Monthly Review: January 2005
This monthly review goes out to the leadership of AGI's member
societies, members of the AGI Government Affairs Advisory Committee,
and other interested geoscientists as part of a continuing effort
to improve communications between GAP and the geoscience community
that it serves.
New Congress, New Committee Assignments
New Cabinet Secretaries for Bush's Second Term
Earthquake and Tsunami Brings Natural Hazards Mitigation
IUGS Statement Promotes Applied Knowledge of All Natural
Senate Moves Forward on 'Clear Skies'
Senators Press White House on Oil and Gas Research Funds
DOE Explores Savings on Natural Gas Through Renewable
Information for Planning Washington, DC Fly-Ins for Congressional
Congressional Visits Day is May 10-11
Welcome Linda Rowan, AGI's New Director of Government
Another New Face in the Government Affairs Program
Key Federal Register Notices
New Updates to Website
New Congress, New
The new Congress has convened and has been quite focused on electing
leadership, selecting committee chairpersons, establishing procedural
rules, and considering assorted proposals to reorganize some committee
In the House, Representative Dennis J. Hastert (R-IL) retained his
position as Speaker of the House, and Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) was re-elected
Majority Leader. For their part, House Democrats re-elected Rep. Nancy
Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as Minority Leader and Democratic
Whip, respectively. Other key House leadership positions include committee
chairpersons, particularly for the House Appropriations Committee,
which is now lead by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA). Rep. David R. Obey (D-WI)
retained his post as the committee's senior Democrat. Chairman Lewis
battled fellow long-time appropriators Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) and
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) for the top post. In outlining some of his
goals for the spending panel, Chairman Lewis said: "We have a
historic opportunity and a unique responsibility to reform the appropriations
process and change the culture of the committee. I intend to lead
a committee that is dedicated to fiscal restraint and committed to
being an integral part of our Republican leadership's effort to rein
in spending and balance the federal budget." Chairman Lewis further
expressed his commitment to this objective stating: "Shortly
after I became chairman of the subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and
Housing in 1995, I conducted a top-to-bottom review of the spending
plan for that fiscal year, and recommended a package of $10 billion
in cuts - half of all rescissions that were approved after Republicans
became the majority. We reduced spending in that subcommittee by an
additional $9 billion in the following fiscal year."
The chairman has already begun to make some committee staff changes,
naming a former VA/HUD subcommittee staff director as the new director
of the full committee. Rumors of various proposals to restructure
the number and jurisdiction of subcommittees are now circulating through
the Capitol. Proposals to reduce the number of subcommittees from
13 to 10, or alternatively to add a fourteenth subcommittee with jurisdiction
over homeland security and intelligence matters are reportedly on
the table for discussion. Chairman Lewis has also stated his intent
to return the House to the practice of passing individual appropriations
bills, rather than the recent practice of combining multiple pieces
of legislation into huge omnibus spending packages. Not long ago,
Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), a member of the Science Committee and a
vocal advocate for basic research, noted that the fiscal year 2005
omnibus spending bill contributed to the deep cuts made to the NSF
budget. The size of the omnibus legislation essentially hid the cuts
to NSF until it was too late for members to act to restore the cuts.
Leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees
programs in the Department of Energy, EPA, and NIH, remains with Chairman
Joe Barton (R-TX) and ranking minority member John Dingell (D-MI).
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) retained his post as Chairman of the
House Science Committee and Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) will again serve
as the committee's ranking Democrat. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) retained
his post as Chairman of the House Resources Committee. Chairman Pombo
has already outlined his priorities for the 109th Congress, stating
that "strengthening the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and increasing
domestic energy supplies" will be top priorities. Chairman Pombo
promised that: "We will get to work right away and build on our
great record of accomplishment during the last Congress. I want to
change the debate on the challenges that lie ahead of us. The discussions
on updating the ESA and producing energy in ANWR have been so mired
in inane hyperbole that facts and true analysis have completely escaped
the debate." The chairman further stated that he would continue
the committee's "bipartisan efforts to strengthen and update
the ESA, which has posted a less than 1% success rate for species
recovery in the last thirty years." Pombo has appointed Rep.
