Monthly Review: October 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.
***Administration News and Updates***
- White House Sponsors Science Activities
- White House Launches Agency Challenge Web Site
- Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force Releases Report
- Update on BP Oil Spill Investigations
***Congressional News and Updates***
- Congressman Questions Scientific Integrity In Relation to the Oil Spill Response
- Climate Legislation Stymied by Disagreement in Election Year
- Funding for Oceans Research
- Bingaman Floats Energy Measures for Lame Duck
- UN Convention on Biological Diversity Proposes Geoengineering Ban
***Federal Agency News and Updates***
- Showdown Unfolds Over Yucca Mountain Saga
- U.S. Military Pushes for Renewable Energy
- EPA Rehabilitates Brownfields with Renewables Project
- Global Methane Initiative Launched
- U.S. Partners with Iceland on Geothermal Research
- Interior Announces Water Census and Climate Change Initiatives
- USGS Chairs International Charter for Space and Major Disasters
- Reorganization at NIST
***Other News and Updates***
- China Restricts REE Exports
- China and U.S. Spar over Climate Talks
- Economists Question Studies Claiming EPA Regulations Would Harm Economy
- Virginia Attorney General Targets Climate Scientist Again
- Update on BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative on Oil Spill
- Europe Increases R&D Investment
- AGU Spring Public Affairs Internship
- Key Reports and Publications
- Key Federal Register Notices
- Key AGI Government Affairs Updates
1. White House Sponsors Science Activities
The week of October 18, 2010, was a momentous one for White House support of science. On October 18, the White House Science Fair saw dozens of middle and high school students presenting award-winning science fair projects in the State Dining Room. President Obama personally surveyed the projects, which included a solar-powered car and a water-conserving smart toilet, before giving the keynote address. The fair was part of the White House’s efforts to boost American students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
The following weekend, on October 23 and 24, the U.S.A. Science and Engineering Festival convened on the National Mall. An estimated half a million visitors had fun learning about science and engineering. Activities appealed to a broad range of interests and educational levels and were meant to provide take-away lessons and encourage critical thinking. The American Geological Institute shared a booth with the Geological Society of America, which featured hands-on activities related to earthquakes. Other member societies with booths included the American Geophysical Union (Earth in Space), the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (The Greatest Labs on Earth: Lakes, Streams, and Oceans), the National Earth Science Teachers Association (Learning About Earth and Space Can Be Fun!), the Paleontological Research Institution/Museum of the Earth (Exploring Ancient Seas), the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (Rocks Can Do What?) and the Soil Science Society of America (What’s a Four-Letter Word for Dirt?).
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John Holdren and other OSTP staffers spent Saturday morning sampling the festival offerings, which were sponsored by an array of public and private partners, including Lockheed Martin, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Academy of Sciences, as well as many universities and a group of Nobel Laureates. The event also billed figures in popular science, including Bill Nye the Science Guy and the cast of Mythbusters.
President Obama also announced the winners of the National Medal of Science, two of which work in the geosciences. Warren M. Washington is a renowned atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who has pioneered computer modeling of climate change predictions. Marye Anne Fox, now Chancellor at the University of California, San Diego, is a physical organic chemist whose work focuses on environmental remediation. The prize is the most prestigious award in American science.
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2. White House Launches Agency Challenge Web Site
The White House has released a new web site, Challenge.gov, which allows government agencies to post problems and challenge members of the public to solve them. This results-oriented initiative aims to spur innovation and creativity. So far, more than twenty agencies have posted challenges, including NASA, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Authors of winning submissions receive recognition, and sometimes prizes. A challenge posted by NASA seeks a robot prototype that can locate and retrieve geologic samples in varied terrain without human control, for a prize of $1.5 million.
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3. Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force Releases Report
The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force announced in a press release on October 14, 2010, the completion of their progress report, titled Recommended Actions in Support of a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. The Task Force is chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and includes representatives from twenty different government agencies. While supporting efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and promoting green industry, the Task Force acknowledges that average temperatures are already rising and some amount of climate change is unavoidable. In order to prevent disastrous consequences, the nation will require a coordinated plan to adapt to new climatic conditions.
The report emphasizes the need for the federal agencies to consider adaptation in all of their planning processes, ensuring that federal investments will have lasting value, and to integrate their efforts and decision-making with other federal, state, and local agencies. Planning and decision-making must be based on the best available science. The public should have ready access to accurate and comprehensible information on climate change and adaptation, both for community preparedness and to direct private investment. As coastal communities will be particularly affected as sea levels rise, the insurance industry will have to reassess risk and adjust its policies accordingly. The challenge of adaptation will have to be considered on an ecosystem scale, rather than as isolated effects.
Climate change adaptation also has international significance. Many developing countries benefitting from U.S. foreign aid will be significantly affected by climate change, and, according to the report, it is the responsibility of the U.S. and international aid agencies to direct funds towards programs that will make recipients less vulnerable to climate change. International collaboration will be critical, as many systems affected by climate change, such as the ocean and the atmosphere, do not respect national boundaries.
The Task Force’s Interim Report, released on March 16, 2010, is available here. The next report, documenting progress toward implementing these recommendations, will be available in October of 2011.
