Bills, Senate Makes Progress
The House has completed and passed all 10 of its appropriations bills
as of June 28, 2005, coming in just in time to meet the July 4th deadline
set by Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA). Although
the Senate Appropriations Committee completed and passed all 12 of
its appropriations bills as of June 30th, the full Senate has only
passed the Interior and Environment and the Energy and Water Appropriations
bills. Of the bills relevant to the AGI community, the full Senate
must still consider and pass funding for the Department of Commerce
(NOAA and NIST), NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the
Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Education.
So far, the House and Senate have each added several major changes
to the President's federal science budget, although many of these
changes are different between the two houses. On June 30th, the Senate
passed a spending bill for the Department of Energy and the Army Corps
of Engineers that exceeded the President's request and the House recommendation
by $1.5 billion. Within the Department of Energy (DOE), the Senate
gave substantial increases, over current funding levels to DOE's Office
of Science, Environmental Management Program, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation
For the Department of the Interior and the EPA, the House and Senate
recommended the same overall budget total, but the Senate restored
funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and the Land
and Water Conservation Fund. The House and Senate restored funding
for the USGS Mineral Resources Program and Water Research Institutes.
Overall, the Senate bill funds the USGS at $963 million, $10 million
below the House recommendation and $29 million over the President's
During the House mark-up of the Science, State, Justice and Commerce
spending bill, NOAA suffered a severe $546 million (8.5%) cut from
fiscal year 2005 funding levels, $202 million below the President's
request. This cut includes a 40% reduction in funding for the National
Ocean Service. The House Appropriations Committee left little explanation
for the deep cuts in its report. However, some amendments to shift
funds away from NOAA were the result of funding priorities in the
departments of Justice and State. NASA and the NSF both received small
increases over the President's request.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended a budget for NOAA
that is $1 billion greater than that proposed by the House. Accompanying
this increase, the Senate committee expressed strong criticism of
the Administration's and the House's science priorities in the bill
report, which states: "The Committee fails to understand why
science dedicated to understanding this planet and its oceans and
atmosphere is less important than science dedicated to the understanding
of other planets." Indeed, the committee also denied some of
the Administration's proposed increases for NASA's exploration program,
recommending a $160 cut to Exploration Capabilities, with $100 million
of those funds transferred to Science and Aeronautics programs. As
for the NSF, the Senate committee recommended $112 million less than
the House bill overall.
These and other discrepancies between the House and Senate bills
will likely complicate a reconciliation process that has already been
made difficult by the presence of the State Department budget in the
House version. Thus it could be an unpredictable July for appropriations
followed by a heated September, when meeting the deadline for completing
the budget process could be delayed or overshadowed by President Bush's
first Supreme Court judicial nomination (Some political analysts have
suggested that a nomination for a replacement for retiring Supreme
Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor may not be announced until September).
Full summaries of appropriations for each agency can be accessed
from AGI's Government
Endorse a National Commission on Science Education
The Coalition for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
(STEM) Education has been hard at work in recent months gathering
increased support for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which
the Bush Administration proposed to fund below fiscal year 2004 levels
for the second year in a row. On May 24, 2005, the coalition sent
a letter to National Science Board (NSB) Chairman Warren Washington,
urging the Board "to use its considerable influence and prestige
by writing a letter to Congress and the President in support of the
NSF Education and Human Resources Directorate," which received
some of the deepest cuts in the President's budget proposal. The letter
suggests that the Board establish "a blue-ribbon panel of business,
research and STEM education experts" to inform members of Congress
and other government officials about the nation's needs and priorities
regarding science education. The coalition further advocates that
funding for NSF education programs should be restored without jeopardizing
any of the other NSF research programs. As a member of the STEM Education
Coalition, the American Geological Institute signed the coalition's
letter, a copy of which was also sent to NSF Director Arden Bement.
The coalition's letter helped add momentum to NSB's plans to request
additional support for science education in the fiscal year 2006 appropriations
now moving through Congress. The coalition's and NSB's efforts paid
off in June, when Senate appropriators attached instructions to form
a commission along with their budget recommendations for NSF. The
budget included slight increases for science and engineering education
(relative to both the President's request and the House bill, but
still below FY2004 levels). In the report that accompanies the spending
bill for Science, State, Justice and Commerce, the Senate committee
instructs the NSF "to provide an interim report by September
30, 2005, on the establishment of the commission, and to report the
commission's findings and recommendations to the Committee at the
conclusion of the commission's work."