Jim Gibbons, the only geologist in Congress, to head the Energy and
Across the Capitol, Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) returns as Majority
Leader, while Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) replaces former Minority Leader
Tom Daschle (D-SD). As the Republican majority expanded to 55 seats,
the body has reorganized giving Republican committee staff control
of 60 percent of committee budgets and space allocations. Consequently,
some changes in Democratic committee staff are likely. With respect
to committee leadership, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is the new chairman
of the Appropriations Committee, while Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) remains
the senior Democrat on the spending panel.
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the new chairman of the Committee on Commerce,
Science and Transportation, formally recently approved a new subcommittee
structure by creating a new climate change panel, an oceans subcommittee,
and a disaster prevention and prediction body. The disasters panel
comes partly in response to the Dec. 26 tsunami tragedy in Southeast
Asia that left more than 150,000 people dead. Both Stevens and Inouye
come from states hit by tsunamis and have had a longtime interest
in tsunami and other disaster warning systems.
All Republican members of the full committee with the exception of
Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and former Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.)
will chair a subcommittee. McCain was said to be interested in heading
up the climate change panel but chose to take the reins of an Armed
Services subcommittee instead, making him ineligible to chair a Commerce
subcommittee under Republican rules, Committee spokeswoman Melanie
Alvord told Greenwire. She said members are "in the process"
of choosing subcommittee assignments. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI)
is the full committee's ranking Democrat.
New Cabinet Secretaries
for Bush's Second Term
Once re-elected in November 2004, President Bush has faced the task
of replacing Cabinet members who have opted not to serve in his Administration
for a second term. In January the Senate confirmed Kellogg Co. Chief
Executive Officer Carlos Gutierrez to be the next Commerce secretary.
Gutierrez had won the unanimous approval of the Senate Commerce Committee
on Jan. 6. At that hearing and on the Senate floor, senators praised
Gutierrez for rising from the ranks of a poor Cuban immigrant to head
a major company, all without ever receiving a college degree. "Our
new Commerce secretary is a true American success story," Commerce
Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) said in a statement. Gutierrez
is expected to spend a great deal of time on issues pertaining to
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA comprises
about 60 percent of the department's budget, but few Commerce secretaries,
including Gutierrez, have had a background in the agency's portfolio.
In related news, Stephen Johnson took charge of U.S. EPA on January
26th as former administrator Mike Leavitt was sworn in as Health and
Human Services secretary. Johnson, 53, took over in July 2003 as EPA's
deputy chief. A Washington D.C. native, Johnson has 24 years experience
at EPA, serving during the Bush administration's first two years as
assistant administrator in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and
Toxic Substances. Johnson's primary focus over his EPA career has
revolved around pesticide regulations. President Bush has not nominated
a new, permanent EPA administrator. Some in Washington suspect that
Bush may delay a nomination until the Senate completes work on the
administration's planned revision of the Clean Air Act, explaining
that a confirmation battle could distract lawmakers.
The day after President Bush began his second term, former Nebraska
Governor Mike Johanns (R) was sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture.
The Senate unanimously approved Johanns for the post hours after President
Bush took the oath of office. Secretary Johanns was one of several
cabinet secretary designees that the White House and Senate viewed
as uncontroversial. The quick action by the Senate was meant to demonstrate
the Senate's willingness to work with the President.
Secretary Johanns received bipartisan support throughout the confirmation
process. According to some sources, the nomination and confirmation
reflects an agreed upon national priority to expand farm trade over
the next four years. In announcing his choice, President Bush highlighted
Mr. Johanns' experience in expanding trade with foreign markets as
a primary reason for his selection. Many in the Senate have also expressed
concern about the recent ban on U.S. beef in foreign countries and
were quick to question Johanns on the issue during his confirmation
hearing. As the former governor of Nebraska, Johanns has six-years
experience dealing with agriculture issues at the state level. He
is also quick to point out that he grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa
and has therefore been involved with farming issues since he was a
child. As governor, Secretary Johanns led state agricultural leaders
on trade missions to ten foreign countries, supported efforts to expand
bioenergy, and worked on drought relief programs. Another priority
will be reauthorization of the Farm Bill. He is expected to have similar
priorities as Secretary of Agriculture.
