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Monthly Review: December 2010


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. The current monthly review and archived monthly reviews are all available online. Subscribe to receive the Government Affairs Monthly Review by email.

    ***Special Announcement***

    1. Congressional Fellowship Opportunity: Apply by February First

    ***Administration News and Updates***

    1. Administration Releases Scientific Integrity Guidelines
    2. Presidential Commission Fiscal Plan Fails
    3. National Oil Spill Commission Finishing Its Work

    ***Congressional News and Updates***

    1. Continuing Resolution Holds 2011 Budget at 2010 Levels
    2. America COMPETES Reauthorization Passes Congress
    3. Research and Development Tax Credits Extended by Congress
    4. Lead Reduction Act Passes Congress and Becomes Law
    5. REE Bill Introduced in Waning Days of 111th Congress
    6. Brief Overview of the New 112th Congress

    ***Federal Agency News and Updates***

    1. EPA Starts and Stalls on Climate Change Regulations
    2. EPA Considers Hexavalent Chromium in Water Supplies
    3. Government Considers the Twenty First Century Internet
    4. 2010 Census of U.S. Population

    ***Other News and Updates***

    1. United Nations Climate Change Meeting in Cancun
    2. Geoscientists: Join Us for Congressional Visits in April and September
    3. Geosciences and Policy Internships Available
    4. Key Reports and Publications
    5. Key Federal Register Notices
    6. Key AGI Government Affairs Updates

 1. Congressional Fellowship Opportunity: Apply by February First

The American Geological Institute is accepting applications for the 2011-2012 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellowship. The successful candidate will spend 12 months (starting September 2011) in Washington working as a staff member in the office of a member of Congress or on a congressional committee. The fellowship represents a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the federal legislative process and make practical contributions to the effective and timely use of geoscientific knowledge on issues relating to the environment, resources, natural hazards, and federal science policy.

The AGI Fellow will join more than two dozen other scientists and engineers for an intensive orientation program on the legislative and executive branches, organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which also guides the placement process and provides educational and collegial programs for the fellows throughout the year.

A flyer about the fellowship that can be posted on career placement bulletin boards is available as a PDF.

Several of AGI's member societies sponsor Congressional Science Fellowships. For further information, visit the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, or the Soil Science Society of America. AAAS offers a number of fellowships for Congress and the executive branch. The American Institute of Physics (AIP) offers congressional and State Department fellowships. AGU is a member society of AIP, so AGU members are eligible for the AIP fellowships. It is acceptable to apply to more than one opportunity. Stipends, application procedures, eligibility, timetables, and deadlines vary, so please visit the websites soon for more information.

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 2. Administration Releases Scientific Integrity Guidelines

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released scientific integrity guidelines for federal agencies on December 17, 2010. The memorandum issued by OSTP is suppose to provide implementation guidelines for a March 9, 2009 Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity and there has been a long delay in completing the guidance.  The four-page document provides brief and general instructions and leaves the details on how to implement the guidelines to the agencies.

The memorandum is divided into five parts. The first part states the foundations of scientific integrity in government work, including honesty, credibility, open access and principles for science communication. OSTP calls for government data to be accessible to the public following the Open Government Initiative. The second part primarily discusses communication of government science with the media. Science communications should be objective and non-partisan and scientific findings may not be altered by any agency officials. Disputes about proceeding with media interviews should be resolved by “mechanisms”, but the memo does not define the mechanisms. The third part discusses the role and establishment of federal advisory committees. The fourth part discusses professional development of government scientists, including how they can publish in peer-review literature and how they can work with science societies. The fifth part discusses the role of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in reviewing science-based congressional testimony. The memo concludes by asking each agency to prepare a report within 120 days on how they will implement the policies set forth in the document.

The geosciences community is encouraged to read and review the entire memorandum as the guidelines affect individuals and institutions.

Any questions regarding the memorandum can be directed to integrity@ostp.gov

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 3. Presidential Commission Fiscal Plan Fails

President Obama established a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and on December 1, 2010, the commission released a report, The Moment of Truth, which provides a plan to reduce the federal deficit. The plan includes cuts in discretionary spending, tax changes and cuts to mandatory programs, such as social security, Medicaid and medicare. The plan was criticized by many and failed to get enough commission member support to force a vote on the plan in the Senate. Although Congress does not have to consider the plan, it does provide one blueprint from the Administration for fiscal reform and some parts of the plan may be implemented in the future.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) provides an analysis of how the plan might affect research and development. The plan calls for caps and cuts to discretionary spending that would affect funds for research, however, the plan specifically requests support for “high-value research”.