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4. Update on BP Oil Spill Investigations
In the most significant update from the investigations of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the chief counsel of the presidential commission, Fred Bartlit, Jr., released a letter to the commission on October 27 blaming Halliburton for using a cement mix in the Macondo exploratory well that the company knew was unstable. The letter details laboratory tests conducted on the cement mix two months before the spill showing the mix was unstable. Bartlit indicates that the cement mix probably did not work and therefore was unable to prevent hydrocarbons from entering the well bore. Bartlit does not fault the cement mix as the primary reason for the accident and the ongoing investigation continues to consider many factors. The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling will hold a public meeting on November 9, 2010.
The joint investigation by the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard has been granted a 60-day extension. The joint federal investigation report was originally due in January of 2011, but now will be due in March. The investigators requested more time to complete forensic tests and to hold public hearings. More information about the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation is available online.
The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council committee on “Analysis of Causes of Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill to Identify Measures to Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future” continues their work, but have not released any interim reports.
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5. Congressman Questions Scientific Integrity In Relation to Oil Spill Response
Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA), Ranking Member of the Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, sent a letter on October 28, 2010, to Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), criticizing OSTP for failing to comply with a presidential directive. On March 9, 2009, President Obama requested OSTP to prepare recommendations on scientific integrity within 120 days, but OSTP has not yet produced a report. Broun mentions several examples of scientific integrity issues within the federal government related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and he calls for OSTP to complete the report. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a lawsuit in October against OSTP for not providing records related to draft recommendations on scientific integrity, and other groups have also called for the completion of the report.
A separate letter, sent the same day by Broun, requests all records regarding BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) from OSTP. Broun expresses frustration about a lack of transparency and cooperation from the White House. Broun also sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, asking for all records related to a report, titled “Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development in the Outer Continental Shelf.” The congressman is concerned that Salazar misrepresented peer-reviewed recommendations in the report.
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6. Climate Legislation Stymied by Disagreement in Election Year
Climate legislation has been abandoned for the 111th Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced in September. Two prominent bills were drafted in the spring, including a cap and trade bill supported by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and a cap and dividend bill (S. 2877) sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The cap and trade bill garnered particular media interest as a possible bipartisan measure, with loans for nuclear power, expansion of offshore drilling, and natural gas incentives. The bill faltered in April when Graham left the coalition after a dispute with Reid. In July, Reid attempted to graft the Kerry-Lieberman bill to a measure for oil spill response, but withdrew the attempt when he failed to gain enough support among senators.
For a more detailed summary of climate legislation in the Senate and international action on climate issues, please see AGI’s Climate Change Policy Page. Text of the unreleased Kerry-Lieberman bill, the American Power Act, is available from Kerry’s Senate website, while text of the Cantwell-Collins bill, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act (S. 2877), is available from Thomas.
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7. Funding for Oceans Research
Congress has recently been working on three bills that would provide funding for geoscientists who do research related to the oceans. The Senate is currently considering The Oceans and Human Health Reauthorization Act of 2009 (S. 1252) which was introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) over a year ago, but has now made it to the full Senate for consideration. This bill would expand the authority of the Interagency Oceans and Human Health Task Force. Included are provisions that would fund ocean and climate change monitoring projects, which would be funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Voting could occur during the lame duck session after the election in November.
In the House, The Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2010 (H.R. 6344) was introduced in September and referred to the Committee on Science and Technology. It sets up a funding apparatus within the Department of Energy (DOE) that would provide grants to researchers and facilities that are developing technology—other than dams—that will produce renewable hydrokinetic power. These grants would also fund scientists doing feasibility or environmental impact studies. The bill aims to promote partnerships with private industry in the hopes that the technology produced will be as cost-effective as possible.
Finally, the House is considering The Digital Coast Act of 2010 (H.R. 6215) which is in the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife. NOAA is interested in mapping the 95,000 miles of U.S. shoreline that are not accurately mapped. This data is critical to emergency preparedness, shipping, environmental health, and national security. The mapping will be contracted out to qualified geoscientists, while NOAA will provide a platform for data integration and promote commercial remote-sensing technologies. Mapping projects will include shallow bathymetric data, airborne elevation data, large-scale land use and land cover maps, benthic habitat and aquatic vegetation mapping, parcel data, planimetric data, and socioeconomic and human use data.
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8. Bingaman Floats Energy Measures for Lame Duck
Energy legislation may still reach the Senate floor in 2010, but finding enough time for debate will be difficult. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has supported three major pieces of legislation, including a stand-alone renewable electricity standard (RES) (S. 3813), a tax-credit package for renewable energy sources (S. 3935), and a set of energy efficiency standards for consumer products (S. 3925). The RES language has already been passed by the House in the Waxman-Markey bill, but the measure was dropped from an oil spill response package engineered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in July. Another measure that Bingaman has endorsed would create a Clean Energy Deployment Agency (CEDA) to assist in the transfer of clean energy technologies from the lab to the marketplace. With a Republican-controlled House in the 112th Congress, President Obama has called for passing energy legislation in separate parts, rather than considering one large, comprehensive energy bill.
