Monthly Review: July 2006
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.
Visit Your Representative
During the month of August, the House of Representatives will be
in recess and many legislators will be holding Town Hall or similar
meetings to discuss concerns and issues with their constituents. The
Science, Engineering and Technology Work Group (SETWG), which includes
AGI and many of our Member Societies, has contacted all of the Members
of the House of Representatives to request information on their Town
Hall meeting schedule, which can be accessed at http://www.agiweb.org/cvd/townhall/listfront.html?list=HOUSE
These meetings may change or more may be scheduled at any time, so
please review the list or contact your Representative's offices to
reconfirm these arrangements. We would like you to attend a meeting
and publicly ask questions or offer support for science and technology
legislation -- especially for the President's American Competitiveness
Initiative. The initiative and several related bills introduced within
the past year would authorize increases in science and engineering
for research and education. These bills must receive congressional
action before the end of the 109th Congress in 2006. Now is the time
to communicate your questions, concerns and support for science and
engineering to your Representative and to let the member know about
the priorities of their constituents. More information about the American
Competitiveness Initiative and related legislation is available on
the AGI Government Affairs web page at:
The August recess provides an excellent opportunity to get to know
your Representative and to draw his or her attention to the importance
of supporting federal investments in science and engineering. In addition
to the competitiveness legislation, appropriations for the fiscal
year 2007 federal budget for science and technology have not been
completed, so you will have an opportunity to offer input on these
Town Hall meetings are usually open to the public and do not require
an RSVP. If your Representative is not holding an open forum event,
perhaps you could attend one of their other events in the district
or set up a meeting with the Representative or members of his or her
staff. Representatives are very interested in hearing from constituents.
It is often easier to meet with constituents within the district,
and the August recess is a good time to arrange a visit.
Please contact Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Linda Rowan at email@example.com
if you would like more information about the legislation, appropriations
or setting up a visit.
in Washington DC, Please Volunteer
The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), which includes
AGI and many of our Member Societies, will organize congressional
visits for groups of scientists and engineers to voice a shared message
of greater support for research and education. There will be an orientation
and reception on Tuesday, September 12 and the visits will be scheduled
on Wednesday, September 13. This is an excellent opportunity to speak
with Members of Congress about the value and importance of science
and engineering as well as a chance to meet other scientists, engineers,
policy makers and federal agency officials. Please contact Government
Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Linda Rowan at email@example.com
if you would be interested in participating. The deadline for signing
up for visits is August 18. We need more citizen scientists and citizen
Mark Myers Says Unbiased
Science a Priority if Confirmed as USGS Director
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved
Mark Myers to be the new Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Now
the full Senate must vote on his nomination before he can be confirmed.
As of August 3rd, a date for the vote has not be set on the congressional
calendar and because the Senate will leave for a four week recess
after Friday August 4th, a vote on Myers may be delayed until September.
Mark Myers, nominated to be Director of the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS), spoke to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee
on July 20 to discuss his priorities for the USGS. "I look forward
to the responsibility of managing one of the premier scientific organizations
of the world," he said. Myers described his role as ensuring
the USGS provides unbiased and accurate scientific data for the federal
government. "One of the key challenges is to ensure the science
is focused, and ready when and where we need it
important that the science is unbiased, that it is peer reviewed and
objective, and has no agenda other than giving the information the
government needs," he explained.
In addition to unbiased scientific data, Myers told the committee
that geologic mapping would also be a high priority. "One of
the core missions of the USGS is basic mapping," he said. Senator
Jim Bunning (R-KY) inquired to Myers about mapping and how he plans
to continue this practice at USGS. Myers's response was that he would
foster state and local level partnerships to meet government and private
Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) attended the
meeting to endorse Myers's nomination. "Mark is very respected
has developed a reputation for gathering a consensus for his opinions,"
said Stevens. Murkowski added to Stevens' comments saying, "When
you look at his qualifications and his resume you say this is a man
who has given his life to science
His work in the earth sciences
has spanned 28 years, twelve of which he has served the public."
Myers received nothing but praise from senators during the hearing.
Myers's previous position was the Director of Alaska's Division of
Oil and Gas, which he held for five years. He is also a past president
and board member of the Alaska Geological Society; a certified professional
geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists;
a certified petroleum geologist with the American Association of Petroleum
Geologists; and a licensed geologist with the State of Alaska. He
received his doctorate in geology from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks
in 1994, specializing in sedimentology, clastic depositional environments,
surface and subsurface sequence analysis and sandstone petrography.
