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Monthly Review: June 2009


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.

    *** Administration News and Updates ***
    1. Update on Nominations for DOI and DOE
    2. Hayes Nomination Approved, Utah Lease Report Released
    3. Administration Issues a Mountaintop Mining Memorandum
    4. Regulations.gov Wants Your Opinion
    5. Task Force Begins Consideration of NASA Manned Missions

    *** Congressional News and Updates ***
    6. House Passes Appropriations for USGS and Others
    7. House Passes Appropriations for Science
    8. Climate Change Bill Passes the House
    9. GOP House Energy Bill
    10. National Climate Service Bill Passes House Committee
    11. Energy Bill Passes Senate Committee
    12. Republicans Introduce Oil Shale Development Bill
    13. Oil Spill Recovery Bill Introduced in House
    14. House Introduces Deep Seabed Mineral Resources Bill
    15. National Environmental Research Parks Pass Committee
    16. Science and Technology Research and Education bills
    17. Bipartisan Bill Calls for Education Standards in Science
    18. Earthquake Program Gets Hearing as Other Hazards Considered
    19. Democrat Al Franken Declared Winner of MN Senate Race

    *** Supreme Court News and Updates ***
    20. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Gene Patent Case

    *** Federal Agency News and Updates ***
    21. EPA Grants California Vehicle Emission Waiver
    22. EPA Extends Comment Deadline For Cement Plant Rules
    23. Coal Reserves Overestimated According to USGS Study
    24. USGS Arctic Oil and Gas Assessment Published in Science
    25. Interior Secretary Reports on Carbon Capture and Storage
    26. Global Change Research Program Releases New Report
    27. Earth Science Literacy Outlined by NSF

    *** Other News and Updates ***
    28. EarthTrek Encourages Public Participation in Science
    29. Gender Discrepancies in Faculty Examined in NAS Study
    30. Key Reports and Publications
    31. Key Federal Register Notices
    32. Key AGI Government Affairs Updates

1. Update on Nominations for DOI and DOE

On June 19, 2009 the Senate approved three nominees, without much delay or controversy, for top positions within the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and Energy, Efficiency, and Renewable Energy (EERE). Anne Castle, a prominent water rights and natural resources lawyer from Colorado, will oversee the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as the DOI Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. William Brinkman, a physicist from Princeton, will be the Director of the Office of Science at DOE. Catherine Zoi, a former chief of staff for the Clinton White House Office on Environmental Policy and manager at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will be the Assistant Secretary for EERE at DOE. Her nomination was the only one to draw any concern, with some Republicans worried about Zoi’s allegation that the coal and oil lobbies were preventing clean energy from thriving. After expressing her hopes to work with those industries though, her nomination was forwarded without objection.

A new nomination was also announced. President Obama nominated Bob Abbey as the BLM Director within DOI. Abbey has been praised by environmentalists and industry leaders for his 32-year career at the BLM. He has been touted for his management of the Nevada mining industry, and the anticipated diplomatic manner in which he will handle issues of energy projects on federal lands. Abbey is now waiting on his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

2. Hayes Nomination Approved, Utah Lease Report Released

David Hayes was finally confirmed to be the Deputy Secretary of the Interior, more than two months after Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) placed holds on the process. Their concern was not over Hayes himself, but unsatisfactory answers they received from the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about last year’s oil and gas lease auction. Hayes was confirmed on May 20, 2009 when the senators lifted their holds after Salazar promised to personally review the issue. Bennett and Murkowski wanted a commitment that the Administration was pursuing a balanced energy approach.

Salazar has evaluated the lease auction of concern, under the leadership of Hayes, and released a report on June 11, 2009. The report outlines the flaws in the procedure and inaccurate information that caused Salazar to cancel 77 leases in Utah this February, which in turn started the outcry from Senator Bennett. The report concludes that some of the leases could be reinstated, while others should not be leased for various environmental and legal reasons.

The full report on the 77 Utah leases is available from DOI: http://www.doi.gov/utahreport/

3. Administration Issues a Mountaintop Mining Memorandum

The Obama administration issued a memorandum on June 11 calling for an end to streamlined mountaintop coal mining permits and increased protection of waterways. The memorandum does not prohibit mountaintop mining. It aims to improve oversight, modify the “nationwide permits” to protect waterways in Appalachia, and curb the most environmentally damaging techniques through a collaborative effort by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and Department of the Interior.

This follows an announcement in March 2009 that the EPA would begin reviewing pending permits from the USACE. A week later after the announcement, the U.S. District Court in West Virginia found the USACE erroneously allowed companies to dump mining waste into rivers and streams. The USACE permits were issued under a “nationwide permit” allowed for projects believed to have little environmental impact. The court ruled, though, that the USACE did not conduct proper environmental impact assessments. In May the EPA concluded that of the 48 permits it reviewed, 42 are allowed to proceed and 6 are put on hold.

On June 22, in a separate case, the Supreme Court ruled that mine waste site permitting rights are given to the USACE, not the EPA, under the Clean Water Act. This case involved an Alaskan gold mine dumping tailings into a nearby lake, and it is unclear how this will affect the mountaintop coal mining debate.

4. Regulations.gov Wants Your Opinion

The Regulations.gov Exchange was created as part of the Open Government Initiative recently established by the White House to bring greater transparency, participation, and collaboration in how the government can better serve the public. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the leading partner agency of Regulations.gov and the Regulations.gov Exchange. Regulations.gov is the on-line source for citizens to search, view, and comment on regulations issued by the U.S. government. The Exchange is the on-line forum for the public to explore designs and features proposed to improve the website. You can share your suggestions on how the Regulations.gov can best meet your needs by posting your thoughts on www.regulations.gov/exchange/ from now until July 21, 2009.