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9. UN Convention on Biological Diversity Proposes Geoengineering Ban
Delegates to the United Nations (UN) biodiversity conference in Nagoya, Japan, in October have taken aim at the growing field of geoengineering, which they say could harm ecosystems across the globe. The group has proposed a moratorium on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SMR) projects, which had previously not been subject to significant rulemaking. Geoengineering involves such schemes as sending satellite mirrors into space to reflect solar radiation, fertilizing the oceans with iron to encourage plankton growth, and whitening clouds with aerosol sprays.
Back in Washington, DC, a mock congressional hearing at the Woodrow Wilson Institute on October 19 discussed cloud whitening, with students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology serving as witnesses. Responding to the rising interest about geoengineering, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in October, highlighting the poor understanding of how geoengineering fits into federal laws and international agreements. The House Science and Technology Committee announced in a press release on October 29 that they have also completed a report on geoengineering, titled Engineering the Climate: Research and Strategies for International Coordination, urging that the benefits and potential harm of geoengineering be studied carefully.
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10. Showdown Unfolds Over Yucca Mountain Saga
In the first week of October, Gregory Jaczko, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), announced that the NRC would end its review of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Jaczko initially cited the lack of a budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011 as his reason for closing the review. As of October 1, 2010, the government is being funded by a Continuing Resolution (CR), which will maintain FY 2010 funding levels until December 3, 2010. Following the Yucca Mountain Development Act, signed by President Bush in 2002, the establishment of a repository at Yucca Mountain is required by law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wants the Yucca Mountain repository to be terminated, as do the majority of residents in Nevada. President Obama supports the termination of Yucca Mountain and included no funding for the program in his FY 2011 budget request.
The five-member NRC is reviewing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) authority to withdraw the license, which the DOE attempted this summer at President Obama’s request. The review follows an appeal by DOE of a ruling by the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) that only Congress, through legislation, could withdraw the application for a license.
South Carolina and Washington, which have significant temporary nuclear waste sites, and others are now suing to overturn Jaczko’s decision, alleging that he lacks the necessary authority to make that decision alone. Two memos calling for a vote on the licensing procedure from Commissioner William Ostendorff reveal dissent within the NRC.
Members of Congress continue to question actions taken in regards to Yucca Mountain. Two senior House Republicans, Fred Upton (R-MI), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee, and Ed Whitfield (R-KY), sent a letter to the NRC’s Inspector General requesting that he conduct a review of Jaczko’s decision. Joe Barton (R-TX), Ralph Hall (R-TX), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Doc Hastings (R-WA), ranking members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Science and Technology Committee, Energy Independence and Global Warming Select Committee, and Natural Resources Committee, respectively, sent Jaczko a letter on October 13, 2010. The letter states that Jazcko cannot end the review based on the President’s budget request. Seven Republican members of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee have also sent a letter condemning Jaczko’s decision. Jaczko continues to stand by his decision and the actions will likely be reviewed in the courts.
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11. U.S. Military Pushes for Renewable Energy
The U.S. military is now in the process of field-testing a solution to one of their biggest supply challenges—energy for operations. Transport of diesel and gasoline is a major component of supply efforts, especially in Afghanistan, and accounts for 30 to 80 percent of the load in convoys. According to the New York Times, even though the military buys subsidized fuel at $1 per gallon, transporting that fuel to remote operating bases can cost up to $400 per gallon, and additionally carries a high cost in lives. A recent report, “Sustain the Mission Project: Casualty Factors for Fuel and Water Resupply Convoys,” by the Army Environmental Policy Institute, found that for every 24 fuel convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan, one soldier or civilian contractor escorting those convoys is killed.
To address this challenge, Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, has said that the goal of the Navy and Marine Corps is for 50 percent of their fuel to come from renewable sources by 2020. Marine Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines has been deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan with solar panels, energy-conserving lights, and other special renewable technologies. While the equipment costs $50,000 to $70,000, the savings in fuel transport costs quickly makes up for it, and the independence from fuel resupplying is a huge tactical advantage. The Navy is introducing hybrid vessels, and the Air Force is converting their fleet to run on biofuels. The Marines are even developing portable biofuel plants that can produce fuel from local crops in the field. The military’s support for renewable energy could be the force that makes these technologies commercially viable in civilian use.
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12. EPA Rehabilitates Brownfields with Renewables Project
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a series of webinars on a new plan for an initiative called RE-Powering America’s Land, which would site renewable energy projects on brownfields and other contaminated sites. These sites, which are prohibited from most uses, already contain the infrastructure necessary for such projects and are connected to the grid. They could also be a valuable source of income to neighboring communities. The webinars, which began in October, will occur again in December and January. Comments on the plan may be emailed to Lura Matthews by November 30, 2010.
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13. Global Methane Initiative Launched
On October 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with thirty-seven other countries, the European Commission, the Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, launched the Global Methane Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to strengthen the fight against climate change internationally while developing clean energy and strengthening the economy. It expands on the Methane to Markets Partnership, launched in 2004, which advances cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use to supply clean energy. The EPA estimates that the program could achieve an equivalent reduction of 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in methane. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and worth international efforts to reduce methane emissions. At the launch in Mexico City, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and her Mexican counterpart requested that developed countries increase their funding for the fight against climate change.