More information about funding for research and education at NSF
is available from the Government Affairs Program NSF
AGU Questions Space
The American Geophysical Union issued a position
statement entitled ""NASA: Earth and Space Sciences
at Risk." on June 7, 2005. The statement raises concerns about
funding for Earth science missions when NASA is beginning to focus
on human exploration to the Moon and mars based on President Bush's
"Vision for Space Exploration". The statement cautions that
Earth and space science may be declining in priority at NASA and are
being "threatened by new financial demands placed on NASA by
the return to human space flight using the space shuttle, finishing
the space station, and launching the Moon-Mars initiatives."
AGU calls for "the U.S. Administration, Congress, and NASA to
continue their commitment to innovative Earth and space science programs."
In a press conference at AGU Headquarters, the chairman of the statement
panel, Eric Barron, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University,
indicated that fiscal year 2006 budget documents show that NASA proposes
to spend slightly more than $30 billion over fiscal years 2006 to
2010 for the Science Missions directorate, a reduction of more than
$1 billion compared to previous projections for the same time period.
The NASA Reauthorization
Act Makes Its Way Through Congress
In recent weeks, the House and the Senate have begun work on a reauthorization
act for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Passed by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
on June 23, 2005, the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2005 establishes
a congressional mandate for NASA to carry out the President's Vision
for Space Exploration while maintaining an appropriate and sustainable
balance of funding for human space flight, aeronautics, and science
programs for fiscal years 2006 through 2010. One major priority of
both bills is to close the expected four-year gap in human space flight
capability after the space shuttle is retired in 2010. The Senate
version also requires that the U.S. maintain its leadership in the
completion and servicing of the International Space Station (ISS),
and designates the U.S. segment of the ISS a national laboratory.
In order to maintain healthy Earth science and aeronautics programs,
both bills also encourage cooperation with entrepreneurs and other
agencies as they direct NASA to develop a national aeronautics policy
as well as a plan for Earth science mission priorities. The latter
would be based on the findings of the interim report on Earth Observations
and Applications From Space by the National Academy of Sciences' National
Research Council, which concluded that federal Earth science programs
may be threatened by recent changes in executive policy and federal
budget support, particularly at NASA.
Read more about the NASA Reauthorization Act at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/nasa.html.
USGS Director Departs,
Acting Director Steps In
Charles "Chip" Groat resigned as director of the U.S. Geological
Survey, effective as of June 17, 2005. Secretary of the Interior,
Gale Norton, wrote in a press release "I cannot overstate your
positive impact on the USGS and its contributions to science excellence
and leadership under your stewardship," she said. "You have
worked successfully to ensure that the USGS's scientific capabilities
are effectively applied to supporting important decisions regarding
resource and environmental management and policy. You have substantially
increased the USGS's interactions with organizations that use science
in decisionmaking, and especially those within the Department of the
Interior, to ensure the relevance of the USGS's work to their needs."
Chip Groat was the 13th Director of the USGS and started his 7 year
tenure in 1998. Before his appointment as USGS Director, Dr. Groat
served (1998-95) as Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored
Projects at the University of Texas at El Paso, Director of the Center
for Environmental Resource management, Director of the Environmental
Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program and a Professor of Geological
Sciences. He served as Executive Director (1992-95) at the Center
for Coastal, Energy, and Environmental Resources at Louisiana State
University and Executive Director (1990-92) for the American Geological
Institute. He served (1983-88) as Assistant to the Secretary of the
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, where he administered the
Coastal Zone Management Program and the Coastal Protection Program.
He held positions (1978-90) at Louisiana State University and the
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, which included serving
as professor for the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and as
Director and State Geologist for the Louisiana Geological Survey.
Before that he served as Associate Director and Acting Director of
the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin
and he started his career as an associate professor of geology at
the university. Chip will return to the University of Texas at Austin
to become the first director of their new Energy and Environmental
Dr. P. Patrick Leahy was named the acting director of the USGS on
June 13, 2005. Leahy has spent his entire professional career at the
USGS and was the associate director for Geology, responsible for federal
Earth-science programs, including worldwide earthquake hazards monitoring
and research, geologic mapping of land and seafloor resources, volcano
and landslide hazards, and assessments of energy and mineral resources.
He was also responsible for all USGS international activities.
A recipient of the USGS Meritorious Service Award, Leahy has served
in various technical and managerial positions, including chief of
the National Water-Quality Assessment Program. He has authored or
co-authored more than 50 publications. Born in Troy, N.Y., in 1947,
Leahy holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology (1968) and
geophysics (1970) from Boston College. He received his doctorate in
geology (1979) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he specialized
in regional ground-water studies and hydraulics.
