Category: Policy News

The House Agriculture Committee passed a bill that deregulates pesticides near waterways. (Credit: Shannon Bond/USEPA/Flickr)

Pest Regulations

It’s likely that the downstream impact of chemicals is not the first thing on a farmer’s mind while battling dangerous pests. But the fact remains that chemicals applied on land do work their way into our nation’s waterways. The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture approved two bills including one that would simplify the approval and application of pesticides.

Stakeholders from the transportation sector advise the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Securityon future transportation plans. (Credit: Alfvan Beem/Wikimedia commons)

Fair Share Wanted For Transportation Spending

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.

The future of NASA will focus on space exploration, while climate and Earth science programs are uncertain. (Credit: Grevera / Wikimedia Commons)

We Choose To Go To The Moon

This week, students and coders in 20 cities across the country voluntarily gathered to collect and back up copies of federal climate data, while on Capitol Hill, lawmakers discussed the future of the Earth Science Mission at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The mission monitors more than a dozen earth science satellites that provide data on the ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere and account for about $2 billion of NASA’s $20 billion budget.

Inspectors general provide recommendations to help agencies regulate smarter. (Credit: NASA)

Listening to the Watchdogs

What good is a watchdog if you ignore its barking? Wouldn’t it be great if Fido not only warned you of trouble as it was happening but gave you a heads up about a problem coming down the road? The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to receive recommendations from their watchdogs – inspectors general – on how federal agencies can, as Chairman John Thune put it, “regulate smarter – protecting public safety and market fairness while fostering economic grown and innovation.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee agrees infrastructure Improvements are Necessary, Looks for funding. (Credit: NOAA)

Infrastructure, A Rare Topic Of Bipartisanship

“When the word ‘infrastructure’ comes up, most people think of steel and concrete, bridges and ports,” began the testimony of Mr. Anthony Pratt (President, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association) to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He continued, “But I`m here to talk about water and coastal infrastructure that is just as critical to the American economy and creates (and protects) just as many jobs, but does so with sand and sediment, roots and grass.”

House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans thwart rule change requests by Democrats.(Credit: P.D.Tillman/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Flat Out Rejection

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.

Despite swirl of controversy surrounding his blog post, former NOAA scientist agrees that climate change is not to be doubted. Graph from a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and LMI using the latest global surface temperature data. (Credit: NOAA)

Much Ado About…Data Processing And Archiving Procedures

In 2015, the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Centers for Environmental Information, Mr. Thomas Karl, published a paper debunking the idea that there had been a pause in global warming. Two years earlier, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report had found a slowdown in warming from 1998-2012 compared to the previous 30 to 60 years.

Meeting of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology lays out legislative jurisdiction and includes a promise for fewer subpoenas from Chairman Lamar Smith. (Credit: Kirt L. Onthank/ Wikimedia Commons)

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Framework For 115th Congress

It’s hard to keep up with the overabundance of news coming out of D.C., so it would be easy to miss last week’s organizational meeting of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. During this time, the committee approved their Authorization and Oversight Plan (which broadly lays out their framework for the 115th Congress) and committee rules.