And finally, the full Senate confirmed Samuel Bodman as energy secretary
by a unanimous voice vote on January 31st. He was sworn in on February
1st with a private ceremony. "It is a great honor and personal
privilege to serve President Bush and the American people as Secretary
of Energy," Secretary Bodman said in a press release. "I
look forward to working with the fine men and women of the Energy
Department to advance this department's critically important missions,
including preserving America's pre-eminence in the physical sciences,
ensuring the responsible stewardship of our nation's nuclear weapons
stockpile, advancing our international nuclear nonproliferation efforts,
and ensuring reliable, secure, affordable and environmentally responsible
supplies of energy for our growing economy." More information
about Bodman's confirmation can be found on AGI's website at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/bodman_doe.html.
Earthquake and Tsunami
Brings Natural Hazards Mitigation to Forefront
Following the massive earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004,
which claimed over 225,000 lives from Indonesia to Somalia, the Bush
administration has committed to expanding the nation's tsunami detection
and warning capabilities. A new proposal called for $37 million to
enhance USGS and NOAA operations and incorporate them into a Global
Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) involving the cooperation
of 50 countries.
NOAA currently controls six buoys in the Pacific, three of which
are off-line. Under current capabilities, NOAA was unable to issue
a definitive tsunami warning until two hours after the quake struck,
when casualties were announced in Sri Lanka. The new plan would add
25 Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) buoys to
the Pacific Ocean, and an additional 12 buoys to accompany new early
warning systems in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The USGS would also
enhance seismic monitoring and delivery capabilities within their
Global Seismic Network.
On January 26th, NOAA and USGS officials were called to present their
joint proposal for a U.S. tsunami warning system at a House Science
Committee Hearing. Dr. Groat and Gen. Johnson listed the technical
operations they will expand in coordination with expanding the Global
Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Committee Chairman Sherwood
Boehlert (R-NY) pressed the need for a comprehensive approach, while
other expert witnesses emphasized the need to support effective local
and regional tsunami hazard mitigation plans.
Likewise, on February 2nd, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Committee heard testimony regarding S.50, the Tsunami Preparedness
Act of 2005. This legislation calls for more funds than requested
in the Administration's initial proposal of $37.5 million over the
next two years, authorizing $35 million for the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for every year between FY 2006 and
The bill authorizes NOAA to coordinate regional detection and warning
systems for the basins bordering the US, and to integrate these with
global efforts with the help of seismic information provided by the
USGS. NOAA would also to work with the USGS, the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, and NSF to expand upon NOAA's Tsunami Hazard Mitigation
Program, which would conduct "community-based" programs,
including inundation mapping, training, long-term mitigation and public
outreach programs, in the country's most at-risk states.
Information about lawmakers' response to the tsunami can be found
on AGI's website at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/tsunami.html.
Summaries of both the House and Senate hearings can be found at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/tsunami_hearings.html.
IUGS Statement Promotes
Applied Knowledge of All Natural Hazards
The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) issued a resolution
mid-January in response to heightened public awareness of natural
hazards following the December 26th Earthquake and Tsunami. The resolution
emphasized increased support for geoscience education and effective
distribution of sound geologic information as it called for the establishment
or improvement of regionally-based disaster management systems for
"all natural hazards."
The resolution was meant to directly address the high cost of low
public awareness of geologic principles, citing the tendency of the
international community to "concentrate on reaction to natural
hazards, rather than on preparation and their mitigation."
They recommended that "comprehensive education in the Geological
Sciences, including knowledge of local geological hazards and their
risk, become an integral part of education systems at all levels and
in all countries"
The resolution can be accessed online by logging onto http://www.iugs.org/iugs/news/iugs_hazards_statement.htm.