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 4. National Oil Spill Commission Finishing Its Work

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling held its final public meeting on December 2 to 3 in Washington DC. The meeting covered regulatory oversight of the drilling industry; environmental review and drilling in the Arctic; oil spill containment and response in the Gulf; oil spill impacts in the Gulf; and recovery and restoration of the Gulf. A video and written archive of the meeting is available online.

The commission also announced that their final report will be released on January 11 and they will hold a public forum in New Orleans on January 12, 2011.

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 5. Continuing Resolution Holds 2011 Budget at 2010 Levels

Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 3082) and the President signed the measure into law on December 21, 2010. The measure keeps the federal government operating at 2010 funding levels until March 4, 2011. Discretionary spending would be about $1.16 billion more than 2010 levels, with most of the increase for the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration (related to the implementation of the ratified START Treaty). The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formerly the Minerals Management Service) will receive an additional $23 million for increased oil rig inspections in the Gulf of Mexico, but the increase is offset by a rescission of unobligated balances. Federal civilian employee salaries will be frozen for two years under the continuing resolution.

The 112th Congress will need to consider the FY 2011 budget as soon as the new session begins on January 5 and will need to balance their considerations with appropriations for FY 2012. Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner has suggested that discretionary spending for FY2011 be cut by about $100 billion to FY 2008 levels, however, many legislators have publicly stated that such cuts are unlikely to gain passage.

The Senate had initiated FY 2011 omnibus appropriations with a target of $1.108 trillion for total spending as proposed by the McCain-McCaskill cap amendment. This level was $29 billion below the President's FY 2011 budget request. Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies would have received about $58 billion ($6.4 billion less than FY 2010), Energy and Water Development would have received $34.5 billion ($1.05 billion less than FY 2010) and Interior, Environment and Related Agencies would have reeceived $32.2 billion (equal to FY 2010). The omnibus negotiations template may serve as a blueprint for any potential omnibus for FY 2011 appropriations in the 112th Congress. A full year continuing resolution for FY 2011 is also a strong possibility.

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 6. America COMPETES Reauthorization Passes Congress

On December 21, Congress approved of the re-authorization of the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 5116), which authorizes increases for research at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Energy Department’s Office of Science. Authorizations for nuclear energy and hydrocarbon systems workforce initiatives were retained in the final version. The Senate revised the House-initiated measure and reduced funding levels as well as cutting the authorization time frame from five years to three years. The changes reduced the overall cost of the measure.

The act requires the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to coordinate and organize public access to government-funded research, including the development of online databases of scientific information within agencies. Congress included a statement recognizing the role of scientific publishers in the peer-review process, however, non-profit science societies will need to consider the impacts of this legislation on the quality and value of their long-standing journals.

The reauthorization details many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives at NSF, NIST and DOE. COMPETES provides support and prescribes direction for the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and for Energy Innovation Hubs. The measure also includes a nanotechnology initiative and reforms the High Performance Computing Act of 1991 – both should be of interest to the geosciences community, which develops and uses some of these technologies.

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 7. Research and Development Tax Credits Extended by Congress

Congress approved the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853). President Obama signed the measure into law on December 17, 2010. The law provides tax credits for all workers and a long list of tax credits for many other individuals and entities. In particular the law extends the research and development tax credit for one year.

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 8. Lead Reduction Act Passes Congress and Becomes Law

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (S.3874) passed Congress in late December and was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. The law amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to prohibit the sale of lead pipes, solder and fixtures used for drinking water and redefines “lead free” to reduce the fraction of lead that may be used in any drinking water fittings and fixtures. The goal is to further reduce potential lead contamination in drinking water, however, the new requirements of the law will not take affect until 3 years after enactment.

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 9. REE Bill Introduced in Waning Days of 111th Congress

Senator Bayh introduced the Rare Earths Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010 (S. 4031) on December 15. The bill would establish a rare earth element (REE) materials research and development (R&D) program in the Department of Energy, authorize loan guarantees for REE mining, refining, and production, initiate an interagency task force on REE, initiate an assessment of REE resources, consider a REE national stockpile, and direct the secretaries of Energy and Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility of a REE supply chain and production cooperative among those involved in REE mining and production in the United States.

The measure builds upon two previous measures, the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010 (H.R. 6160) and the Rare Earths Supply Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010 (S.3521). Look for 112th Congress to consider critical minerals and materials in 2011, with these measures providing a blueprint of future legislation.