Myers earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from the University
Senate Passes Offshore
Drilling Bill, Must Now Reconcile with House Bill
On August 2, the Senate voted 75 to 21 to pass the Gulf of Mexico
Energy Security Act of 2006 (S.3711 ) that would open 8.3 million
acres in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to new oil and gas drilling. The
bill now needs to be reconciled with the much broader House bill,
the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act (DOER, H.R. 4761). The House bill
would lift the 25-year moratorium on drilling for oil and natural
gas off most of the U.S. coastline. States have the option to maintain
the offshore drilling ban within 100 miles of their coastlines.
Within the House bill, part of the federal revenue generated from
offshore drilling royalties would fund the Energy and Mineral Schools
Reinvestment Fund Act (EMSRA). Funds will be distributed to petroleum,
mining, applied geology and geophysics schools to support education
and research and to encourage the growth of professionals in the energy
workforce. Additional funds would be available for K-12 science education.
H.R. 4761 also establishes the National Geo Fund to fund geologic
mapping, geophysical and other seismic studies, earthquake monitoring
programs, and preservation and use of geologic and geophysical data.
The full text of the 2 bills is available from Thomas at: http://thomas.loc.gov/
For the Senate bill, S.3711, please see http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:s.03711:
For the House bill, H.R. 4761, please see http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.04761:
U.S. - India Nuclear
Pact Debated in Congress
A pact agreed to by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Singh
to provide India with civilian nuclear technology and materials in
exchange for greater oversight of some of India's civilian nuclear
facilities has passed several hurdles in Congress, but has a long
way to go before the U.S. can sign the pact. Committees on international
relations in the Senate and the House approved the agreement late
last month. The legislation, H.R. 5682 and S. 2429, essentially grants
the President authority to waive certain requirements of the U.S.
Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which prevents the U.S. from engaging in
nuclear trade with countries that do not allow full international
inspections of their civilian and military nuclear facilities. Under
the pact, India would allow inspections of its civilian facilities,
but not at its weapons plants. In addition, India has not signed the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and nuclear security experts fear
that the pact will encourage other nations to develop nuclear capabilities
without signing the non-proliferation treaty because, like India,
they could establish separate bilateral treaties.
Supporters of the agreement, including some sectors of the energy
industry, point out that India's expanding economy and growing population,
combined with a democratic government and market-based economy, will
allow U.S. industry to benefit from the pact. A representative from
General Electric estimated that each new nuclear plant would contribute
$1 billion to the U.S. trade balance, a boon to the U.S. economy.
Critics of the plan believe that it will allow India to increase
its weapons production, precipitating an arms race between India,
Pakistan and China. These concerns have been exacerbated by the revelations
in late July that Pakistan is building a large new nuclear facility
capable, by some estimates, of increasing its weapons-building capacity
twenty-fold. In spite of this and only days after the administration
admitted to knowing about Pakistan's new facility when they agreed
to the pact with India, the House voted 359 to 68 in favor of the
agreement. The Senate has not yet voted on their bill.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also held a hearing
on other aspects of U.S. - India energy cooperation, providing more
background and justification for the nuclear pact. The Bush administration
may also seek to build similar cooperative energy enterprises with
other nations in the future.
Please see our summaries of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
hearing, the House Committee on International Relations hearing, and
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the U.S.
- India nuclear energy agreement for more information.
Global Warming Hearings Take Place in House
A series of climate change hearings were convened in the House during
the month of July. The hearings come about a year after the Energy
and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) and Oversight and
Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Edward Whitfield (R-KY) launched
an investigation into the validity of the 1998 and 1999 "hockey
stick" temperature reconstruction and the scientific credibility
of the papers' authors, Drs. Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm
On July 19, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a
hearing on the statistical methodology of the "hockey stick"
temperature reconstructions. Subcommittee republicans denied that
the hearing was an attempt to discredit the work of the three paleoclimatologists,
and explained that research with such major policy and economic implications
should be subject to intense scrutiny. Independent reviews of the
principle component analysis methodology were completed by the National
Academy of Sciences (NAS) and an ad hoc committee of statisticians
led by Dr. Edward Wegman, and both found flaws in Mann et al.'s statistical
treatment of the temperature reconstruction data. The NAS report stated
that despite statistical flaws in the two papers, the conclusion that
the 20th century has shown unprecedented global warming is nevertheless
largely correct. The ad hoc panel countered that the papers' conclusions
cannot be supported, and questioned the peer review process and the
social networking within the relatively small paleoclimatology community.