Senate Moves Forward
on 'Clear Skies'
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Environment and
Public Works (EPW) Committee and a cosponsor of Bush's plan known
as the Clear Skies initiative, S. 131, introduced the bill on January
24th. It has only minor technical changes from last year's version.
Greenwire reported that Inhofe, Senator George Voinovich (R-OH),
Senate EPW Clear Air Subcommittee Chairman, and the administration
are working with limited time to pass this legislation into law. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to issue a final
regulation by mid-March known as the Clean Air Interstate Rule that
sets Clear Skies-like limits on SO2 and NOx emissions for power plants.
EPA also is facing a legal deadline of March 15 to complete a separate
rule for mercury pollution from the electric-utility industry.
To learn more about the Clear Skies bill and how it would amend the
Clean Air Act, go to http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/cleanair.html.
To read the Subcommittee and full Committee hearing summaries log
Senators Press White
House on Oil and Gas Research Funds
Six members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
are urging the White House not to cut funds for Energy Department
oil and gas research programs aimed at boosting domestic production.
The move comes as the Bush administration is preparing to submit its
fiscal year 2006 budget request.
The White House sought to cut funding for the R&D programs by
$37 million in its FY '05 request but Congress restored the funding.
Now, Senate Energy Committee ranking member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is
asking the White House Office of Management & Budget to increase
funding for these programs because smaller, independent producers
cannot afford the research on their own.
The January 11th letter to OMB seeking increased funding for the
programs was also signed by Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Craig Thomas
(R-WY), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Ken Salazar
(D-CO). It cites the national security implications of reliance on
imported oil and the effects of recent high oil and natural gas prices.
The administration also sought to slash $3.5 million from the Bureau
of Land Management's oil and gas leasing program and raise new revenues
through leasing and permitting fee increases, but Congress restored
$2 million of that funding and blocked the fee increases, according
to the letter and Bingaman's committee office.
Addressing the DOE and BLM programs, the letter states, "We hope
that the president's budget for FY '06 will reflect the importance
of these activities to enhance domestic oil and gas production and
that it will contain a substantial increase in these areas."
DOE Explores Savings
on Natural Gas Through Renewable Energy Programs
In a report released in early January, the Department of Energy found
that improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable
energy could significantly lower the cost of natural gas. Researchers
at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reviewed 19 previous national
energy models, specifically tracking how the displacement of gas-fired
electricity by more efficient and renewable power drives down gas
prices. The studies generally showed that a 1% reduction in natural
gas demand leads to a long-term price reduction of 0.8-2%.
Based on these economic models, the analysts developed a "simple,
transparent analysis tool" with which they evaluated the impact
of several existing state and national renewable portfolio standards
(RPS) and energy efficiency programs, including those established
in California and New England. The projected national savings in reduced
natural gas prices in these scenarios range from roughly $1-23 billion,
while savings on the regional level are more modest.
The tool developed in the study as well as the results are directed
at policy-makers who are concerned about the domestic and macroeconomic
impacts of rising gas demand, a concern that is likely to be central
to the energy policy debate this year on Capitol Hill.
The DOE Report can be found online at http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/56756.pdf.
For more information on natural gas policy, see http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/naturalgas.html.
In January, members of state legislatures returned to their capitols
and began introducing legislation that reflects their policy priorities.
Not surprisingly given the increased public profile of evolution education,
legislators in many states have introduced measures that would require
disclaimers be placed in textbooks, require that intelligent design/creationism
be taught along side evolution, or requiring that science teachers
'teach the controversy.' Before providing an update on some of the
anti-evolution legislation, it is interesting to note that a Montana
State Senator from Helena introduced a resolution that, if passed,
would communicate to local school districts that there is a separation
of church and state clause in the Constitution and that school districts
should teach students only sound science. Not to be outdone, a newly
elected member of the Montana House, State Representative Roger Koopman
(R-Bozeman), announced his intent to introduce legislation (LC 1199)
that would allow schools to teach intelligent design/creationism.