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 10. Brief Overview of the New 112th Congress

The 112th Congress will begin on January 5, 2011 and there are significant changes based on the elections in November. In the House, Republicans won 63 seats that were held by Democrats in the 111th Congress, gaining a majority of 242 of the 435 total seats. There will be 96 new members in the House (9 are Democrats) and 37 new members in the Senate (13 are Democrats). The Government Printing Office has created a pictorial directory of the new members of the House. On the Senate side, Republicans gained 6 seats, leaving the Democrats in control, with a 53-seat majority (including two independents who caucus with the Democrats), but the majority will be even smaller than the 60 votes needed to fulfill cloture.

On December 7, the incoming House Republican leaders announced their committee chairmanships. The House Appropriations Committee will be led by new Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) while Norm Dicks (D-WA) will likely serve as the ranking member. Key subcommittee positions for appropriations have not yet been announced.

The renamed House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will be chaired by Ralph Hall (R-TX). Space was added to the committee name to reflect the chair’s commitment to NASA and the aerospace industry.  Doc Hastings (R-WA) will take the gavel for the Natural Resources Committee, and the highly-contested chairmanship for the Energy and Commerce committee will go to Fred Upton (R-MI). Joe Barton (R-TX) campaigned aggressively to remain the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce committee, but Barton needed a waiver to serve a fourth term in the spot, and the Steering Committee declined to make an exception. The Committee on Education and Labor will be renamed Education and Workforce and the new chair will be John Kline (R-MN). Labor Unions are concern the name change is a reflection of the conflict between the Republican Party and Labor Unions, which have tended to support the Democratic Party.

Republican chairmen are expected to tighten their oversight of agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of the Interior (DOI) and to demand justification for all spending and budgets. Hastings has already asked Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to appear before the Natural Resources Committee and explain how DOI plans to address hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction.

On December 22, the incoming House Republican leadership announced new rules to be voted on when the 112th Congress convenes. Leadership will retain the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, will institute a “72-hour” rule that mandates the online posting of bills at least three calendar days before a vote, and will institute a “cut as you go” rule that requires offsets for any new spending. In addition, committees must post their rules online, provide three-day notice of markups, post votes within 48 hours, make the text of amendments available and post a “truth in testimony” statement online detailing any conflicts of interest of a hearing witness. The new leadership hopes to repeal the “Gephardt Rule” that automatically increased the debt limit when a budget resolution was adopted in the past.

The House congressional calendar for the first session has been posted and is available as a PDF.

Leadership on key Senate committees is expected to be similar to that in the 111th Congress. On the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) will likely retain their positions as chair and ranking member, respectively; John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), are slotted to keep their leadership on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

On the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will likely retain their positions as chair and ranking member, respectively. Senator Murkowski was certified by the state of Alaska as the winner of the November election as a write-in candidate after a long and drawn out challenge. Murkowski will continue as a member of the Republican party and will likely continue to serve on the Appropriations Committee.

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 11. EPA Starts and Stalls on Climate Change Regulations

On January 2, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules on regulating greenhouse gas emissions from cars, light trucks, and large industrial facilities take effect. The regulations are only for new facilities, significant modifications to existing facilities and new vehicles, however, opposition is mounting. Seven states (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Wyoming) are not ready to implement the regulations and the EPA has taken over oversight in those states. Texas has refused to implement the regulations and EPA has taken over permitting and oversight in that state. Incoming House Energy and Natural Resources Chairman, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), has suggested he may use a rare congressional tool, a resolution of disapproval, to attempt to overturn the regulations. President Obama would have to sign the resolution if Congress considered and passed it. Upton acknowledged that the President is unlikely to approve of such a measure.

The EPA will also begin to formulate rules for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants and refineries. The rules would be “modest” and their formulation and implementation would be delayed. The rules for power plants should be finalized by May 26, 2011 and the rules for refineries should be finalized by November 10, 2012. This plan is part of an agreement between EPA, states and environmental groups. EPA faces potential lawsuits from environmental groups over its failure to follow the Clean Air Act and intense opposition from industry over costs and the burdens of regulations.

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 12. EPA Considers Hexavalent Chromium in Water Supplies

In mid-December, the Environmental Work Group released a report showing that 25 of 35 cities had hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in tap water supplies above the level proposed by California to protect human health. The problem of hexavalent chromium in drinking water was dramatically brought to public attention by the efforts of Erin Brockovich, who won a multimillion-dollar settlement for Hinkley, California. The story was further popularized by a movie, “Erin Brockovich”.