The hearing also included some republican-led debate about whether
man-made pollution is the major cause of global climate change or
if the present warming is just part of a natural cycle.
In the House Committee on Government Reform hearing on July 20, there
was little debate regarding anthropogenic influences on global warming,
and more of a focus on what is being done and what can be done in
the near future to stem emissions of greenhouse gasses. Among the
nine witnesses that testified before the committee, Jim Connaughton,
the Chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality,
presented information on the administration's "growth-oriented"
climate change policy, and a top Wal-Mart Executive, Andrew Ruben,
gave testimony concerning the company's commitment to sustainability
and its initiatives to increase efficiency.
A second hearing by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee
was convened on July 27, with Dr. Michael Mann present to defend his
research. Mann explained that he had recognized the errors in his
early statistical techniques and had subsequently refined his methods
in later published studies. He also underscored the existence of numerous
independent paleoclimate proxy records that corroborate his findings.
Although all witnesses on the panel acknowledged that the Earth is
warming and that humans are a part of the problem, there was some
lingering disagreement on whether the warming is proceeding at an
For written testimony from the three climate change hearings, please
see the following links, which are in chronological order:
House Science Committee
Seeks Science Advice
Representatives Sherman Boehlert (R- NY) and Rush Holt (D- NJ) are
leading a movement in Congress to improve the manner in which members
receive information about the scientific and technical aspects of
current issues. Boehlert's Committee on Science heard testimony from
experts in the science community to discuss the need for an in-house,
non-partisan board of scientists able to prepare expert assessments
at the request of Congress. Until 1995, this function was performed
by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), whose funding was cut
by a Republican Congress suspicious of its political neutrality and
annoyed by its lack of timeliness. Boehlert has argued that since
OTA was cut the services they provided have not been adequately replaced.
Now members face--and must vote on--issues with complicated technical
components almost every day, so that the need for an in-house team
of experts is greater now than it might have seemed in the 1990's.
House Science Committee
Approves New Energy Bill
On June 17 the House Science Committee unanimously passed the Energy
Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application Act
of 2006 (H.R. 5656), a bill appropriating funds to several energy
initiatives. "Having reliable affordable, clean sources of domestic
fuel is a must
[We] need to develop and use [domestic] sources
more wisely," said Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) in his opening
statements. The energy research programs that would be funded by H.R.
5656 are broad in nature and include carbon sequestration, nuclear
fuel reprocessing, solar and wind technology, and hydrogen fuel cells.
The bill would also put emission requirements on the clean coal project
called FutureGen, tightly limiting the amount of sulfur, nitrous oxide,
mercury and carbon dioxide emissions.
The bill funds nearly $2 billion in energy programs. This includes
$1.25 billion in plug-in hybrid research and an additional $250 million
to fund state projects for plug-in hybrid research. Biofuel programs
are appropriated $485 million over three years. Solar technology research
receives $648 million and an additional $800 million in grant programs.
Wind power is allotted $204 million. There is also an energy efficient
building program funded at $50 million.
One controversial measure was the future of the proposed Advanced
Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). H.R. 5656 requests the
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to clarify their recommendations
for ARPA-E's mission and role in the federal government in fostering
new energy technology. Gordon offered an amendment which would have
approved ARPA-E as proposed and appropriated $3.4 billion to the program.
However, the amendment failed by a voice vote on party lines after
Boehlert urged the committee to wait until after the NAS could clarify
and Infrastructure Committee Approves Levee Safety Bill
The full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met on
June 28 to markup the National Levee Safety Program Act (H.R. 4650),
a bill to inventory the nation's levees. This bill would require the
Army Corps of Engineers to create a list of all levees, citing condition,
vulnerability, age, structure, and other characteristics related to
safety and operation. Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) cited the need for
federal review of levees. "The levees I saw near New Orleans
were only as wide as my thumb to my little finger
there is seepage under the levee walls, [which may] soon lead to another
catastrophic event," he said. This program would be the first
federal initiative to gauge the quality of levees. H.R. 4650 also
creates incentives for states to create a similar program, and for
a national board to create standards of rating and cataloging levees.
"As the experience in Louisiana from Katrina shows us, there
has never been a complete adequate review of the nation's levees,"
said Rep. John Duncan (R-TN).
An amendment sponsored by Duncan allows private sector review of
levee standards and assessments, and increased appropriations from
$10 million to $15 million per year from 2007 to 2012. The amendment
passed, followed by the passing of the bill as amended by voice vote.