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14. U.S. Partners with Iceland on Geothermal Research
U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Luis Arreaga and Icelandic Minister of Industry, Energy, and Tourism Katrín Júlíusdóttir have signed a bilateral agreement to boost geothermal energy technologies and use, says the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office in a press release. The agreement, signed on October 6, 2010, will allow an exchange of researchers and other resources between the two countries and attempt to identify and remove obstacles to the use of geothermal energy. Iceland, seated over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, receives 56 percent of its energy supply from geothermal sources, while the U.S. share is less than half of one percent. President Obama allocated $350 million to promote geothermal use in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and this announcement continues U.S. policy to accelerate geothermal energy use.
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15. Interior Announces Water Census and Climate Change Initiatives
In a meeting of water leaders in Phoenix, AZ, on October 20, 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Colorado River Basin will be the first area analyzed as part of a new U.S. water census. The last water census was in 1978 and a new one is critically important for understanding water quality and quantity, especially in relation to climate change and ecosystem health. In a press release, Salazar stated that the Colorado River Basin Geographic Focus Study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the WaterSMART initiative and will be conducted over three years at a total cost of $1.5 million.
Salazar also announced the fourth and fifth of eight Climate Science Centers, which will initially serve as hubs for the USGS’s National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. The fourth center, the Southwest Climate Science Center, will be based at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and will study issues including drought, the impact of people on the desert environment, and the invasion of the pine bark beetle. The fifth center, the North Central Climate Science Center, led by Colorado State University in Fort Collins, will study the pine bark beetle invasion, forest fires, decreased agricultural productivity, and habitat loss for endangered species.
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16. USGS Chairs International Charter for Space and Major Disasters
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) held a board meeting of the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters in Washington, DC, from October 4 to 7. The Charter is a global collaboration of public and private entities that operate satellites and provide free and open access to data in the assistance of disaster response. During the Gulf oil spill, for example, the European Space Agency deployed its ENVISAT to image the extent and spread of the spill. The Charter already includes agencies from the U.S., India, China, Europe, and six other nations. The addition of agencies from Russia, Germany, Brazil, and South Korea was discussed at the meeting. Russian membership in particular would add considerable new resources. The Charter board discussed a need to increase its visibility within the global science community, as it offers an excellent data resource. The USGS will serve as the chair of the Charter for the next six months and is joined on the Charter by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
For a list of member agencies, recent activations, and the text of the Charter, see the Charter’s web site.
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17. Reorganization at NIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is abandoning their discipline-based laboratory structure and realigning along the agency’s mission areas. NIST previously had 18 laboratory, extramural program, and administrative units, with a large number reporting straight to the director. This arrangement has been deemed untenable, as many senior managers found they lacked the authority and resources to carry out their responsibilities. The reorganization is expected to address that problem, while providing the Director’s Office with a senior career leadership team and enhancing accountability. Three career Associate Directors will replace the Deputy Director, and the ten laboratory units will be consolidated into six. There will be no reductions in force, and President Obama has committed to doubling NIST’s budget by 2017.
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18. China Restricts REE Exports
The Chinese government has recently been accused of blocking rare earth element (REE) exports to Japan, after a disagreement over territorial waters. China operates a monopoly on mining and extraction for these important minerals, which are used in solar panels, rechargeable batteries, specialized military equipment and other products. There have also been concerns that China has halted exports to Europe and the U.S., but these restrictions may simply be a result of export quotas. In July, China announced a 79 percent decrease in REE exports for the remainder of 2010. China could face penalties under World Trade Organization (WTO) provisions if they halted exports. The U.S. Trade Representative is already investigating claims by the United Steelworkers that China is subsidizing exports of renewable energy products.
Greater than 90 percent of REE production is located in China, though deposits of the minerals are widespread: the U.S., for example, holds approximately 13 percent of global deposits in California, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, and Missouri. None of these U.S. deposits are currently being mined, but the Mountain Pass Mine in California, formerly the largest producer of REE materials worldwide, is set to open again in 2012.
For details of international response, see the New York Times account of the embargo and Germany’s reaction. As of October 28, China has resumed its export of rare earth elements (REE) to Japan and the West.
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19. China and U.S. Spar over Climate Talks
A preparatory conference for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December meeting in Cancun, Mexico, was held October 4 to 9 in Tianjin, China. The host country took several opportunities to criticize the U.S. for insisting on greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from developing countries while not making reductions of its own. China and the U.S. have agreed to the Copenhagen Accord, which states the severity of climate change and the importance of reducing GHG emissions but provides neither formal targets nor mechanisms for those reductions. The key point of disagreement between the two countries involves plans for measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of GHG reductions. China did announce, at a side event, that it is working to develop a centralized database of GHG emissions that would be open to the public.
For a text of the Copenhagen Accord, press releases from the Tianjin meeting, and a schedule for the meeting, see the UNFCCC web site.
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20. Economists Question Studies Claiming EPA Regulations Would Harm Economy
Several economists evaluated three industry-funded studies on the economic impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new air pollution regulations. Their report, released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), criticizes the studies for failing to follow statistical and economics standards or to consider the economic impacts of new technology that would be developed in response to stricter regulations. The report is the latest release in a bitter debate between environmental groups and industry about the costs versus benefits of stricter air pollution regulations that EPA is in the final stages of implementing. More details about the tighter smog standards and the new industrial boiler regulations are available from EPA.