5. Task Force Begins Consideration of NASA Manned Missions

The presidential task force set-up to examine the future of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) human space flight program held their first public meeting on June 17, 2009 in Washington DC. The committee received comments from NASA plus some of its international partners in human space flight, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (RSA). There were also presentations from representatives from the aerospace industries, Orbital and SpaceX, as well as an upstart company called Direct Launcher. Direct Launcher supports a new design that would replace the Ares-I Crew Launch Vehicle and the Ares-V Cargo Launch Vehicle with a single “Jupiter” launcher.

Members of Congress, including Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and David Vitter (R-LA) and Representatives Pete Olson and Ralph Hall, both republicans from Texas, provided remarks or written statements to the committee. The members expressed general support for human space flight, concerns about job losses in human space flight-related NASA centers and industries, and gratitude to the committee for taking on the difficult task of developing a strategy for future human space flight in tough economic times.

Additional public meetings will be held on July 28 in Huntsville, AL and July 30 in Cape Canaveral, FL. The task force hopes to complete their review and submit a report to the Administration in the fall. The public is strongly encouraged to submit their comments about the U.S. human space flight program through the task force web site’s bevy of online tools.

Former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine is the chair of the ten member task force. Other members include former astronauts, scientists, engineers, industry executives and one retired Air Force general. Dr. Christopher Chyba, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs at Princeton University and a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is a member of the task force and affiliated with the geosciences community. His security-related research focuses on nuclear proliferation, nuclear weapons policy and biological terrorism. His planetary science and astrobiology research focuses on the search for life elsewhere in the solar system and he was an associate professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University before moving to Princeton.

More information can be found at the Human Space Flight Review website and the public is encouraged to submit their comments or questions via multiple web-based tools provided on their homepage.

6. House Passes Appropriations for USGS and Others

The House approved of the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior, Environment and related agencies (H.R. 2996) on June 26, 2009. The bill would provide $1.106 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey, an increase of about $62 million compared to fiscal year (FY) 2009 and $7.9 million more than the President’s request. About $65.6 million would be available for cooperation with states on water resources, $40 million would be available for satellite operations, presumably for Landsat, and $7.3 million would be available for deferred maintenance and capital improvements.

The $7.9 million increase above the President's request would include the following items: in geography ($1.65 million above the request for the USGS to run the Civil Applications Committee), in geology ($1 million above the request for LIDAR and $0.25 million for the Global Seismographic Network), in water resources ($0.3 million for the South Arkansas Sparta aquifer recovery study; $0.20 million for Hood Canal dissolved oxygen study, WA; $0.28 million for McHenry County groundwater protection program, IL; $1 million for US-Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act study), and in biology ($2 million within biological information management and delivery for support to the coordinators of the national network of State conservation data agencies; $0.22 million for the Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Lab, MA; and $1 million to continue scientific support to the South San Francisco salt ponds restoration effort, CA).  

The Smithsonian Institution would receive $774 million, an increase of $43 million over FY 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency would receive $10.6 billion, an increase of $2.9 billion over FY 2009 and about $84 million more than the President’s request. The total budget would be divided as follows: $850 million for science and technology (+$60 million over FY 2009), $3 billion for environmental programs and management (+$608 million over FY 2009), $1.3 billion for the Superfund program (+$15 million over FY 2009), $113 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank program, and $5.2 billion for environmental programs and infrastructure assistance to states and tribal entities.

In the House report (111-180), the committee provides further details and explanations of funding priorities and initiatives. A section on the protection of “great water bodies” calls for $660 million to protect specific water bodies. In particular, the House supports $475 million for the Great Lakes, $28 million for the National Estuaries Grant Program and $148 million to restore water bodies “from Long Island Sound to Puget Sound, from Lake Champlain to Lake Pontchartrain.” An even larger sum would be devoted to clean and safe drinking water infrastructure with an appropriation of $3.9 billion (an increase of $2.2 billion above FY 2009 levels).

Another section on “Global Climate Change Science and Adaptation” notes the committee’s support for climate change science at the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Smithsonian Institution and the Forest Service research branch. Committee support for applied science and adaptation is provided for the EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which shows the Committee’s attempt to separate applied from basic research on climate change within Interior and related agencies. The committee concludes this section by strongly encouraging the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to move forward on climate change science and adaptation in a coordinated and strategic fashion without creating new offices or organizational structures.

The House report also explains the large increase for wildland fire management ($3.66 billion, a 40 percent increase over FY 2009) in order to suppress mega-fires and save costs from damages associated with a few large fires. Lastly, House Committee expressed concern about coordination of land acquisition for conservation and called upon the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to coordinate better and define national strategies for future land conservation. The comments build upon concerns about coordination of efforts at the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, and the land management agencies within the Department of the Interior.

7. House Passes Appropriations for Science

The House approved of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2010 (H.R. 2847) on June 18, 2009. The National Science Foundation would receive $6.936 billion, an increase of $446 million over FY 2009, but $108 million less than the President’s request. About $5.64 billion would be for research, an increase of $460 million over FY 2009, but $91 million less than the President’s request. Of these research funds, $70 million would be for polar research and as much as $54 million would be available for polar icebreaking services. About $114 million would be available for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction, a decrease of about $38 million below FY 2009 and about $863 million would be provided for education and human resources, an increase of about $18 million over FY 2009. For agency operations and management, about $300 million would be provided in FY 2010.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration would receive $18.2 billion, an increase of $420 million over FY 2009. Much of the increase would be devoted to science and aeronautics research, while funds for human spaceflight will be frozen at FY 2009 levels until the Human Space Flight Task Force completes a review. About $4.5 billion would be for science (including $1.4 billion for Earth science), $501 million for aeronautics, $3.3 billion for exploration, $6 billion for space operations (including $3 billion for the Space Shuttle program), $175 million for education and $3 billion for cross agency support and management.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would receive $4.6 billion, an increase of $238 million over FY 2009 and $129 million more than the President’s request. About $3.2 billion would be for operations, research and facilities and $1.4 billion would be for procurement, acquisition and construction. The House would provide $436 million for oceanic and atmospheric research, about $31 million more than the President’s request and $1,467 million for satellites, about $19 million more than the President’s request. The Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment programs and the Ocean and Coastal Management programs would also receive small increases compared to the President’s request, though both programs would receive less than they received in FY 2009.