Back in Georgia, where a federal judge recently ruled that Cobb County's
textbook disclaimers are unconstitutional, a member of the Georgia
House of Representatives introduced House Bill 179. This legislation
would require that "Whenever any theory of the origin of human
beings or other living things is included in a course of study,"
evidence against evolution would also be included. When the Speaker
of the Republican-controlled state House was asked about the measure,
he simply noted that any member of the caucus can introduce any legislation
they like. Georgia Citizens for Science Education and other organizations
that support a strong K-12 science curriculum are not taking the measure
lightly. Staying in the south, legislation introduced in the Mississippi
State Senate (SB 2286) would require that classic creationism be taught
in schools where evolution is taught. The South Carolina Senate will
again be able to consider legislation (S 114) designed to provide
anti-evolutionists with control over how textbooks dealing with evolution
are approved and adopted by school districts. A similar measure was
introduced in the last session.
Policy threats to a sound science education are not limited to southern
states. As has been previously reported, Grantsburg, Wisconsin spent
most of 2004 flirting with ways to introduce intelligent design/creationism
into the science curriculum. Following a prolonged process in which
local parents, educators, and university faculty and members of the
clergy from across the state expressed strong opposition to the district's
plans, in December 2004 the board adopted a resolution stating: "Students
are expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations,
including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses
using scientific evidence and information. Students shall be able
to explain the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary
theory. This policy does not call for the teaching of creationism
or intelligent design." While the policy is an improvement over
earlier iterations, science education advocates remain concerned that
evolution is the only area of science listed in the statement. Local
evolution education supporters have pledged to remain vigilant.
The challenges in Dover, Pennsylvania are far from over. Following
the school board's decision to approve the teaching of intelligent
design/creationism, local parents in conjunction with national organizations
filed a lawsuit against the school district. Meanwhile, the school
district prepared a four-paragraph long disclaimer statement that
high school biology teachers were to read to their classes prior to
beginning a unit on evolution. In short, citing their obligation under
the state's Code of Professional Conduct and their professional and
"solemn responsibility to teach the truth" the district's
biology teachers sent a letter to their administrators refusing to
read the disclaimer statement. The statement was, however, read before
each class by a school administrator.
The latest information on challenges to evolution is available on
AGI's website at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/evolution/index.html.
In related evolution news, Michael D. Lemonick, Noah Isackson, and
Jeffrey Ressner wrote "Stealth attack on evolution" in the
January 31, 2005, issue of Time magazine. Asking "Who is behind
the movement to give equal time to Darwin's critics, and what do they
really want?" the article warns of a new wave of assaults on
evolution education, coming "not from Bible-wielding Fundamentalists
but from well-funded think tanks promoting a theory they call intelligent
design." Noting the dubious constitutionality of teaching "intelligent
design" in the public school science classroom, the Time reporters
explain that its promoters now recommend that "schools should
continue teaching evolution but also resent what [the Discovery Institute's
John] West calls 'some of the scientific criticism of major parts
of the theory.'" NCSE executive director Eugenie C. Scott was
quoted, however, as explaining that "[t]eaching evidence against
evolution is a back-door way of teaching creationism," and the
article later suggests that "[a] look at where the Discovery
Institute gets much of its money and at the religious beliefs of many
scientists who support I.D. makes it reasonable to suspect that Scott's
assertion is correct: intelligent design is just a smoke screen for
those who think evolution is somehow ungodly."