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21. Virginia Attorney General Targets Climate Scientist Again
Virginia’s Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli has renewed his case against Michael Mann, a climate change scientist who previously worked for the University of Virginia. Cuccinelli has filed a second subpoena against Mann, after a Virginia county judge ruled against the first one. The new subpoena demands that the University of Virginia turn over emails and other documents related to a state grant that Mann received. Cuccinelli, a well-known climate change denier, claims that Mann published two papers on global warming that have “come under significant criticism” and contained false information. The university has until the end of the month to comply with the request or return to court. Mann, now at Pennsylvania State University, has been supported by AAAS and many other scientific organizations against these subpoenas.
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22. Update on BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative on Oil Spill
On September 29, BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance issued a press release on their plans for the remaining $470 million of the $500 million pledged by BP for oil spill impacts research. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative will be administered by the alliance, which will set up a board of scientists from academic institutions with peer-recognized credentials. An equal number of board members will be selected by BP and by the alliance. The research will focus on five themes: distribution and fate of contaminants, chemical and biological evolution of the contaminants, environmental effects of the contaminants on the ecosystems, technological developments to mitigate future spills, and integration of these four themes in the context of human health.
The research will be conducted primarily by Gulf Coast academic institutions; however, “appropriate partnerships” will be allowed. The research projects will be selected using a merit review by peer evaluation as described in a National Science Board report on the National Science Foundation’s Merit Review System. Researchers are expected to comply with the professional standards described in the National Academy of Sciences publication – On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research (2009).
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23. Europe Increases R&D Investment
The European Commission tabled the “Innovation Union” measure on October 6, 2010, and issued a press release. If approved, the measure would bolster the goal to raise funding for science and technology research and development (R&D) to 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020, up from just under 2 percent currently. The measure would increase access to capital for R&D and improve other conditions that foster innovation. Particularly, the Innovation Union will focus on practical problems, such as climate change, energy, food security, health, and aging. In the process, the European Union will revamp their research structure by creating Innovation Partnerships, supporting an independent ranking system for universities, and modernizing intellectual property laws. The measure is in response to a new study, “The Costs of a Non-Innovative Europe” by the DEMETER Project, claiming that meeting Europe’s 2020 R&D investment target of 3 percent of GDP would create 3.7 million jobs and increase annual GDP by up to €795 billion by 2025.
The U.S., in contrast, spent $398 billion on R&D in 2008, which was about 2.7 percent of national GDP. Most of this total, $289 billion, was through private industry support for R&D, with the federal government providing about $104 billion and the rest coming from other sources. American R&D has averaged between 2.6 to 2.8 percent of GDP over the past decade. Eight other countries spend a higher percentage of GDP on R&D than the U.S.; in comparison, Japan spent the highest proportion of GDP on R&D in 2008, about 3.5 percent.
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24. AGU Spring Public Affairs Internship
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is seeking applicants for their spring Public Affairs Internship. The ideal candidate is a college student, recent graduate, or graduate student, studying Earth or space sciences, public policy, or communications. Compensation is $11 to $12 an hour. Applications may be submitted directly through AGU’s website, and the position will be open until filled.
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25. Key Reports and Publications
*** The National Academy of Sciences Publications***
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads
Prepublication released September 30, 2010. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation stresses the importance of increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. According to this report, the labor market will grow the fastest in science and engineering fields, which makes the participation of underrepresented populations especially important. It encourages the government, industry, and post-secondary institutions to partner with primary and secondary schools to make sure that minorities have access to STEM education and training. This, in turn, should result in economic growth. The recommendations focus on academic and social support, institutional roles, teacher preparation, affordability, and program development.
Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment That Promotes Responsible Conduct
Released October 4, 2010. This book seeks to define and describe character traits that encourage researchers to act with integrity. It finds that research institutions are very important in fostering this atmosphere, by providing training, policies, and support systems. Peer review and the regulations on research involving human subjects further strengthen this framework. Integrity in Scientific Research provides specific examples of how to promote integrity through curricula and other vehicles.
Improving Undergraduate Instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Report of a Workshop
Released October 4, 2010. This workshop addressed three questions: how to create measures of undergraduate learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses; how to organize the criteria necessary to assess instruction; and how to use this framework at the institutional level to promote improvements in STEM courses and curricula. The findings emphasized the importance of effective teaching without focusing on memorization. The workshop also found that many STEM educators in leadership roles may fail to recognize all of the tools available to them in encouraging STEM excellence.
Understanding Climate Change Feedbacks
Released October 4, 2010. In the past decade, scientists have learned many things about the natural processes that interact in a changing climate. One of the areas we need to learn more about is feedback loops. This study sets out what is known and not known about feedback loops and identifies areas that are especially critical gaps in our knowledge. It also proposes ways to monitor and evaluate climate feedback.
Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms
Released October 4, 2010. This book focuses on ways to teach science to elementary and middle school students that encourage understanding rather than memorization. Summarizing findings from the National Research Council report Taking Science to School, Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8, this book uses classroom studies and other research to make science education interesting and engaging. It gives examples of how teachers can design rigorous curricula while managing their classroom and catering to a variety of learning styles.