Food for Thought
On June 7, 2005, the Bush administration in coordination with the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the
proposed National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2005. The proposed bill
would grant the Secretary of Commerce new authority to issue permits
for offshore aquaculture in federal ocean waters while providing environmental
and other safeguards to protect wild stocks, marine ecosystems, and
other users. The Act, which does not supersede existing authorities,
specifically provides for coordination and consultation with other
federal agencies, Fishery Management Councils, and coastal states.
The proposed bill is based on the September 2004 final report of the
U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, "An Ocean Blueprint for the
Commerical aquaculture is currently limited to near-shore waters
and permitted by coastal states. There are 3 experimental aquaculture
facilities in deeper offshore waters near New Hampshire, Maine and
Hawaii. The proposed act would allow areas in the United States Exclusive
Economic Zone, which extends up to 200 miles offshore, to be leased
for 10 year periods. The plan is to increase domestic fish farms five-fold
by 2025 and decrease the nation's dependence on fish imports (currently
about 70% of the seafood supply is imported and 40% of that is from
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Ted Stevens
(R-AK), is expected to introduce the aquaculture legislation as a
courtesy to the administration. He told Energy and Environment Daily
(E&E Daily) that he may include options for states to opt out
of the program. E&E Daily also noted some opposition to the proposed
bill from Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Lois Capps (D-CA), who
believe that NOAA needs to conduct more research and an environmental
impact study before it pushes development of aquaculture any further.
"As the U.S. Ocean Commission pointed out last year, there is
great potential for ocean aquaculture, but there are countless questions
that need to be answered before we should allow the industry to expand
in earnest," Farr said in a statement. "Water pollution,
possible introduction of invasive species and spread of disease, are
all factors that need to be considered."
Outside experts were cautious in their responses to Marion Burros,
a New York Times reporter in a June 6 news story: "Fisheries
are a collapsing industry, and even though aquaculture comes with
a lot of baggage, it is absolutely the future of seafood production,"
said Daniel Benetti, chairman of marine affairs and policy at the
University of Miami.
"I believe aquaculture is incredibly important," said Jane
Lubchenco, an Oregon State zoology professor "Now is the time
to make sure it grows in a way that is good for human health and the
environment. I would like to see the right kinds of checks and balances
before we launch into this massive offshore experiment and it is too
The American Ground Water Trust's program "Ground Water Institute
for Teachers", educates teachers about ground water and
hydrology in 2-day training sessions. For the past 5 years the program
has taught 790 teachers at 31 ground water Institutes in 17 states.
Now the American Ground Water Trust is teaming up with the U.S. Geological
Survey to develop consistent teaching tools and to set-up an Institute
in every state.
All Institute participants will receive a package of USGS educational
materials and publications that highlight the latest science and research
technologies used to address water-resource issues and management
practices. Local USGS scientists will participate in each program
by leading field trips, presenting their research, assisting in planning,
and providing materials.
The first of the 2005 Institutes was held on June 9-10 at the USGS
Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC) in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Additional Institutes will be scheduled in: Miami and Gainesville,
Florida; Fresno, CA; Branchville, NJ; Denver, CO; Lowell, MA; Allentown,
PA; San Antonio, TX; and Claremont, CA.
For more information about this partnership and the Ground Water
Institutes for Teachers, please visit the USGS
website or the AGWT
A Freedom to Read Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State (CJS)
Appropriations Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives was approved
on June 15, 2005 by a vote of 238-187. The amendment cuts Justice
Department funds for bookstore and library searches allowed under
Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The amendment would prohibit officers
from using federal money to gain access to library circulation records,
library patron lists, book-sales records, or book-customer lists.
The amendment has broad support from librarians and book sellers,
including the American Library Association and American Booksellers
Association. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-VT),
who previously tried to pass a bill with very similar language, H.R.
1157, in 2003. The House appropriations bill must be reconciled with
the Senate appropriations bill, which does not contain the same amendment,
during conference committee meetings. President Bush has vowed to
veto any bill, including an appropriations bill that weakens the USA
Patriot Act. The USA Patriot Act also has several amendments and components
that must be re-authorized by the end of this year.
A study published in Nature on June 8, 2005, presents a survey of
more than 3,000 scientists that reveals a significant number of scientists
are behaving in ways that could compromise the integrity of research.