To read "Stealth attack on evolution" in Time, visit: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1019856,00.html
To read Glenn Branch's 2004 article in Seed, which discusses the
"teach the controversy" slogan in detail, visit: http://www.seedmagazine.com/?p=article&id=100000043&cp=0
Similarly, a January 23, 2005 editorial appeared in The New York
Times entitled "The crafty attacks on evolution". It notes
that creationists have "become more wily" since banning
the teaching of evolution and teaching creationism have both been
ruled unconstitutional. The editorial identifies two strategies recently
tried out by creationists: attempts to discredit evolution, as in
the disclaimers in biology texbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, and promotion
of so-called intelligent design, as in the school board policy passed
in Dover, Pennsylvania. Both "still constitute an improper effort
by religious advocates to impose their own slant on the teaching of
evolution." The Cobb County school board wins some praise for
its good intentions in trying both to please local anti-evolutionists
and to support teaching evolution. Nonetheless, "[t]he sad fact
is, the school board, in its zeal to be accommodating, swallowed the
language of the anti-evolution crowd." Speaking of the board's
decision to appeal, the editorial comments, "Supporters of sound
science education can only hope that the courts, and school districts,
find a way to repel this latest assault on the most well-grounded
theory in modern biology." Considering the situation in Dover,
the editorial points out that advocates of "intelligent design"
have no body of scientific research and, indeed, no real research
plan, so "[i]t should not be taught or even described as a scientific
A briefer January 24, 2005 editorial in the Washington Post, "God
and Darwin," also recognizes a new level of sophistication in
anti-evolution activity, referring to "intelligent design"
and its "slick Web sites, pseudo-academic conferences and savvy
public relations." Beneath the meretricious packaging of "intelligent
design" creationism, however, the editorial finds little substance,
commenting that its proponents "do no experiments and do not
publish in recognized scientific journals." By being "very
careful in their choice of language, eschewing mentions of God or
the Bible," they have enjoyed a degree of success, but "to
teach intelligent design as science in public schools is a clear violation
... of the separation of church and state" as well as of "principles
of common sense." The editorial ends by warning that continued
anti-evolutionism is endangering American world leadership in science.
To read "The crafty attacks on evolution" in The New York
Times (registration required), visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/opinion/23sun1.html
To read "God and Darwin" in the Washington Post (registration
required), visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31521-2005Jan23.html
Information for Planning
Washington, DC Fly-Ins for Congressional Meetings
The following dates are useful in planning appointments with representatives
or senators. While in session, Members of Congress are generally in
Washington on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As expected, the schedule
of most Members is very busy during these days. Much of the time it
is easier to schedule a meeting with Members when they are in their
district or state offices. These appointments may be longer in duration,
and not subject to interruption by committee hearings, floor votes,
or other time conflicts.
Planning information for meeting with a Member of Congress can be
found on AGI's website at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/resources/communicate.html.
Inauguration Day: January 20
President's Day recess: February 21 - 25
Spring recess: March 21 - April 1
Senate-only recess: May 2 - 6
Memorial Day recess: May 30 - June 3
July 4 recess: July 4 - July 8
Summer recess: August 1 - September 5
Target adjournment date (rarely met): September 30
Start of FY 2006: October 1
Day is May 10-11
The 10th annual Congressional Visit Day is scheduled for May 10-11,
2005. The CVD is a two-day annual event that brings scientists, engineers,
researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington to
raise visibility and support for science, engineering, and technology.
CVD is an important opportunity to make science issues and science
funding a priority for the 109th congress. More information about
CVD is available at www.aas.org/cvd/.
The site contains a downloadable packet of briefing materials updated
to demonstrate the need for sustained federal investment in scientific
Welcome Linda Rowan,
AGI's New Director of Government Affairs
The Government Affairs Program is pleased to announce a new Director
of Government Affairs. Starting on February 1, Linda Rowan will take
over the program and is looking forward to working as an effective
liaison between geologists and the government. Linda comes to AGI
from Science-AAAS, where she was a senior editor at Science magazine.
Linda received her Bachelor of Science degrees in geology and computer
science/mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
She received her Masters and Ph. D. in geology from the California
Institute of Technology, where she focused on magma dynamics beneath
Kilauea volcano illuminated with tomography and the equation of state
of liquid basalt determined from shock wave experiments. She spent
3 years at NASA-Johnson Space Center studying meteorites on a National
Research Council fellowship before coming to Washington DC to work
at Science magazine. Linda looks forward to working with the AGI member
societies on issues critical to the broad community. Please feel free
to contact her at rowan at (insert @) agiweb.org or 703-379-2480 x228
with questions, comments or concerns.
Another New Face
in the Government Affairs Program
Katie Ackerly, this year's AGI/AAPG Spring Semester Intern, joined
the Government Affairs Program on January 11th. She graduated last
spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences from Williams College,
and has recently moved to Washington, D.C. from her home in San Francisco,
where she worked as a GIS mapping volunteer at the USGS in Menlo Park.