Hydrology, Ecology, and Fishes of the Klamath River Basin
Released October 4, 2010. The Klamath River Basin of Oregon and California is the site of a huge conflict between competing water interests. In efforts to protect endangered fish species, the amount of water available for irritation has been reduced, and the farm community has become increasingly unhappy. Fisherman, Native Americans, conservationists, and hydropower produces also have stakes in the water management plan. This book analyses two studies, from Utah State University and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, that have produced important new findings, but concludes that the studies were inadequate. In closing, it lays out a comprehensive plan to fill the holes in the data and proposes a way to balance management needs.
Managing University Intellectual Property in the Public Interest
Released October 4, 2010. This report evaluates the outcomes of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which turned ownership of R&D products over to those who develop them, rather than the government agencies providing the funding. This greatly increased patenting and licensing. Debate remains as to whether this system impedes other forms of knowledge transfer by providing the wrong sorts of financial incentives. This volume is the product of a committee formed by the National Research Council to evaluate the current state of affairs.
S&T Strategies of Six Countries: Implications for the United States
Released October 5, 2010. S&T Strategies of Six Countries explains the impact of increasing global competition in science and technology on the U.S. In the last century, U.S. national security rested on U.S. technological dominance. As that monopoly has now ended, the U.S. must look for new strategies, but it is still important economically to remain a global innovator. In order to provide a comparison, it analyses the strategies of six countries (specifically, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Singapore) that have experienced or are experiencing dramatic growth in this field, and looks for common threads.
Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems
Prepublication released October 8, 2010. This book provides an overview of the stressors associated with climate change and how they will affect the human population as it grows to a projected 9 billion by 2050 and increases standards of living. Currently, there is extensive data on variables such as ocean temperature and carbon dioxide levels, but none of these actually evaluate the impacts of climate change on people. The authors try to develop metrics that directly quantify the impacts of climate change on humans from a variety of earth systems. Panelists provided information on the cryosphere, land-surface and terrestrial ecosystems, hydrology and water resources, the atmosphere, human health, oceans, and natural disasters.
Building Community Disaster Resilience Through Public-Private Collaboration
Prepublication released October 13, 2010. Natural disasters cause many thousands of deaths and untold damage to property and the environment every year. Education and prediction are key to lessening these losses, but communities are not always equipped with the right resources. This book addresses gaps in knowledge and suggests ways to create public-private partnerships that will improve disaster preparedness and response.
Improving Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin and Northern Gulf of Mexico: Strategies and Priorities
Prepublication released October 14, 2010. Non-point source pollution is now the most pressing issue to address in water quality. Major pollutants are nitrogen and phosphorus, which frequently come from agricultural activities. This report offers recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on ameliorating non-point nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico. The four sections in the report are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Mississippi River Basin Health Watersheds Initiative, Numeric Water Quality Criteria for the Northern Gulf of Mexico, A Basinwide Strategy for Nutrient Management and Water Quality, and Stronger Leadership and Collaboration.
Management and Effects of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in the United States
Released October 15, 2010. Unlike in a normal coal bed, coalbed methane (CBM) wells are under reduced pressure because water is pumped through them, releasing methane and supplying energy. The “produced water” is then treated, disposed of, or stored. Approaches and regulations regarding this process differ between states. This book examines several coalbed methane basins in the western U.S. and describes the uses and challenges of CBM-produced water in the existing regulatory framework.
Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource
Released October 26, 2010. Geodesy, which measures the geometric shape, orientation, and gravity field of Earth, has become essential to many applications humans rely on. Earthquake monitoring, disaster response, and climate change forecasting all rely on this data. This book assesses the benefits of cutting-edge geodesy and the future needs for further development in this science, which is becoming increasingly precise. The authors’ recommendations would boost America’s role as a center of geodetic services and provide for national coordination of geodetic infrastructure.
*** Government Accountability Office Reports***
Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites: Improvements Needed in Continuity Planning and Involvement of Key Users
Released September 1, 2010. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA are procuring a new series of geospatial operational environmental satellites, called Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R). They would replace the current range, which is set to become obsolete in 2015, and are crucial to weather forecasting efforts through 2028. There have been a series of delays, and a lack of backup means that if a satellite fails prematurely, there will be a gap in coverage. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that NOAA address the weaknesses in their continuity plan and better communicate to other federal agencies changes that will affect their mission requirements.
Coast Guard: Efforts to Identify Arctic Requirements are Ongoing, but More Communication About Agency Planning Efforts Would Be Beneficial
Released September 15, 2010. U.S. strategic interest in the Arctic is increasing as the sea ice melts, leaving the Coast Guard to manage U.S. responsibilities in the region. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is assessing the Coast Guard’s efforts to define missions and desired outcomes. The GAO recommends that the Commandant of the Coast Guard should ensure that the agency maintains communications with stakeholders on Arctic issues and operations.
Climate Change: A Coordinated Strategy Could Focus Federal Geoengineering Research and Inform Governance Efforts
Released September 23, 2010. Geoengineering is beginning to attract notice as a possible remedy for the effects of climate change, principally through carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM), both of which could theoretically reduce warming. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has investigated the current possibilities of geoengineering and federal involvement in the research process. They found that nine research projects, totaling less than $2 million, are directly investigating these techniques, although others are studying related efforts. Federal officials have not found it necessary to coordinate a research strategy because the field is still so obscure. The GAO recommends that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) coordinate a research strategy and ensure that the field stays within legal limitations.