According to the article, about a third of participants in the survey
admitted that they had taken part in actions such as ignoring others'
use of incorrect data, omitting presentations of data contradicting
one's own work, and actively working around minor requirements of
human-subject research. The data suggests that many scientists perceive
inequities in science in terms of obtaining grants, publishing papers,
and earning promotions, and the researchers found a correlation between
scientists who perceived injustice in the system and those who admitted
Canada Funds More
Canada has renewed its commitment to providing access to high-quality
maps, satellite images and related data and technologies. The Government
has allocated funding of CA$60 million in fiscal year 2005 for a second,
five-year phase of GeoConnections, a national partnership initiative
led by the Natural Resources of Canada (NRCan) to make Canada's geospatial
databases, applications and services readily accessible on-line.
has developed the policies, standards, technologies and partnerships
needed to build the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI).
CGDI is a national database of aerial photos, satellite images, and
maps intended for political and economic decision-making. Now that
the CGDI is developed the program will focus on public health, public
safety, environment and sustainable development and Aboriginal issues.
According to a GeoConnections press release, the Bush administration
has identified a need for accurate joint geospatial data to address
concerns of border security and terrorism. The United States Geological
Survey's (USGS) Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is currently
working with the GeoConnections Framework Data Node to build "separate,
but compatible" National Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) that
contribute to the Global Spatial Data
Infrastructure (GSDI). This program is funded at about $4 million
annually. In the United States, two other federally-led programs,
Geospatial One-Stop and the
USGS National Map, share the
common goal of building the NSDI.
More information is available on the Federal
Geographic Data Committee website.
New Evolution Website:
Q&A on Intelligent Design
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) unveiled
a new website
regarding the teaching of evolution in science classrooms. The site
provides materials, tools and links to help the website visitor to
understand the issues and respond to questions and concerns about
the subject of evolution. AAAS has also developed a question and answer
(Q&A) brief about "Evolution
and Intelligent Design".
Climate Change Statement
On June 7, 2005 academies of science from leading nations issued
a first-ever joint statement
urging their countries' leaders to take prompt action and commit
to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Issued by the science
academies of Britain, France, Russia, Germany, United States, Japan,
Italy, and Canada, the statement was released ahead of the G8 summit
in Gleneagles, Scotland, at which climate change will be a major agenda
item because the current G8 President, British Prime Minister Tony
Blair believes the issue is very important and should be on their
Also signing onto the statement were the academies of Brazil, China,
and India, which are not members of the G8. "It is clear that
world leaders, including the G8, can no longer use uncertainty about
aspects of climate change as an excuse for not taking urgent action
to cut greenhouse gas emissions," said Robert May, president
of the Royal Society. "The scientific evidence forcefully points
to a need for a truly international effort. Make no mistake, we have
to act now. And the longer we procrastinate, the more difficult the
task of tackling climate change becomes."
May said that the current U.S. policy on climate change was misguided.
"The Bush administration has consistently refused to accept the
advice of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
U.S. onboard is critical because of the sheer amount of greenhouse
gas emissions they are responsible for." In the joint statement,
the academies urge the G8 nations to find cost-effective steps that
can be taken immediately toward substantial and long-term reductions
in global greenhouse gas emissions. The academies also urge the G8
nations to find cost-effective steps that can be taken immediately
toward substantial and long-term reductions in global greenhouse gas
The statement called on G8 leaders and others to: (1) Acknowledge
that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing. (2) Launch
an international study to help set emission targets to avoid unacceptable
impacts. (3) Identify cost-effective steps that can be taken now to
contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse
gas emissions. (4) Work with developing nations to build their scientific
and technological capacity. (5) Take a lead in developing and deploying
clean energy technologies. (6) Mobilize the science and technology
community to enhance research and development.
Full text of the statement is available online in pdf form at http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf.
Participate in Climate
The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) will hold a workshop
on Climate Science in Support of Decision making on November 14-16,
2005, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
The workshop will explore uses of observations, modeling, studies
of climate and related environmental processes, and derived tools
to inform decision making.
The CCSP invites presentations by users of climate science as well
as members of the research community on topics related to the following
major themes of the workshop, water, ecosystems, coastal issues and
energy. Current information about the workshop is available on the
Those interested in giving a presentation should submit an abstract
using the web-based submission process. The deadline for submitting
abstracts is July 30, 2005.
NIST World Trade
On June 23, 2005, the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) announced the results of an investigation into the collapse
of New York City's World Trade Center (WTC) towers on September 11,
2001. NIST released 30
recommendations for public comment, contained in 43 draft reports
that call for changes to building and fire safety codes, standards
and practices. The investigation was conducted through the Federal
Emergency Management Agency with funding appropriated by Congress
At a press conference in New York City, NIST Acting Director Dr.
