The Sea Grant Association, in conjunction with Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-1) and Joe Courtney (CT-2), hosted a briefing, “Using science and outreach to assist state and local decision makers in disaster preparedness and public safety.” Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Irma, and Nate, along with raging wildfires, have wreaked havoc on the lives of Americans this year, leading Congress to appropriate $50 billion in emergency disaster aid since September. Sea Grant supports research that seeks to understand natural disasters, how humans and nature respond, and how to prepare for the future based on past outcomes.
The Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand (SECURE) American Energy Act (H.R. 4239) was discussed in a hearing by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. The next day, it was marked up by the full committee, passing along a nearly party line vote (19-14).
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be NASA Administrator this morning on a party-line vote. The committee also approved Neil Jacobs to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction on a voice vote. The nominations next will go to the full Senate for a vote. Dates have not been announced.
(Click to enlarge) Kathleen Hartnett White (Credit: Paul Morse/Heritage Foundation/Flickr) Senators from both parties on Wednesday criticized Kathleen Hartnett White, a key environmental nominee from President Trump, using her past statements on climate change and fuel policy to raise concerns about her nomination. (From The Hill/ by Devin Henry) -- Hartnett White, a think tank official [...]
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to consider four presidential nominees subject to Senate confirmation, including The Honorable James Bridenstine (OK-1) to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Dr. Neil Jacobs to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Environmental Observation and Prediction at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans held a hearing on three water bills, including the Hydrographic Services Improvement Amendments Act (H.R. 221) and Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act (H.R. 1176). The use of our ocean is increasing, and this hearing focused on two pieces of legislation that would address the backlog of coastal surveys (which could help prevent oil spills, ship collisions, and habitat destruction) and ensure working waterfronts persist through coastal development.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Interior, Energy, and Environment held a hearing, “Examining the Regulation of Shark Finning in the United States.” There are nearly 500 species of sharks, and these top predators play a key role in maintaining ecosystem balance, which allows for thriving fisheries, robust habitats, and a healthy ocean. In turn, a healthy ocean is critical to life on this planet – from supplying oxygen and food to its role in international commerce.
Two bills in COL’s legislative tracker were signed into law this month. The timely H.R. 1117 (P.L.115-69) aims to increase reliability of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) post-disaster. It requires the agency to create a plan, which includes identifying new technologies to facilitate response partnerships between federal, state, tribal, and non-profit responders, for consistent and timely guidance during disaster response.
The Trump administration rolled out a new policy Tuesday that scientists receiving Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants cannot serve on the agency's advisory boards, a move critics said is part of a war on independent science. The policy, rolled out at an EPA event by Administrator Scott Pruitt, would shut hundreds of expert scientists working in environmental and health fields at universities from serving on the boards, and would almost certainly increase the representation from companies and industry groups.
NDD United, which was established after the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) created caps on spending through 2021, works to ensure nondefense discretionary (NDD) federal spending is treated on par with defense spending. NDD United held a briefing “Faces of Austerity 2.0: How Budget Cuts Continue To Make Us Sicker, Poorer, And Less Secure” in conjunction with their release of a new report with the same title.
The Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA; P.L 109-479) reauthorization on Tuesday titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Fisheries Science.” The MSA, the nation’s primary law to regulate commercial and recreational fisheries, has enabled rebuilding of numerous U.S. fish stocks and decreased overfishing. Over the last 41 years, science-based management has played an increasingly important role, which should continue with this reauthorization.
The Congressional Estuary Caucus Co-Chairs, Representatives Bill Posey (FL-8), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), and Rick Larsen (WA-2), hosted a briefing, “Natural Infrastructure 101: What are living shorelines and how do they protect coastal communities?” More than half of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas. Urban development has contributed to the destruction of shoreline ecosystems, such as wetlands, marshes, mangroves, and coral reefs.