Nuclear Weapons: National Nuclear Security Administration Needs to Ensure Continued Availability of Tritium for the Weapons Stockpile
Released October 7, 2010. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Tritium Readiness Program is trying to establish an assured domestic supply of tritium, which is a key component of nuclear weapons. As tritium decays at a rate of 5.5 percent, the supply must be replenished periodically. The NNSA has faced significant technical obstacles to their efforts since 2003 and requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a review. The GAO found that tritium is leaking into the reactor’s coolant water at higher-than-expected rates at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 1 commercial nuclear reactor, causing a drop in production, and the project is characterized by poor communication between the responsible parties. They are also not expending the funds they are being appropriated. The GAO recommends that NNSA develop a plan to manage tritium release, propose alternatives to the current production strategy, and review their budget.
America COMPETES Act: It Is Too Early to Evaluate Program Long-Term Effectiveness, but Agencies Could Improve Reporting of High-Risk, High-Reward Research Priorities.
Released October 7, 2010. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is required, under the America COMPETES Act, to evaluate the effectiveness of authorized programs that aim to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and research. They looked specifically at programs at the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Their recommendation is that these agencies should set a percentage goal to fund high-risk, high-reward research and report this to Congress in their annual budget submissions, although the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and NSF have expressed concerns over this recommendation.
Intragovernmental Revolving Funds: NIST’s Interagency Agreements and Workload Require Management Attention
Released October 20, 2010. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has previously found the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to have a significant carryover balance in their working capital fund. GAO ruled that NIST needs to improve communication, reporting, and monitoring of the research grants it accepts from other federal agencies. NIST should also take care to comply with fiscal laws and not use cancelled appropriations.
***Congressional Research Services (CRS)***
Waiver Authority Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
Released August 20, 2010. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) both set targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Most of this is met with corn-based ethanol, but there are separate requirements for cellulosic and other biofuels. In 2010, 12.95 billion gallons of renewable fuels were required to be blended into gasoline. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduced by 90 percent the target for cellulosic ethanol set by EISA for the year, from 100 million gallons down to 6.5 million gallons, citing lack of production capacity and investment in commercial refineries. The 2011 target for cellulosic ethanol will also be substantially reduced, from 250 million gallons; the EPA will issue a decision on the extent of the waiver in November.
Interagency Contracting: An Overview of Federal Procurement and Appropriations Law
Released August 30, 2010. This manual describes procedure for contracting between different government agencies, for instance, if NASA were to pay the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a GPS mapping project. The relationship can be arranged as buyer and seller, co-purchasers, or a subsidiary. Inter-agency contracting is defined as “high risk” by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and is governed under several different statutes.
Clean Air Issues in the 111th Congress
Released on September 1, 2010. During the 111th Congress, legislation has focused on the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act, although all parties would prefer that Congress passed climate change legislation. This summary chronicles the climate change activities of the last two years, from the EPA’s endangerment finding, to the aftermath of several Supreme Court decisions, to the Waxman-Markey Bill in the House and the several failed attempts to produce corresponding legislation in the Senate.
The 2010 Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act
Released September 8, 2010. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) guides the process for assessing the damage and obtaining compensation for the 4.1 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) provides further provisions for the Trustees of affected states and the federal government to come up with appropriate remedies. This has caught the attention of Congress, which has proposed H.R. 3534, a bill that would remove the cap on damages for offshore facilities under OPA and establish a task force for restoration, parts of which would overlap the authority of the NRDA.
U.S. National Science Foundation: Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
Released September 23, 2010. The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) began in 1979, intended to address concerns that federal research and development (R&D) funds were being concentrated in wealthy states and universities. The program now serves 27 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) has spent $920 million on the program, which has expanded to seven other agencies. Despite this, no state has graduated from the program. This report evaluates the current state of the program, which has requested a 4.9 percent budget increase for fiscal year 2011, bringing the total budget request for the year to $154.4 million.
Continuing Resolutions: Latest Action and Brief Overview of Recent Practices
Released October 1, 2010. This report explains the current procedures for operating under a continuing resolution. When Congress fails to enact a new appropriations bill by the end of the fiscal year (September 30), a continuing resolution (CR) may be used to plug the gap. This maintains funding for the federal agencies and programs at the previous year’s levels until a specified date. This year, Congress failed to agree on a new budget in time, so the government is currently operating under a CR until December 3, 2010.
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26. Key Federal Register Notices
The full federal register can be accessed at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html.