8. Climate Change Bill Passes the House

On June 25, 2009, the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) by a narrow margin of 219 to 212, with 8 Republicans voting yes. This marks the first cap-and-trade bill passed by the full House. The vote took place before the Fourth of July recess and met the deadline set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). After several meetings between bill sponsor Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) in the week leading up to the vote, Waxman made substantive concessions to Peterson and other Agriculture Committee Democrats. To gain the support of farm states concerned about the impact on the agricultural industry, last minute amendments were added making the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for managing agriculture offsets. Proponents of the bill contend the bill will provide for thousands of “green jobs” to be created in the U.S.

H.R. 2454 requires major industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions to enter into a cap-and-trade program that requires a reduction in U.S. emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 42 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. In terms of science-related issues, the bill contains provisions for a National Climate Service to be created under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to coordinate climate information, fill in the gaps, and serve as a single point of dissemination of climate change data. It also directs funding (an estimated $650 million) to the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) a newly-established agency at the Department of Energy (DOE) that will pursue high-risk, high-reward energy technology development. 

The bill now moves to the Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is promising a fall floor debate following markups of the measure in the Environment and Public Works Committee and in other committees. It is likely to be a contentious debate in the Senate, and it is unknown if there is enough support to pass the bill after such a narrow passage in the House.

9. GOP House Energy Bill

The House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and 108 co-sponsors introduced the American Energy Act (H.R. 2846) on June 12, 2009, in response to the Democratic backed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454). While the two bills are similar, the emphasis of the American Energy Act is on the creation of jobs while developing renewable, nuclear, and biomass energy sources, as well as producing more domestic oil and natural gas.

The Republicans claim that the American Energy Act is an all inclusive bill that will help to clean up the environment without unnecessary taxes and without sending jobs overseas. The bill would expand all types of energy production, including drilling on the outer continental shelf and in the Arctic coastal plain. The money from the leasing of these federal lands would be used to establish a Renewable and Alternative Energy Trust Fund that provides financial assistance for renewable, alternative, and unconventional energy programs. Renewable energy expansion would also be supported with tax credits for people using or investing in renewable energy sources.

Nuclear energy would be expanded with a proposal to bring 100 new nuclear reactors online in the next 20 years. The oil shale lease program that leases federal lands to private companies for the research and development of oil shale production would be reinstated, and lastly, the bill would streamline the refinery permitting process. The American Energy Act has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

10. National Climate Service Bill Passes House Committee

The House Science and Technology committee passed H.R. 2407, the National Climate Service Act of 2009, with a vote of 24 to 12. The bill originally would have established a National Climate Service office as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but a bipartisan amendment was passed that calls for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to determine over the next three years the roles different federal agencies should play in a new climate service. OSTP will need to base its plan on the inventory of the federal government’s climate modeling and monitoring programs, as well as the potential users of climate data. Several Republican amendments were defeated before the vote, including an amendment that would remove all references in the bill to “climate change.” This bill may amend the NOAA National Climate Service proposed in the Waxman-Markey bill (H.R. 2454), but Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) has said H.R. 2407 will move ahead even if H.R. 2454 does not. 

11. Energy Bill Passes Senate Committee

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 15 to 8 to report out a new bill entitled the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009, which includes eleven bills developed within the committee. The measure contains significant legislation to help improve energy efficiency, energy security and energy market information. Some contentious issues include greater access to offshore oil and natural gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, a national renewable electricity standard (utilities would have to provide 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources) and new federal electricity transmission siting authority.

Details of the bill of particular interest to the geosciences community include measures for: clean energy technology development, energy innovation and workforce development, to increase domestic production and assessment of oil and natural gas, to increase production of renewable energy on public lands, to assess nuclear waste management and to understand and develop strategies regarding the energy-water nexus.

The various parts of the measure are available for review at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.

12. Republicans Introduce Oil Shale Development Bill

On June 1, 2009, the Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Doug Lamborn (R-CO) introduced a bill to expand the development of oil shale. The bill is called the PIONEER Act (The Protecting Investment in Oil shale the Next Generation of Environment, Energy, and Resource Security), H.R. 2540. Natural Resources and Energy Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA), a co-sponsor of the bill, stated that developing oil shale is not only a way to relieve the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, but will also boost the economy and create new American jobs.

The PIONEER Act would reinstate the Research, Development, & Demonstration (RD&D) leasing that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar removed in February. In January, the former administration had proposed a second round of RD&D leasing, where federally owned land is leased to private companies for oil shale production. Under the PIONEER Act, the Secretary of the Interior would be allowed to temporarily reduce royalties, fees, rentals, bonus, or other payments for these leases. Lamborn believes that oil shale development cannot be accomplished without the incentives for private companies to engage in oil shale production. The bill would also establish the guidelines published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as rules for the investment and development of commercial oil shale production on federally owned lands. While the technology needed for commercial extraction of the oil shale is several years away, the BLM regulation will provide for the development of technologies to efficiently extract the oil in an environmentally safe way.

