House Appropriators Advance Interior and Energy-Water Appropriations Bills – With National Ocean Policy Riders

2017-07-17T16:16:20+00:00 July 17, 2017|

President Obama’s 2010 Executive Order 13547, Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes, commonly referred to as the National Ocean Policy (NOP), is designed to protect, maintain, and restore the health of ecosystems and resources of the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes; to enhance the sustainability of ocean and coastal economies; to preserve maritime heritage; to support sustainable uses and access; and to coordinate with our national security and foreign policy interests. Since its inception, it has been a controversial topic, with Democrats lauding its science-based decision making, benefits to stakeholders, economic growth, and sustainable development and Republicans considering it as executive overreach and a vehicle for new regulations.

Climate Change: “Not A Belief System”

2017-06-26T14:09:25+00:00 June 26, 2017|

Hardly anyone would play Russian roulette with a one-in-six chance of fatality. Representative Don Beyer (VA-8) drew this analogy at a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, wondering why the United States would take a gamble on climate action when 97 percent of climate scientists agree the climate is changing. At the roundtable hosted by Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), scientists and climate policy experts discussed the scientific basis for climate action and the international ramifications of climate policies.

Does “Balanced” Proposed Interior Budget Tip Scale Towards Oil And Gas?

2017-06-26T13:47:50+00:00 June 26, 2017|

Ocean territories surrounding the United States cover 3.4 million square nautical miles – more than the entire land area of all 50 states. The Department of the Interior (DOI) has the literally enormous responsibility of “support[ing] stewardship and collaborative conservation and management” of these ocean, Great Lakes, and coastal resources. DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke defended the president’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 at a series of hearings this week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and the House Natural Resources Committee.

New Congress Means New Legislation

2017-02-27T15:22:52+00:00 February 27, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) A number of new bills introduced in this Congress were of relevance to the ocean science community. One relates to ocean acification research.(Credit: NOAA) In a scene more appropriate for a college laboratory than the Capitol building (lab safety protocols aside), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) measured pH on the Senate [...]

New Report: Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

2017-02-27T09:20:07+00:00 February 27, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has released a new report. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) Established under the Global Research Act of 1990, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has provided strategic planning and coordination to 13 participating federal agencies working to advance the science of [...]

Fair Share Wanted For Transportation Spending

2017-02-21T15:45:28+00:00 February 21, 2017|

Like a hungry group eyeing a delicious pie, stakeholders in the transportation sector are anticipating big moves from Congress and the administration, and they all want their fair share. To this end, the 115th Congress has had a busy start with several hearings focused on modernizing our country’s infrastructure.

Flat Out Rejection

2017-02-13T13:46:47+00:00 February 13, 2017|

Though Valentine’s Day might be right around the corner, love was not in the air between members of the House Committee on Natural Resources during their first organizational meeting, where the committee evaluated and adopted governing rules for the current Congress. With little debate, the majority unanimously rejected all nine proposed Democratic amendments before accepting the new Authorization and Oversight Plan and committee rules.

Cabinet Updates: Boycotts, Delays, Rule Changes, and Some Bipartisan Support

2017-02-06T14:38:47+00:00 February 6, 2017|

After rescheduled hearings, the Senate moved forward on a number of Trump administration cabinet picks in a tumultuous week of partisan showdowns and dragged-out votes. On Wednesday, 10 empty seats at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing signaled a Democratic boycott on the nomination of Mr. Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, Republicans advanced Mr. Pruitt’s nomination without their counterparts across the aisle by suspending committee rules that required two members of the minority party be present for the vote.

Smooth Sailing And Bipartisan Support For Transportation and Defense Secretaries

2017-01-17T15:00:48+00:00 January 17, 2017|

The Capitol was abuzz this week with the first nomination hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. While many of these spurred contentious debate, Ms. Elaine Chao, nominee for secretary of the Department of Transportation and cabinet veteran of both Bush administrations (deputy transportation secretary and secretary of labor), did not face significant opposition in Wednesday’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

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