Red snapper (Credit: Wikimedia commons)

Fishing For Change

The Senate Science, Commerce, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a third hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act reauthorization on Tuesday titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges.”

U.S. Capitol. (Credit: Jeffrey Zeldman)

Omnibus Spending Bill Passes House

The House voted to pass H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018 along a largely party line vote (211-198). Congress has until December 8 to pass bills funding federal agencies for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (thanks to a three-month continuing resolution approved two weeks ago) or the government shuts down. The House has now passed all 12 bills in one omnibus package.

US Capitol (Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Stop Gap Measure Saves The Day: No October Government Shutdown, Disaster Relief Approved

To avert a government shutdown at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 (September 30), the Senate and House both voted to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR), Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 (H.R. 601). Simultaneously, the House began floor debate on an omnibus consisting of eight spending bills, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 3354).

Logo of the Environmental Protection Agency (Credit: EPA)

EPA Now Requires Political Aide’s Sign-off For Agency Awards, Grant Applications

The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience. In this role, John Konkus reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued. According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for “the double C-word” — climate change — and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations.

(Credit: NOAA)

Federal Court Upholds Seafood Traceability Rule; Targets Fraud

Big business, lobbyists say it’s too costly to make sure the fish they sell is what the labels say it is. A new federal plan to combat seafood fraud by requiring the fishing industry to trace their catches from boat or farm to the U.S. border has survived a court challenge. The Seafood Traceability Rule surfaced during President Barack Obama’s final days in office and is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. For the first time, it requires seafood importers of species like tuna, grouper, swordfish, red snapper and blue crab to track fish entering the U.S. by species and origin.

School of Bluefin Tuna. (Credit: NOAA Fisheries)

Senator Sullivan Presses To Re-approve Law Governing Federal Fisheries

Sooner or later, Congress will have to start wading through dozens of fights that go along with re-approving the key law that governs federally managed fisheries. Sen. Dan Sullivan is pushing for sooner, pressing the Commerce Committee to start advancing a revisit of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, historically brushed up in Washington every decade or so, but not since 2007. As part of Sullivan’s effort to advance MSA to re-authorization, the Republican senator on Wednesday convened a meeting in Soldotna for a subcommittee that deals with fishery policy to hear testimony from a variety of industry leaders. State and federal government leaders were among the 14 panelists, and so were commercial and sport fish business owners.

(Credit: Getty Images)

US Government Disbands Climate-Science Advisory Committee

Panel sought to help businesses and state and local governments prepare for the effects of global warming. President Donald Trump’s administration has disbanded a government advisory committee that was intended to help the country prepare for a changing climate. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established the committee in 2015 to help businesses and state and local governments make use of the next national climate assessment. The legally mandated report, due in 2018, will lay out the latest climate-change science and describe how global warming is likely to affect the United States, now and in coming decades.

Downtown Annapolis, Md., was flooded during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. (Credit: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science/Don Boesch)

Trump To Reverse Obama-Era Order Aimed At Planning For Climate Change

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that he said would streamline the approval process for building infrastructure such as roads, bridges and offices by eliminating a planning step related to climate change and flood dangers. Speaking in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Trump said that the approval process for projects was “badly broken” and that the nation’s infrastructure was a “massive self-inflicted wound on our country.” Trump said that “no longer” would there be “one job-killing delay after another” for new projects. But he did not provide any proposal on how his much-promised infrastructure program would be financed or what it would include.

The Pentagon. (Credit: Patrickneil, Flickr)

What DOD’s Reorg Means For Tech And Acquisition

The Pentagon has released its long-anticipated report detailing plans to restructure the organizations that manage acquisition and technology research for the Department of Defense. The so-called Section 901 report, officially titled “Restructuring the Department of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Organization and Chief Management Officer Organization,” was delivered to Congress on Aug. 1.