13. Oil Spill Recovery Bill Introduced In House

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced The Federal Oil Spill Research Program Act of 2009 (H.R. 2693) on June 3 to amend the Oil Recovery Act of 1990. She introduced this bill in light of the low percentage of recovery in oil spills, and the need for better technology in clean up efforts. The bill would coordinate federal research and development of oil spill prevention, detection, recovery, and mitigation. H.R. 2963 would expand the direction of the oil spill recovery program set by the Oil Recovery Act of 1990 to cover emerging challenges and making the interagency structure more efficient. In addition, the bill would provide grants to universities and research centers to develop new technologies to prevent, combat, and clean up oil spills. The House Science and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing on the legislation and oil spill prevention and clean ups. There was consensus from witnesses and members that more needed to be done to increase the amount that is recovered in spills. Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) recognized the need for more research and development to increase the level of mitigation when oil spills occur. The bill was forwarded to the full committee on June 16.

14. House Introduces Deep Seabed Mineral Resources Bill

On June 11, 2009, Delegate Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) introduced a deep seabed mineral resources bill (H.R. 2834). The bill would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to “conduct a technological capability assessment, survey, and economic feasibility study regarding recovery of minerals, other than oil and natural gas, from the shallow and deep seabed of the United States” and submit a report on their findings within two years of enactment. The seabed is defined as the areas within 200 miles of territorial seas. The bill does not authorize any specific appropriations for this work. The measure puts NOAA in charge of the survey but calls for NOAA to consult with other appropriate Federal agencies.

15. National Environmental Research Parks Pass Committee

On June 24, 2009 a bill to create environmental research parks passed out of the House Science and Technology Committee and reported to the full house. Representative Ben Lujan (D-NM) introduced H.R. 2729, which would authorize designation of the National Environmental Research Parks (NERPs) by the Secretary of Energy. There are currently seven NERPs located throughout the U.S. that do research related to energy and the environment in unique outdoor laboratory settings on protected lands of the Department of Energy. In addition, these research parks possess long-term data sets, which can only be found in the parks, on amphibian populations, bird populations, and soil moisture and plant water stress that will be particularly valuable as climate change is studied for years to come. This bill would designate $35 million between 2010 and 2014 to the Secretary of Energy for these parks to continue their work and to engage in more education and outreach to the public. The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing on June 9th on environmental research at the Department of Energy and H.R. 2729. The witnesses all made a case for the importance of the work done at these research parks and how their large-scale experiments could not be done without the unique laboratory setting the NERPs provide.

16. Science and Technology Research and Education Bills

In the House, two bills establishing federal programs in support of research in science and technology were passed on June 8, 2009. The International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2009 (H.R 1736) was unanimously passed by the House Science and Technology Committee in April. The bill re-establishes the Committee on International Science, Engineering, and Technology (CISET) under the supervision of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

The second bill, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coordination Act of 2009 (H.R. 1709) also creates a committee under the jurisdiction of the NSTC. The committee will coordinate all STEM education programs in the federal agencies, create a strategic five-year plan for STEM education, and maintain an inventory of the STEM programs and activities. The bill was introduced by Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN) in March and since passed through the House Science and Technology Committee. Both bills are now under consideration in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

17. Bipartisan Bill Calls for Education Standards in Science

On June 10, 2009, the SPEAK (Standards to Provide Educational Achievement for Kids) Act was introduced in the House by Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and introduced in the Senate by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). The identical bills are currently under review in the House Committee on Education and Labor and in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The goal of the SPEAK Act is to ensure students entering college and the workforce are prepared to compete in the global economy. The bill would add science to the standardized mathematics and reading tests that students take in grades four, eight, and twelve, and establish voluntary state academic standards in math and science for kindergarten through 12th grade. As an incentive for states to adopt the standards, competitive grants from the proposed American Standards Incentive Fund would be given to participating states. The SPEAK Act would be a step towards national education standards that enable students to receive a basic science education no matter where they live.

The full text of the House SPEAK Act (H.R. 2970) can be found on Thomas at:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.2790:
The full text of the Senate SPEAK Act (S. 1231) can be found on Thomas at:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:s.1231:

18. Earthquake Program Gets Hearing as Other Hazards Considered

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is up for reauthorization at the end of fiscal year 2009. The House Science and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing before writing reauthorization legislation on June 11, 2009. The committee members and witnesses praised the program, especially the restructuring that occurred in 2004 to make the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) the lead agency of the four agency joint program. During the hearing, Chairman David Wu (D-OR) also wondered if a multi-hazards program would be a better approach to research and mitigation.

The last reauthorization of NEHRP in 2004 (P.L. 108-360) also created the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). The NWIRP program is supposed to be modeled after NEHRP, but as of yet has not produced the same caliber of results. Both are under consideration for reauthorization, and it is unclear if the House Science and Technology Committee will try and incorporate a multi-hazard program as well. NWIRP reauthorization has already been introduced in a separate bill (H.R. 2627) from Representative Dennis Moore (R-KS). H.R. 2627 names NIST as the lead agency, as opposed to the original authorization which named the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Hazard mitigation funding, as opposed to relying on recovery funding after a disaster, is also the idea behind the new bill introduced by Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS). His bill to establish grants for pre-disaster hazard mitigation enhancement (H.R. 3027) would authorize $500 million in grants over 5 years. The legislation is a response to the first Obama Administration report on climate change that links greenhouse gases to increasingly damaging natural hazards.