The environmental group’s water testing results received immediate reaction from the public, the media and policymakers. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking for information about EPA’s water testing and EPA’s ongoing review of hexavalent chromium. A day after the letter was sent, Jackson met with Durbin, Kirk, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Senators Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) wrote a separate letter to Jackson and requested a decision within two weeks about a possible health advisory regarding hexavalent chromium. The senators from Illinois and California suggested they might propose legislation to address the issue.

EPA released a statement indicating the agency would carefully review all data before making a final decision about any new standards or testing for hexavalent chromium. The federal government through the EPA has a federal standard for total chromium that is much higher than the proposed California standard for just hexavalent chromium. EPA does not require utilities to test for hexavalent chromium, so the potential scope of the concern is not really understood. The National Toxicology Program is studying hexavalent chromium and noted in a 2007 factsheet that the compound is a human carcinogen when inhaled and may be carcinogenic when ingested. The factsheet also states that the U.S. is a leading producer of chromium compounds, used in electroplating, steelmaking, leather tanning, textile manufacturing and wood preservation.

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 13. Government Considers the Twenty First Century Internet

In December, the Department of Commerce announced an Internet Policy Task Force to "conduct a comprehensive review of the nexus between privacy policy, copyright, global free flow of information, cybersecurity, and innovation in the Internet economy" in order to preserve an "initiative aimed at preserving the global, free flow of information online to ensure that the Internet remains open for commercial opportunity and innovation."
 
In the same month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a regulatory plan for the internet, called a Report and Order or Open Internet R&O. The purpose of the plan is to keep the internet open, transparent and free from discrimination. The public has been invited to help with the rulemaking process for the past year and additional input is welcome at openinternet.gov.

Both initiatives should be of particular interest to the geoscience community given that the geosciences are heavy users of an open and accessible internet.

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 14. 2010 Census of U.S. Population

The U.S. Census Bureau released preliminary data from the 2010 Census of the U.S. population in late December. As of April 1, 2010 the U.S. population stood at 308,745,538, for a growth rate of 9.7 percent since 2000. The South and the West grew at rates of more than 13 percent while the Northeast and Midwest grew at rates below 4 percent from 2000 to 2010. The five most populous states are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. The five least populous states are Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota. The five fastest growing states are Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Texas.

The 2010 Census will be used to reapportion the House and Electoral College and to distribute $400 billion in federal aid to states. The President will submit the Census findings to the 112th Congress in January. Eight states will gain seats in the House of Representatives – Texas will gain 4 seats, and Florida will gain 2 seats while Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will gain one seat per state. Ten states will lose seats – New York and Ohio will lose 2 seats each, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will lose one seat per state.

In February and March, the Census Bureau will release detailed data to the states so the states can begin redistricting. There are likely to be major battles over redistricting, especially in states that are gaining or losing districts. The party with a majority in a state legislature will have the most influence over the redistricting and most of the states gaining seats are controlled by the Republican Party. Two related factors may affect state efforts. First the 2010 Census shows a large growth in the Hispanic population and redistricting must be careful not to harm minority representation under the Voting Rights Act. Second, the Justice Department, which is run by a Democratic Administration, decides whether laws are potentially being violated in redistricting plans.

California, the most populous state, will have the redistricting conducted by an independent commission for the first time after the state passed legislation creating the commission. It will be constructive to see if this approach is efficient and effective.

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 15. United Nations Climate Change Meeting in Cancun

Negotiators from 194 countries met in Cancun Mexico for the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from November 29 to December 10, 2010. The parties reached two major agreements (called the Cancun Agreements).  First, nations agreed to keep the average global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and acknowledged that this efforts requires more than the emissions reduction pledges by the U.S., China and others at the Copenhagen meeting (COP 15).  Second, nations pledge to establish a $100 billion annual fund to promote adaptation and clean energy in developing nations. A few details of particular interest to the geosciences include an agreement to establish a program to preserve forests (i.e., reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, REDD) and to establish guidelines for carbon capture and geological sequestration. 

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 16. Geoscientists: Join Us for Congressional Visits in April and September

Decision makers need to hear from geoscientists. Become a citizen geoscientist and join many of your colleagues for a workshop on conducting congressional visits followed by a day conducting visits with Members of Congress or congressional staff on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

The visits will focus on the importance of geoscience research and development and geoscience education. Geoscientists will speak for these shared concerns with a unified message and can enhance the message by using examples from their professional work and experiences. The Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (SETCVD) will be on April 6-7, 2011 and the Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (GEOCVD) will be in September, 2011. Contact AGI at govt@agiweb.org to sign up for visits or for more information.