H.R. 4650 is ready to be voted on by the full House.
NASA Blueprint No
Longer Protects Our Home Planet
On July 22, the New York Times reported that NASA's mission statement
was changed in February 2006. The mission statement was changed from
"To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe
and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers
only NASA can.." to "to pioneer the future in space exploration,
scientific discovery and aeronautics research." NASA's original
mission statement in 1958 was "the expansion of human knowledge
of the earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space." The
changing mission statements seem to suggest that NASA is moving further
away from understanding our home planet and its environs to focusing
on space exploration and aeronautics research. According to NASA spokesman
David E. Steitz, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin made the change
to reflect the agency's priorities as mandated by President Bush.
House Hearings Focus
on NASA's Aeronautics Program
The recent release of two studies on NASA's aeronautics program has
prompted discussion about the program's goals and priorities. Recommendations
offered to the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and
Aeronautics include restoring funding levels to their 1990s levels,
which were twice what was requested for fiscal year 2007. Some subcommittee
members suggested that NASA fund fewer basic research projects in
aeronautics and spend more resources on advancing basic research and
prototype development to facilitate their adoption by industry. Witness
testimony also emphasized the importance of improving the process
by which foreign-born scientists can work in the U.S. aeronautics
GAO Releases Report
on U.S. Tsunami Preparedness
In the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster, many questions
were raised about U.S. tsunami preparedness in highly populated coastal
regions. In response to these concerns, the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) published a report entitled "U.S. Tsunami Preparedness:
Federal and State Partners Collaborate to Reduce Potential Impacts,
But Challenges Remain." The report, released on June 5, 2006,
concludes that while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) has the technology to detect the formation of a tsunami and
issue warnings fairly quickly, the states lack comprehensive information
regarding potential human, structural, and economic impacts that could
result from a tidal wave. This is due in part to limited progress
on the creation of inundation maps that show the extent of coastal
flooding, and a lack of standardized computer software for estimating
the likely damages from tsunamis. The report underscored the need
to raise public awareness, through school and community programs,
of how to respond to tsunami warnings, and it advised local governments
to improve evacuation routes and to build emergency communications
infrastructure that would be protected from potential tsunami damage.
The report additionally suggested that NOAA create a long-range strategic
plan and define specific performance measures so that the success
of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program can be assessed.
Read the full GAO report at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06519.pdf.
More information on NOAA's National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program
can be found at http://nthmp-history.pmel.noaa.gov/index.html.
USGS Launches New
Natural Hazards Web Site
To help educate the public about the threat of natural hazards, the
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has launched a new Web site with seven
easy-to-understand fact sheets on earthquakes, floods, hurricanes,
landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes and wildfires. The hazards Web site
highlights resources and information available from the USGS and provides
links to the individual hazards Web pages for more detailed information.
The Web site and fact sheets can be accessed at
NEHRP Seeks Nominations
for Advisory Committee
The 2004 reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction
Program (NEHRP) directed that an independent advisory committee be
formed to assess: 1. trends and developments in the science and engineering
of earthquake hazards reduction; 2. NEHRP effectiveness in carrying
out mandated activities; 3. need to revise NEHRP; and, 4. NEHRP management,
coordination, implementation and activities.
On June 27, 2006, the official charter for the new Advisory Committee
on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR) was established by the US
Department of Commerce, parent agency for NIST. The NEHRP will soon
begin a thirty-day formal solicitation period for nominations. No
Federal agency employees may serve on this committee. The official
announcement for the nomination period will be published in the Federal
Register, and a copy of that announcement will be placed on the NEHRP
web site (http://nehrp.gov/) under
"Key News and Updates".
The official charter is available as a pdf file at http://nehrp.gov/info/PDF/ACEHR_Charter_Signed.pdf
of America Will Hold a Drought Forum in September
The Geological Society of America will hold a conference on drought
entitled "Managing Drought and Water Scarcity in Vulnerable Environments,
Creating a Roadmap for Change in the United States" on September
18-20, 2006 in Longmont, Colorado. The stated goals of the conference
are "to create an integrated, interactive, future-oriented forum
for understanding and improving our management of drought and water
scarcity in the United States and to stimulate national debate through
the publication and wide distribution of a science- and policy-based
discussion document." The abstract deadline was June 26.