19. Democrat Al Franken Declared Winner of MN Senate Race

Democratic challenger Al Franken was declared the winner of the election for the Senate seat in Minnesota by the Minnesota Supreme Court on June 30, 2009, eight months after the election. Hours later, the Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, conceded the election and stated he would abide by the court’s decision. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Franken had won the election by a very slim 312 votes out of about 2.9 million cast.

Governor Pawlenty is expected to sign the certificate on July 1 and Franken will need to submit the certificate to the Senate in order to be sworn in as the junior senator from Minnesota. He will join Senator Amy Klobuchar, the now senior senator from Minnesota. The Senate is on recess until July 6th, so Franken will have to wait a few more days before he can officially begin work in the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that Franken will serve on the Health, Education and Labor Committee and the Pensions and Judiciary Committee.

Once seated, Franken gives the Democrats a supermajority of 60 possible votes in the Senate, the largest majority they have had in decades, if one counts the two independent party members, Senators Bernard Sanders (VT) and Joseph Lieberman (CT). If the Democrats and Independents remain united in their votes, then the majority party would have just enough votes to end filibusters and move legislation forward without the need for support from Republican senators. Such a supermajority may help the Senate approve of legislation on climate change, energy and health care, while also making it easier to approve of nominations, such as the currently pending nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for U.S. Supreme Court Justice. It may also make it easier for the Senate to ratify treaties. There are of course no guarantees that the Democrats will always unite for 60 votes as many concerns do cross party lines.

20. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Gene Patent Case

In mid-May the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s practice of granting patents on human genes, specifically the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are associated with breast cancer. In early June, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in the fall.

The outcome could have far-reaching implications for scientists and engineers, including those working in the geosciences. An invention is patent-eligible subject matter if it is new and useful. A process is patent-eligible subject matter if it (1) is “tied to a particular machine or apparatus” or (2) transforms a particular article into “a different state or thing” according to previous court decisions. Patent-eligible processes or inventions do not include “laws of nature, natural phenomena, [or] abstract ideas” according to U.S. law and previous court decisions. The question of whether human genes or other “natural articles” are patentable will test some of these past court decisions and U.S. patent law.

21. EPA Grants California Vehicle Emission Waiver

On June 30, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was granting California’s waiver request to enforce tougher standards on greenhouse gas emissions for new vehicles. Under the Clean Air Act, California has the legal right to request a waiver from the federal government regarding any rules and regulations related to clean air because of the state’s long history with air pollution challenges and often stricter pollution control standards. California requested the greenhouse gas waiver in December 2005, however, the request was denied because it was determined that the state did not have “compelling and extraordinary conditions” for such standards.

The new standards would cover new vehicles for model years 2012-2016 and the standards would most likely require fuel efficiency standards of greater than 40 miles per gallon to meet the greenhouse gas emission restrictions. This would essentially force more fuel efficient vehicles into the marketplace than required by the recently updated federal corporate average fuel efficiency standards of 35 miles per gallon in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. While the standards would reduce emissions and gasoline fuel costs, it is not clear how quickly the auto industry can develop vehicles that American consumers would be willing to purchase.

The California waiver affects a broader cross section of the nation as 13 other states and the District of Columbia have opted to follow California’s stricter greenhouse gas emission standards. President Obama has also called for stricter greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles at the federal level.  The ailing U.S. auto industry will need to re-tool their vehicles for these emission restrictions in order to keep up with foreign auto industry production of more fuel efficient vehicles.

22. EPA Extends Comment Deadline For Cement Plant Rules

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period to September 9, 2009 on a proposal to cut mercury emissions and other pollutants from Portland cement kilns. The proposed standards would limit the total hydrocarbon and particulate matter emissions allowed from the cement kilns that are large hydrochloric acid emitters. They will also hold three public hearings on the proposed rule on June 16, 17, and 18 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Arlington, Virginia, respectively. Members of the public who want to speak may preregister up to two business days prior to the start of the hearing. To preregister to speak at the hearings, please contact Pamela Garrett at garrett.pamela@epa.gov or 919-541-7966.

More information on the proposed rule is available for download (PDF).

23. Coal Reserves Overestimated According to USGS Study

In 2007 the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted a 240-year supply of U.S. coal reserves, based off their estimate of nearly 500 billion tons of recoverable U.S. coal reserves. However a new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey found that only 6 percent of the coal in the nation’s largest coalfield is economically recoverable, even if current market price was to increase. The study, started in 2004 to better understand the immense Gillette coalfield in the Powder Basin of Wyoming, reveals that the U.S. only has a 120-year supply. This discrepancy prompted the EIA to release a statement saying they will reassess their estimates using the new USGS data. The full report is available from the USGS.

24. USGS Arctic Oil and Gas Assessment Published in Science

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed a geologically based assessment of the Arctic, the Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA), to determine the potential for oil and gas resources stored in the Arctic Circle. The Arctic continental shelves provide a unique location, under 500 m of water, for these resources, which could be utilized given concern over future energy supplies. The CARA only considered areas with recoverable hydrocarbon volumes larger than 50 million barrels of oil or 300 billion cubic feet of gas, excluding smaller accumulations and nonconventional resources like oil shales and gas hydrates. The assessment also used mapping and assessing units (AUs) based on the sedimentary makeup of the Arctic. The average assessment found for the Arctic consists of double the amount of oil thought to be there originally. The study concluded undiscovered oil in the Arctic may account for almost four percent of the world’s remaining conventionally recoverable oil resources. In addition, they concluded the Arctic may hold three times the amount of undiscovered gas as oil. The report was included in the May 29, 2009 issue of Science Magazine.