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 17. Geosciences and Policy Internships Available in Washington DC

The American Geological Institute's Government Affairs Program offers summer and semester internship opportunities for geoscience students (undergraduates and/or Masters students) with an interest in public policy and in how Washington impacts the geoscience community. Interns gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and the operation of executive branch agencies while enhancing their writing, research, and web publishing skills. Deadlines for online submission of applications are March 15 for summer, April 15 for fall and October 15, 2011 for spring 2012.

The American Geophysical Union, the Soil Science Society of America, the American Institute of Physics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society offer similar internships that may be of interest to geoscience students. Please visit their web sites or contact AGI at govt@agiweb.org for more information.

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 18. Key Reports and Publications

**** Government Accountability Office ****
Agricultural Chemicals: USDA Could Enhance Pesticide and Fertilizer Usage Data, Improve Outreach, and Better Leverage Resources
Released November 4, 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) collects information on usage of fertilizer, pesticide, and other chemicals through its National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). In 2007, NASS significantly scaled back its Agricultural Chemical Use (ACU) data collection and distribution program during a continuing resolution of federal appropriations. In the following year, the program was restarted, but ACU data users reported difficulties related to that gap of information. This GAO report considers the factors that contributed to USDA’s decision. According to the report, the USDA did not consult ACU data users while it was developing its plan and did not reach out effectively to demonstrate the availability of other data sources in the interim

****National Academy of Sciences (NAS) ****
A Review of the Proposed Revisions to the Federal Principles and Guidelines Water Resources Planning Document
Released December 2, 2010. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a review of the federal government’s primary water resources planning document in December 2009. That document, Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies (P&G), has guided the water resources plans for four federal agencies since 1983. In this report, a National Research Council (NRC) critiques the CEQ for lacking specificity and consistency in its review of the P&G. The NRC calls for a more detailed review before revisions to the document are made.

 19. Key Federal Register Notices

The full federal register can be accessed at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html.

EPA—The EPA has released a rulemaking for mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases from facilities that conduct geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. [Wednesday, December 1, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 230)]

EPA—The EPA has renewed the Gulf of Mexico Executive Council Charter for an additional 2 years. [Thursday, December 2, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 231)]

DOE—The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has promulgated a rulemaking to eliminate barriers to integration of variable power sources onto transmission lines. [Thursday, December 2, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 231)]

DOI—The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the One Nevada transmission line to connect power sources and consumers from Southern Nevada through Idaho. [Friday, December 3, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 232)]

CEQ—The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has released its final guidelines for issuance of categorical exclusions by federal agencies. [Monday, December 6, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 233)]

EPA—The EPA is promulgating water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in lakes, streams, and other water ways of Florida. [Monday, December 6, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 233)]

USGS—The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) Advisory Committee is holding a conference call January 26, 2011 to report on the progress of the National Geologic Map. [Monday, December 6, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 233)]

NRC—The NRC is proposing a rule requiring advanced notification for Indian tribes regarding the transport of nuclear waste across their lands. [Monday, December 6, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 233)]

OSTP—The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is requesting public comment on its draft National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research. The draft is available at http://strategy.nano.gov, and comments can be submitted through January 6, 2011. [Monday, December 6, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 233)]

DOE—DOE is seeking comments on the supplies of Helium-3 used in the research, security and oil and natural gas well logging industry so that allotments can be set aside for fiscal year 2012. [Tuesday, December 7, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 234)]

USDA—The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is changing the model it uses for wind erosion calculations that are important to conservation programs. [Tuesday, December 7, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 234)]

USACE—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is preparing a draft environmental impact statement for its Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), and is soliciting public comment during its scoping process. More information, including a list of public meetings is available at the GLIMRIS web site. The first public meeting will be held in Chicago on Wednesday, December 15. [Wednesday, December 8, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 235)]

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 20. Key AGI Government Affairs Updates

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Monthly Review prepared by Linda Rowan, Staff of Government Affairs Program and Matthew Ampleman, AGI/AAPG Fall 2010 Intern.

Sources: Associated Press, AAAS, Environment and Energy Daily, Greenwire, New York Times, Washington Post, Science Magazine, National Academies Press, Government Accountability Office, Thomas, House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, the White House, Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Toxicology Program.
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This monthly review goes out to members of the AGI Government Affairs Program (GAP) Advisory Committee, the leadership of AGI's member societies, and other interested geoscientists as part of a continuing effort to improve communications between GAP and the geosciences community that it serves. More information on these topcs can be found on the Government Affairs Program Current Issues pages. 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

Compiled January 4, 2011.

 

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