DOI— The Oil Pollution Act authorizes federal and state stewards of natural resources to assess natural resource injuries resulting from an oil spill or threat thereof. These bodies—including the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—have filed a notice of intent to conduct restoration planning for the areas afflicted by the Gulf oil spill. For further information, contact Cynthia Dohner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at (404) 679-4000. Opportunities for public comment will be provided in future notices. [Friday, October 1, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 190)]
DOE—The Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technology Subcommittee of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future met on October 12, 2010. Minutes and a video archive are available at http://www.brc.gov. Contact Timothy Frazier, at (202) 586-4243, for further information. [Monday, October 4, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 191)]
EPA—The Board of Scientific Counselors at the Environmental Protection Agency is requesting nominations for technical experts to serve on the Executive Committee. Nominations can be submitted at http://www.epa.gov/osp/bosc/nomination.htm by November 15, 2010. Otherwise, contact Heather Drumm at (202) 564-8239. [Monday, October 4, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 191)]
DOI—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) is providing notice that they will prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement for oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area of Alaska. This is in response to a remand for new analysis by the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. To submit comments or for further information, contact Deborah Cranswick at (907) 334-5267. [Tuesday, October 5, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 192)]
DOL—The Mine Safety and Health Administration is extending a comment period for its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, on dam integrity and failure in mines. Comments will be accepted until December 13, 2010, at www.msha.gov/regsinfo.htm. For further information, contact Patricia Silvey at (202) 693-9440. [Thursday, October 7, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 194)]
DOI—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) will conduct a review of Categorical Exclusions for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Decisions. This follows the recommendations from the Council on Environmental Quality in their “Report Regarding the Minerals Management Service’s National Environmental Policy Act Policies, Practices, and Procedures as They Relate to Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Exploration and Development.” Written comments may be submitted until November 8, 2010 at www.regulations.gov, ID BOEM-2010-0036. Otherwise, contact James Bennett at (703) 787-1660. [Friday, October 8, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 195)]
EPA—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting listening sessions this fall to gather stakeholder input on stormwater rulemaking for the Chesapeake Bay, with remaining dates on November 4, 9, and 17, 2010, in Washington, DC, Richmond, Virginia, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, respectively. Additionally, a webcast will be held on November 16, 2010. Comments may be submitted online by December 7, 2010, at http://www.epa.gov/edocket, ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0817. Rachel Herbert can provide further information, at (202) 564-2649. [Friday, October 8, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 195)]
NSF—The National Science Foundation (NSF) held public hearings and is requesting comments on the draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS/OEIS) for marine seismic research funded by the NSF or conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. Comments should be submitted by November 22, 2010, to Holly Smith, who can be contacted for further questions at (703) 292-8583. [Friday, October 8, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 195)]
EPA/DOT—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are developing a new rule to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for light-duty vehicles, model year 2017 to 2025. For further information, contact Tad Wysor (EPA), at (734) 214-4332, or Rebecca Yoon (DOT), at (202) 366-2992. [Wednesday, October 13, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 197)]
DOI—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has announced a final rule on oil, gas, and sulphur operations in the OCS, laying out new measures to improve the safety of oil and gas exploration, in light of the Deepwater Horizon incident and spill. Comments are due by December 13, 2010, at www.regulations.gov, ID BOEM-2010-0034. For further information, contact Amy White at (703) 787-1665. [Thursday, October 14, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 198)]
USDA—The Forest Service is requesting comments on a proposed research and development (R&D) data archive system they would like to implement when data sets are requested, which would help them to evaluate the research programs. Comments are due by December 13, 2010, to Dave Rugg, who may be contacted at (608) 231-9234 for further information. [Thursday, October 14, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 198)]
DOI—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has added a new subpart to the regulations governing oil, gas, and sulphur operations in the Outer Continental Shelf. Operators will now be required to develop and implement Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS), effective November 15, 2010. Contact David Nedorostek at (703) 787-1029 for further information. [Friday, October 15, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 199)]
DOI—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) is announcing the availability of a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Chukchi Sea Planning Area oil and gas lease. Public hearings will be held on November 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9, 2010. Comments may be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org until November 29, or call (907) 334-5200 for further instructions. [Friday, October 15, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 199)]
CEQ—The Council on Environmental Quality has released the Final Guidance for “Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting.” Contact Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler, at (202) 456-5117, for further information. [Monday, October 18, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 200)]
EPA—The Science Advisory Board is requesting nominations of experts for the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Air Monitoring Subcommittee. Nominations must be submitted by November 10, 2010, at http://www.epa.gov/casac. Dr. Holly Stallworth can provide further information. [Wednesday, October 20, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 202)]
DOE—The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling will meet on November 8 and 9, 2010, in Washington, DC For further information, contact Christopher Smith at (202) 586-0716. [Friday, October 22, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 204)]
EPA—The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) NOx and SOx Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review Panel will hold a teleconference on November 9, 2010, to continue the review of the EPA policy assessment. The chartered CASAC will review the draft report in a teleconference on December 6, 2010. Contact Angela Nugent at (202) 564-2218 with further inquiries. [Monday, October 25, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 205)]
EPA—The Scientific Advisory Board is seeking nominations for a panel that will peer review the Draft Oil Spill Research Strategy. Nominations can be submitted at www.epa.gov/sab. Other questions should be directed to Thomas Carpenter, at (202) 564-4885. [Tuesday, October 26, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 206)]
NASA—The Earth Science Subcommittee of NASA’s Advisory Council will meet on November 17 and 18, 2010, in Washington, DC Contact Marian Norris for further information, at (202) 358-4118. [Tuesday, October 26, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 206)]
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27. Key AGI Government Affairs Updates
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Monthly Review prepared by Rachel Poor and Linda Rowan, Staff of Government Affairs Program; and Matthew Ampleman, AGI/AAPG Fall Intern.
Sources: Associated Press, AAAS, Environment and Energy Daily, Greenwire, New York Times, Washington Post, 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 Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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 email@example.com 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 November 4, 2010.