25. Interior Secretary Reports on Carbon Capture and Storage

On June 3, 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar submitted a report to Congress on recommendations for a national program that would select sites for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects. The report was prepared with the assistance of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Office of Fossil Energy in the Department of Energy. The recommendations included criteria for the identification of potential sites, suggesting that deep saline formations were the most suitable due to their large storage capacity. Other potential sites are oil and gas fields, deep saline water reservoir rocks, and coal beds. The geologic formation selected must be able to store the injected CO2 for long timescales, and monitoring the site after it is sealed must also remain functional. The report also indicated that research into environmental safety is still needed, and that investigational large-scale projects must also be tested to ensure the long term isolation of the CO2. The USGS will assess storage in oil and gas fields and saline formations using a new methodology and funding in the fiscal year 2010 budget.

The full report (PDF) is available from the DOI.

26. Global Change Research Program Releases New Report

A new report released on June 16, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, documents the impacts of climate change on various regions and sectors in the U.S. and discusses actions society can, or is already taking, in response. The key findings are that human-induced emissions are the primary cause of the changes; agriculture will be challenged, threats to human health will increase, and the changes are projected to intensify impacts already affecting energy, water, ecosystems, coastlines, transportation, and society.

The report is a product of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a 13 member interagency government program established by Congress in 1990 to help understand, assess, predict, and respond to global change. The congressional mandate stated that the USGCRP must release a global change impact assessment every four years, and an annual report to Congress. The first national assessment was released in 2000, followed by a series of 21 Synthesis and Assessment Products.

This newest report is a comprehensive look at climate change impacts, drawing from the past USGCRP assessments, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and other research. The report clearly and simplistically shows dramatic changes taking place, and how they will affect people and industry. It shows widespread changes that are happening now, making the point that global change is a current concern for everyone. There are examples of adaption measures taken by various communities, in order to give the audience ideas of ways to mitigate the negative impacts. The report does not make policy recommendations. Instead it emphasizes the importance and consequence of choices made today on the severity of the changes in the future as a method of informing decision making.

The full report, factsheets, and summaries are available for download from the USGCRP website.

27. Earth Science Literacy Outlined by NSF

The major concepts in Earth science that all people should know are outlined in the new report “Earth Science Literacy Principles: The Big Ideas and Supporting Concepts of Earth Science” released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on June 4, 2009. With Earth science playing such a prominent, public role in issues facing society today, the Earth Science Literacy Initiative funded by NSF felt it was crucial that every citizen understand the fundamentals of Earth science. The report they commissioned is a summary of Earth history and structure written and reviewed by top Earth scientists. It is aimed at policymakers, educators, students, and the general public as a guide for education and legislation.

The report is available for download from the Earth Science Literacy Initiative website.

28. EarthTrek Encourages Public Participation in Science

The Geological Society of America (GSA) and other national and international partners have developed EarthTrek, a new tool that will allow concerned citizens to contribute data to scientists around the world. Scientists will set protocols for various environmental projects that benefit from community involvement in data gathering. Participants log their data online and can monitor the progress of their project. In addition, they can be rewarded with certificates and other incentives. EarthTrek aims to raise scientific literacy by involving communities in science, and provide experiences for kids to encourage them to pursue science as a career path. EarthTrek enrollment is open now, and the first science projects will begin on July 1, 2009. Learn more at http://www.goearthtrek.com/.

29. Gender Discrepancies in Faculty Examined in NAS Study

After a study of 6 science, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) concluded that women are still underrepresented in the applicant pool, but are hired at rates equal to or higher to those of men. The new study, Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty, collected original survey data from biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, civil engineering, and electrical engineering. A total of 417 departments responded from the top 89 large research institutions. The data was collected from 2004-2005, so provides a snapshot over a short period rather than tracking longer trends.

In 1999, a study on women faculty at MIT raised awareness of the disparity between the genders and led to a series of congressional hearings in 2002. The hearings, convened by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), led to the congressional mandate for a NAS study of the issue. The study concludes that there is a smaller female applicant pool, so work needs to be done to mentor tenure track female faculty. However, once women apply for faculty positions or come up for tenure review, they are at least as likely as their male counterparts to receive the position. Women also receive equal access to resources, having similar lab space and time commitments to teaching, research, and service.

30. Key Reports and Publications

***Congressional Research Service***
Greeenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Reported by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Released June 17, 2009. The bill would establish a cap and trade system in the U.S. designed to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050.

Hiring and Pay Authorities for Federal Scientific and Technical (S&T) Personnel
Released May 29, 2009. This report focuses on the lack of uniformity in the hiring process and pay for scientists and technical personnel in the federal government. It looks at necessary changes that Congress could make to streamline this process to ensure that the federal government remains an attractive career path for American scientists and engineers.

***Government Accountability Office***
Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites: With Costs Increasing and Data Continuity at Risk, Improvements Needed in Tri-agency Decision Making
Released June 17, 2009. This report discusses the Government Accountability Office’s assessment of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), a tri-agency acquisition that has experienced escalating costs, schedule delays, and technical difficulties. It details the recommendations of the GAO for better leadership in order to make important decisions regarding project goals.

Technology Transfer: Clearer Priorities and Greater Use of Innovative Approaches Could Increase the Effectiveness of Technology Transfer at Department of Energy Laboratories
Released June 16, 2009. This report focuses on the need for the Department of Energy (DOE) to improve policies regarding technology transfer so it can better determine its effectiveness at transferring technologies to the marketplace. There is a need for DOE to better define its department goals and to obtain better performance data. Problems identified by staff at DOE laboratories included gaps in staff priorities and expertise, lack of funding to develop certain technologies, and lack of flexibility to develop technology transfer agreements.