More information is available at: http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/06drought/
to Open Access Legislation in the Senate
On July 19, the Soil Science Society of America and its sister societies,
the American Society of Agronomy and the Crops Science Society of
America sent a letter to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph
Lieberman (D-CT) asking them to postpone consideration of the S. 2695,
the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, of which they are
co-sponsors. The bill would require federally-funded researchers to
submit their peer-reviewed papers to a public access database. The
letter argued that the bill threatens the health of the scientific
enterprise and may limit access to federally funded research instead
of opening access. The Senate has not considered the bill as they
prepare to leave Washington DC for a three week recess starting after
The full text of the letter is available at www.asa-cssa-sssa.org/sites.php?a=253&b=3&c=20&d=T&e=341
More details about the open access legislation is available from
Thomas at http://thomas.loc.gov/.
Enter the bill number or title in the search engine.
Sue Subscription Distributor
The American Chemical Society, American Institute of Physics, Blackwell
Publishing, Inc., Elsevier, Inc., Taylor & Francis, Springer Science
and Business Media LLC, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and Wiley-Liss, Inc.
filed suit against against Commax Worldwide, a California-based subscription
agency on July 19th. Commax Worldwide acts as intermediary for customers
in Asia and elsewhere by handling their subscriptions. The publishers
allege that Commax engages in subscription fraud by purchasing cheaper
individual user subscriptions under false pretenses and transferring
the subscriptions to libraries and institutions, but charging their
customers the higher institutional subscription prices. The suit was
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District
Kansas Primary Removes
Some Evolution Opponents
On August 2, voters in Kansas removed two incumbent opponents of
evolution and supported two other incumbent opponents for seats on
the State Board of Education in closely contested primaries. The list
of candidates winning their primaries means that proponents of teaching
evolution in public schools will have a slim 6 to 4 majority on the
next board. Creationists held a majority on the board in 1998 and
outlawed the teaching of evolution in Kansas. They lost their majority
in 2000 and the teaching of evolution was restored in public schools.
Creationists gained a majority again in 2004 and altered the definition
of science in the state standards to include supernatural phenomena,
which is the most serious challenge to the teaching of science and
may adversely affect the teaching of other scientific concepts besides
evolution. The general election will occur in November and the new
board will then discuss the state standards once again.
University of Kansas
Sponsors Lecture Series On Evolution
The University of Kansas is sponsoring a three-month series of lectures
about evolution and intelligent design, and organizers hope it will
spark a broad public discussion. The "Knowledge: Faith &
Reason" series is scheduled to start September 7 with a lecture
by Kenneth Miller, a Brown University biology professor who says evolution
can be reconciled with religious faith. The series is sponsored by
the Hall Center for Humanities and the Difficult Dialogues at The
For more information please see: http://www.hallcenter.ku.edu/cgi-bin/cal.shtml?c=48
The Clinton Climate
Initiative, an International Effort
Former President Bill Clinton, through the Clinton Foundation, is
leading an effort by 22 large cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and enhance energy conservation. The Clinton Climate Initiative creates
an international consortium that can bargain for cheaper energy-efficient
products, share information about energy conservation strategies,
share information about greenhouse gas emission reduction and provide
help with tracking emissions
The 22 cities include Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago,
Delhi, Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid,
Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Sao Paulo,
Seoul, Toronto, and Warsaw. More cities are expected to join in the
next few months.
More information about the initiative is available at:
on Gender Challenges Bias in Scientific Community
In the July 13th issue of Nature, neurobiologist Ben Barres disputes
the suggestions of former Harvard President Larry Summers and others
that women are not advancing in science because of innate inability.
Barres points to several studies which indicate that there is no scientific
evidence to support these suggestions. Instead Barres believes that
gender-based bias is a significant barrier to advancement for female
scientists. His commentary includes anecdotes and personal experiences
from his unique perspective as a transgendered person. Barres started
his academic career as a female student and researcher, however, after
he changed his sex, he found that people treated him with more respect.
Barres challenges the scientific community to deal with gender-bias
and the barriers it imposes.
The full text of the commentary is available at Nature with a subscription
or payment per article: http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html
Below is a summary of Federal Register announcements regarding federal
regulations, agency meetings, and other notices of interest to the
geosciences community. Entries are listed in chronological order and
show the federal agency involved, the title, and the citation. The
Federal Register is available online at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont06.html.
Information on submitting comments and reading announcements are also
available online at http://www.regulation.gov.
DOE: The Department of Energy announced the availability of the Draft
Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Infrastructure Improvements
for the Yucca Mountain
Project, Nevada. The draft and electronic comment forms are available
Comments must be submitted by August 7, 2006. [Federal Register: July
6, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 129)].