Hratch Semerjian remarked, "We expect that the focus on what
the nation needs to do to improve safety for buildings, occupants
and first responders will grow sharper as a result of the work we
have done. NIST will not be satisfied until then, and until improvements
are made." WTC Lead Investigator Shyam Sunder asked local and
state agencies to adopt the recommendations. "The recommendations
also should lead to safer and more effective building evacuations
and emergency responses. However, improvements will only be realized
if they are acted upon by the appropriate organizations," said
USGS scientists conducted a separate study in 2002 using spectroscopic
analysis of the fires, soot and dust generated by the collapse of
the towers to determine the amount of asbestos in the environment.
NIST will hold a conference on September 13-15, 2005, at its headquarters
in Gaithersburg, Maryland to discuss the recommendations from the
report. Details on this conference and registration information are
available at http://wtc.nist.gov/.
The full report is available online at http://wtc.nist.gov/.
The Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction of the President's National
Science and Technology Council has released their report
"Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction". The report provides
a 10 year plan to reduce the damage from disasters through science
and technology. Their 6 challenges are: (1) Provide hazard and disaster
information where and when it is needed. (2) Understand the natural
processes that produce hazards. (3) Develop hazard mitigation strategies
and technologies. (4) Recognize and reduce vulnerability of interdependent
critical infrastructure. (5) Assess disaster resilience using standard
methods and (6) Promote risk-wise behavior.
The full report is available at: http://sdr.gov/
Earth System Processes
2: Conference in Alberta
The Geological Society of America (GSA) and the Geological Association
of Canada (GAC) will co-host a meeting titled "Earth System Processes
2" on August 8-11 at the Westin Hotel in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
"ESP2" will be a sequel to the Earth System Processes meeting
held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2001.
NASA's Astrobiology Institute and the Canadian Institute for Advanced
Research, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and the European
Geosciences Union will support plenary sessions, field trips, and
special events. Sessions will focus on dynamic Earth systems and human
influences on the oceans, atmosphere, biota, and geology over time.
For more information, please go to the GSA
One More Summer
Intern Joins AGI
John Vermylen arrived at AGI one month ago, on June 6th. He is the
third and final AGI/AIPG Intern, and promises to make important contributions
to the Government Affairs Program this summer. In May, John earned
his Bachelor's in geology from Princeton University, and this coming
fall, he will head right back to school to pursue a PhD in Geophysics
from Stanford University. John has a strong interest in carbon sequestration
research, and he will continue to follow developments in national
energy policy as well as natural hazards and mining legislation for
the Government Affairs Program through August.
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 on the U.S.
Government Printing Office webpage. Information on submitting
comments and reading announcements are also available online at http://www.regulation.gov.
BLM: The Bureau of Land Management has started to solicit nominations
to lease land for the demonstration of oil shale recovery technologies
in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The announcement initiates the agency's
Oil Shale Research, Development and Demonstration (R, D & D) Program,
which intends to encourage private sector development of Green River
Formation oil shales. Nominations for leases can be made June 9, 2005
through September 7, 2005, and sent to the appropriate BLM state director.
[Federal Register: June 9, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 110)]
EPA: In 2007, a new testing program will be initiated for engine
manufacturers. The program requires exhaust emissions to be measured
from diesel engines using a portable emissions measurement system.
For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency will be receiving
emissions data acquired from regularly used engines. Also, the EPA
will be able to evaluate the data and ensure that the emissions comply
with requirements. The ruling is a result of an agreement between
the EPA and the Engine Manufacturers Association to improve air quality
by ensuring that more stringent emission can be realized under current
driving conditions. This rule will become effective on August 15.
[Federal Register: June 14, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 113)]
FERC: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decided to amend current
regulations to require public utility companies to add large wind
generation operations to interconnection procedures. The wind operations
will be subject to technical requirements as well as open access transmission
tariffs (OATTs) standard procedures. The final rule will become effective
on August 15. [Federal Register: June 16, 2005 (Volume 70, Number
New Updates to
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, Director of Government Affairs,
Katie Ackerly, Government Affairs Staff, Anne Smart, 2005 AGI/AIPG
Summer Intern, Amanda Schneck, 2005 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern, and John
Vermylen, 2005 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern.
Sources: The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,
Nature, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American
Groundwater Trust, National Institute for Standards and Technology,
Federal Geographic Data Committee website, American Institute of Physics,
American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, U.S. Geological
Survey, Congressional Quarterly, Environment and Energy Daily, Greenwire,
The National Academies, Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction, Hearing
Testimony, House Appropriations Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee,
The Federal Register.
TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM MONTHLY REVIEW, SEND
AN EMAIL WITH YOUR REQUEST AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO GOVT@AGIWEB.ORG
Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted July 6, 2005.