NASA: Commercial Partners Are Making Progress, but Face Aggressive Schedules to Demonstrate Critical Space Station Cargo Transport Capabilities
Released June 16, 2009. This report examines the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) reliance on commercial partners to meet the International Space Station's cargo resupply needs and its progress or challenges in developing commercial space transport capabilities given the planned retirement of the space shuttle program in 2010. The vehicles being developed by commercial partners have become essential to NASA's ability to fully utilize the space station. Overall, the work is largely being completed on time despite recent demonstration launch delays.

Federal Land Management: BLM and the Forest Service Have Improved Oversight of the Land Exchange Process, but Additional Actions Are Needed
Released June 12, 2009. This report focuses on how the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service engage in land exchanges given previous concerns their actions were not always in the best interest of the public. Several recommendations regarding transparency of the process and timeliness in processing have been made and implemented, to varying degrees of success.

EPA Chemical Assessments: Process Reforms Offer the Potential to Address Key Problems
Released June 11, 2009. This report highlights the improvements the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made in its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), which contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to more than 540 chemicals. EPA has regained independence in the IRIS assessment process from Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but still needs to implement several changes before success can be measured.

Scientific Integrity: EPA's Efforts to Enhance the Credibility and Transparency of Its Scientific Processes
Released June 9, 2009. This report focuses on GAO findings of transparency and scientific integrity issues in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA issued IRIS reforms on May 21, 2009 in response to GAO recommendations, and will be working to regain control of the IRIS assessment process as well as maintain different viewpoints on its peer review panels.

Aviation and Climate Change: Aircraft Emissions Expected to Grow, but Technological and Operational Improvements and Government Policies Can Help Control Emissions
Released June 8, 2009. This report includes estimates of aviation's current and future contribution to greenhouse gas and other emissions that may affect climate change. It is expected that by 2050 aviation will contribute to 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and 5 percent to the potential global warming effect from anthropogenic activities, but significant emissions reductions could be achieved through enacted government policies and use of newer technologies to reduce engine emissions.

Nuclear Waste: DOE's Environmental Management Initiatives Report Is Incomplete
Released June 2, 2009. The Department of Energy (DOE) failed to address parts of the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 which required it to report different aspects of assessment and progress made in environmental management to Congress. More work needs to be done to ensure that DOE is properly addressing environmental cleanups at nuclear waste sites throughout the country where public health has been put at risk.

***National Academy of Sciences***
Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop
Released June 16, 2009. This book summarizes a public workshop held in November 2008 for the purpose of reviewing past and present cooperation, coordination, and competition mechanisms for space and Earth science research and space exploration, identifying significant lessons learned, and discussing how those lessons could best be applied in the future.

Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments
Released June 15, 2009.  This book examines the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar-photovoltaic, geothermal, solar-thermal, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources. The book focuses on those renewable sources that will be viable in the next 10 years for initial commercial deployment into the U.S. energy system.

Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate
Released June 4, 2009. This book examines the growing need for organized efforts to produce, disseminate, and facilitate the use of data and information in order to improve the quality and efficacy of climate-related decisions. It develops guidance for government agencies and other institutions that will provide or use information for coping with climate change based on past work to improve scientific decision-making.

31. Key Federal Register Notices

The original federal register notices are available at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont09.html

EPA—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing supplemental action to the proposed amendments to the new source performance standards for coal preparation and processing plants published on April 28, 2008. The 2008 proposal will revise the standards for thermal dryers, pneumatic coal cleaning equipment, and coal handling equipment located at coal preparation and processing plants. In addition, it proposes to establish a sulfur dioxide emission limit and a combined nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions limit for thermal dryers. EPA is also proposing to amend the definition of coal to include petroleum coke and coal refuse. Finally, EPA proposes to establish work practice standards to control coal dust emissions associated with coal preparation and processing plants. Comments must be received on or before July 13, 2009. Contacts EPA by June 8, 2009 to request a public hearing on June 11, 2009. Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0260 online at: http://www.regulations.gov or by email to a-and-r-docket@epa.gov.
[Wednesday, May 27 (Vol. 74, No. 100)]

USGS—The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) notifying the public that we will submit to OMB an information collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork requirements for “Mine, Development, and Mineral Exploration Supplement, (1 USGS form).” This notice provides the public an opportunity to comment on the paperwork burden of this form. Please submit written comments by July 27, 2009 to Phadrea Ponds, USGS Information Collection Clearance Officer, 2150-C Center Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80525 by mail or by email to pponds@usgs.gov. Please reference Information Collection 1028-0060 in the subject line.
[Wednesday, May 27 (Vol. 74, No. 100)]

MMS—The Mineral Management Service (MMS) proposes to update and streamline the existing Outer Continental Shelf leasing regulations, and to clarify implementation of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Simplification and Fairness Act of 1996. The rule would reorganize and reorder leasing requirements to reflect the leasing process more efficiently, as it has evolved over the last 26 years. The rule also proposes changes to parts 250 and 260 that relate to the proposed revisions to part 256. Please submit comments by September 24, 2009 by mail to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Regulations and Standards Branch (RSB); 381 Elden Street, MS-4024, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference “Leasing of Sulphur or Oil and Gas and Bonding Requirements in the Outer Continental Shelf, 1010-AD06” in your comments and include your name and return address.
[Wednesday, May 27 (Vol. 74, No. 100)]

EPA-—On May 6, 2009, EPA proposed amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry. EPA has received a request from a major environmental group to schedule additional public hearings and to schedule those hearings later than the original public hearing date. Given the significant public interest in this rule and to further public participation opportunities, EPA is granting the request and has scheduled three public hearings. These hearings will occur in Los Angeles, California on June 16, 2009, Dallas, Texas on June 17, 2009, and Arlington, Virginia on June 18, 2009. In addition, EPA is extending the deadline for written comments on the proposed amendments to September 4, 2009. Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0051, online at: http://www.regulations.gov: or by email to: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov.
[Tuesday, June 9 (Vol. 74, No. 109)]