DOE: The Office of Science announces an open meeting of the Basic
Energy Sciences Advisory Committee on August 3-4, 2006 in Bethesda,
MD. More information is available at http://www.er.doe.gov/bes/besac/Meetings.html.
[Federal Register: July 10, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 131)].
NSF: The National Science Board is announcing a public Federal Advisory
Committee meeting of the Commission on 21st Century Education in Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics on August 3-4, 2006 in Arlington,
VA. For more information contact Dr. Elizabeth Strickland. Phone:
Register: July 14, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 135)].
CEQ: The Council on Environmental Quality has developed a guide to
appropriately align the Environment Management Systems (EMS) of federal
agencies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The guide
can be viewed at http://www.nepa.gov
in the "Current Developments" section. Written comments
should be submitted on or before September 1, 2006 to NEPA Modernization
(EMS-NEPA). For further information contact Horst Greczmiel at (202)
395-5750. [Federal Register: July 17, 2006 (Vol. 71, No. 136)].
EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing its rules
governing fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under the Clean Air Act.
The final rules took effect July 17, 2006 and can be found at http://www.regulations.gov.
For further information, contact Thomas Cody at (919) 541-3037. [Federal
Register: July 17, 2006 (Vol. 71, No. 136)].
NASA: A meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel will be held
on Friday, August 18, 2006 from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. For further information,
please contact Mr. John D. Marinaro at (202) 358-0914. [Federal Register:
July 17, 2006 (Vol. 71, No. 136)].
DOE: The office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will hold
an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical
Advisory Committee on August 10, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. For further information,
contact Neil Rossmeissl at (202) 586-8668. [Federal Register: July
18, 2006 (Vol. 71, No. 137)].
EPA: The Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards released a
staff draft document this month that evaluates the policy implications
of scientific information contained in the Air Quality Criteria for
Ozone document, including related scientific assessments of ozone
risks. The documents can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/
ozone/s-- o3--cr--sp.html for the Staff Paper and http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards
/ozone/s--o3-- cr--td.html for the technical support documents
and staff memos. Comments are due September 18, 2006 to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.
[Federal Register: July 18, 2006 (Vol. 71, No. 137)].
DOE: Department of Energy has announced that the comment period has
opened for an Environmental Impact Statement required to construct
the FutureGen project. FutureGen will explore the feasibility of generating
hydrogen and electricity at a coal-fueled power plant, and to research
geologic sequestration of CO2. Comments can be sent to FutureGen.EIS@netl.doe.gov
by September 13. [Federal Register: July 28, 2006 (Volume 71, Number
NOAA: The comment period is open for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's draft Prospectus for the U.S. Climate Change Science
Program (CCSP) Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.2 Send comments
to Vanessa Richardson, Climate Change Science Program Office, 1717
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20006 by August
28. [Federal Register: July 28, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 145)].
New Updates to
The following updates and reports were added to the Government Affairs
portion of AGI's web site http://www.agiweb.org/gap
since the last monthly update:
* Hearings on Nuclear Energy (7-28-06)
* Hearings on Innovation and U.S. Competitiveness (7-28-06)
* Hearings on NASA Programs (7-25-06)
* Hearings on Nuclear Waste Management (7-25-06)
* Hearings on Clean Air Issues (7-24-06)
* Hearings on Clean Water Issues (7-21-06)
* Hearings on Global Earth Observations (7-21-06)
* Hearings on Clean Air Issues (7-18-06)
* Innovation and US Competitiveness (7-17-06)
* Tsunami Policy (7-10-06)
* Flood Hazard Policy (7-7-06)
* Hearings on Natural Gas Issues (7-7-06)
* Ocean Policy (7-6-06)
* Energy Policy (7-6-06)
* FY2007 NASA Appropriations (7-5-06)
* FY2007 Department of Commerce Appropriations (7-5-06)
* FY2007 National Science Foundation Appropriations (7-5-06)
* Hearings on Nuclear Energy (7-5-06)
* Hearings on Wetlands and Coastal Resources (7-5-06)
Monthly Review prepared by Linda Rowan, Director of Government Affairs,
Carrie Donnelly, Jessica Rowland and Tim Donahue, 2006 AGI/AIPG Summer
Sources: Thomas, United States Senate web sites, United States
House of Representatives web sites, Washington Post, E&E News,
CNN News, Congressional Quarterly, PRNewswire, Nature, and the Federal
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 geoscience 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
or (703) 379-2480, ext. 228.
Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted August 7, 2006.