Over the next few months she will be busy tracking legislation on
the FY06 budget, Clear Skies, national energy policy, and natural
hazard mitigation efforts, among others.
Key Federal Register
Federal Register announcements regarding federal regulations, agency
meetings, and other notices of interest to the geoscience community
are listed in chronological order and show the federal agency involved,
the title, and the citation. The Federal Register is available online
Information on submitting comments and reading announcements are also
available online at http://www.regulation.gov.
NSF-NASA: The National Science Foundation is hosting a NSF-NASA Astronomy
and Astrophysics Advisory Committee meeting, open to the public. The
purpose of the meeting is to provide advice and recommendations to
NSF and NASA on issues within the field of astronomy and astrophysics
that are of mutual interest to both agencies. Representatives from
NSF, NASA and other agencies will give presentations of current programming
and discuss current and potential areas of cooperation between the
agencies. The meeting will take place on February 15-16, 2005, 8 a.m.-5
p.m. at the National Science Foundation, Room 1235, 4201 Wilson Blvd.,
Arlington, VA, 22230. Contact Dr. G. Wayne Van Citters at 703-292-4908.
[Federal Register: January 7, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 5)]
NWTRB: U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board will meet on February
9, 2005 from 8:30 to 5:30 in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss technical
and scientific issues related to the U.S. Department of Energy's efforts
to develop a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Another meeting
the following day from 10 to 4:30 in Caliente, NV, will be held discuss
DOE plans for transporting spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive
waste to the proposed repository. Final meeting agendas will be available
approximately one week before the meeting dates. They can be obtained
from the Board's Web site at http://www.nwtrb.gov or by telephone
request. The meetings will be open to the public, and opportunities
for public comment will be provided at each session's end. Wednesday's
meeting will be held at the Alexis Park Hotel; 375 Harmon Avenue;
Thursday's meeting will be held at the Caliente Youth Center; Highway
93, North 4. For more information, contact Karyn Severson, NWTRB External
Affairs: 703-235-4473 [Federal Register: January 12, 2005 (Volume
70, Number 8)]
MMS: The Minerals Management Service intends to prepare an environmental
assessment (EA) for proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and
gas Lease Sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM), scheduled for
August 2005. Interested parties are requested to send comments regarding
any new information or issues that should be addressed in the EA 1.
Comments may be submitted within 30 days of this Notice's publication
using MMS's new Public Connect on-line commenting system at http://ocsconnect.mms.gov.
or sent to the MMS e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Mr.
Dennis Chew, Minerals Management at (504) 736-2793 for more information.
[Federal Register: January 19, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 12)]
BLM: In a letter published in the Federal Register, The Bureau of
Land Management rejected the Governor of New Mexico's appeal regarding
plans to authorize new oil and natural gas leasing and development
in Sierra and Otero Counties, New Mexico. [Federal Register: January
25, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 15)]
The following updates and reports were added to the Government Affairs
portion of AGI's web site http://www.agiweb.org/gap
since the last monthly update:
- Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee's Conference on Energy
- Hearings on Clean Air Issues (1-27-05)
- Clean Air Issues: Clear Skies Initiative/Multi-pollutant Legislation
- Everglades (1-27-05)
- Political Challenges to the Teaching of Evolution (1-25-05)
Monthly review prepared by Emily Lehr Wallace, AGI Government Affairs
Program, Linda Rowan, AGI Director of Government Affairs and Katie
Ackerly, AGI/AAPG 2005 Spring Semester Intern.
Sources: American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Institute
of Physics, Environment and Energy Daily, hearing testimony, Greenwire,
House Committee on Resources, House Committee on Science, HouseDemocrats.gov,
National Center for Science Education, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, The New York Times, Time Magazine, THOMAS legislative
database, Triangle Coalition Electronic Bulletin, U.S. House of Representatives
Republican Conference, Washington Post.
Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted February 8, 2005.