MMS—The MMS proposes to require operators to develop and implement a Safety and Environmental Management System to address oil and gas operations in the Outer Continental Shelf. The Safety and Environmental Management System would consist of four elements--Hazards Analysis, Management of Change, Operating Procedures, and Mechanical Integrity--that, until now, have not been covered in regulations. The MMS believes that requiring operators to implement a Safety and Environmental Management System will reduce the risk and number of accidents, injuries, and spills during Outer Continental Shelf activities. Please submit comments by September 15, 2009 by mail to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Regulations and Standards Branch (RSB); 381 Elden Street, MS-4024, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference “Safety and Environmental Management Systems for Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Operations, 1010-AD15” in your comments and include your name and return address.
[Wednesday, June 17 (Vol. 74, No. 115)]

JSOST—In January 2007, the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (JSOST) published “Charting the Course for Ocean Science in the United States for the Next Decade: An Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy” (Charting the Course). “Charting the Course” was based on input gathered from public and private sources over a period of several months, and it has provided a basis for coordinated ocean science and technology investments. In view of scientific advancements and recognition of new ocean management challenges, the JSOST is embarking on an effort to update and refresh “Charting the Course.” This notice solicits public input to inform the drafting of an updated “Charting the Course.” Please submit comments by July 17, 2009 via email to comments@jsost.org.
[Monday, June 22 (Vol. 74, No. 118)]

EPA—EPA is revising the area source category list by changing the name of the “Secondary Aluminum Production” category to “Aluminum Foundries” and the “Nonferrous Foundries, not elsewhere classified (nec)” category to “Other Nonferrous Foundries.” At the same time, EPA is issuing final national emission standards for the Aluminum Foundries, Copper Foundries, and Other Nonferrous Foundries area source categories. These final emission standards for new and existing sources reflect EPA's determination regarding the generally available control technologies or management practices (GACT) for each of the three area source categories. The final rule is effective on June 25, 2009. EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0236. All documents in the docket are listed in the Federal Docket Management System index at http://www.regulations.gov.
[Thursday, June 25 (Vol. 74, No. 121)]

DOC—The Department of Commerce (DOC) will host a half-day roundtable for industry participants during which senior government officials outline the draft negotiation text of a new agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), provide updates on recent developments, and solicit individual input from participants. The purpose of the industry roundtable is to allow private sector stakeholders, particularly industry and trade associations, to advise U.S. officials on the impact a new UNFCCC agreement could have on their respective operations and on associated commercial opportunities. The DOC anticipates additional outreach events will be held throughout the U.S. The first event is scheduled for July 16, 2009 in Washington, D.C. To apply to participate in the roundtable, please contact Brian O'Hanlon by phone (202-482-3492) or email (brian.ohanlon@mail.doc.gov).
[Friday, June 26 (Vol. 74, No. 122)]

CEQ—The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is considering uniform planning standards for the development of water resources that would apply to all government agencies, including agencies not previously covered under the Principles and Guidelines like: the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA), and Tennessee Valley Authority. The purpose of this notice is for those interested to submit suggestions for revising the Principles and Guidelines. Using that input, CEQ will release a draft for public comments and review by the National Academy of Sciences. CEQ will hold a Webinar to hear public comment on recommendations on July 13, 2009, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Written suggestions are accepted now through the end of the business day, July 17, 2009. Suggestions should be submitted in writing to the Council on Environmental Quality, Attn: Terry Breyman, 722 Jackson Place, NW., Washington, DC 20503 or e-mail to P&G@ceq.eop.gov or fax 202-456-6546.
[Wednesday, July 1 (Vol. 74, No. 125)]

32. Key AGI Government Affairs Updates

·  Hearings on FY 2010 Appropriations: NOAA (6-30-09)
·  Hearings on Mining, Mapping, Soils and Other Issues (6-30-09)
·  Hearings on FY 2010 Appropriations: Interior (6-30-09)
·  Energy Policy (6-30-09)
·  Climate Change Policy (6-29-09)
·  FY 2010 Appropriations: EPA (6-26-09)
·  Hearings on Water and Oceans Policy (6-24-09)
·  Hearings on Earth Observations (6-22-09)
·  Hearings on Nuclear Energy/Waste Issues (6-22-09)
·  Hearings on Energy (6-19-09)
·  Hearings on Climate Change (6-19-09)
·  Education, R&D and Workforce Policy (6-18-09)
·  Hearings on Natural Hazards (6-16-09)
·  Energy Policy (6-16-09)
·  Hearings on Federal Agencies (6-12-09)
·  Hearings on Data (6-12-09)
·  Hearings on Education, R&D, and Workforce Policy (6-12-09)
·  Hearings on FY 2010 Appropriations: EPA (6-5-09)

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Monthly Review prepared by Corina Cerovski-Darriau and Linda Rowan, Staff of Government Affairs Program; Stephanie Praus, 2009 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern; and Rachel Potter, 2009 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern.

Sources: Greenwire, Associated Press, Environment and Energy Daily, New York Times, Washington Post, National Academies Press, American Institute of Physics, Government Accountability Office, Thomas, House of Representatives, U.S. Senate and the White House.

************************************************************************
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 geosciences 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.

TO SUBSCRIBE OR UNSUBSCRIBE TO THE GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM MONTHLY REVIEW, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL WITH YOUR REQUEST AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO GOVT@AGIWEB.ORG

Posted July 2, 2009.

 

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