Category: Policy News

Big Sur coastline, part of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (Credit: NOAA/Wikipedia Commons)

Trump Signs Executive Order On Offshore Drilling And Marine Sanctuaries

President Trump signed an executive order Friday that aims to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas, in a move welcomed by the oil and gas industry and greeted with alarm by environmental groups. “Renewed offshore energy production will reduce the cost of energy, create countless new jobs, and make America more secure and far more energy independent,” Trump said before signing the document. He said previous restrictions on exploration and production deprive the U.S. of “potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth.” The order directs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review a five-year plan in which President Obama banned drilling in parts of the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.

President Trump signs new executive order on public lands protections. (Credit: The White House)

Trump Order Could Roll Back Public Lands Protections From 3 Presidents

The order, which Trump signed at the Interior Department, could lead to the reshaping of 24 national monuments, including Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Basin and Range National Monument, as well as a host of Pacific Ocean monuments, including the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends a new advisory board be established to "root out bad behavior" in research. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

U.s. Report Calls For Research Integrity Board

The U.S. research community needs to do a better job of both investigating misconduct allegations and promoting ethical conduct—or the government might act unilaterally in ways that scientists won’t like. (From Science / By...

Hurricane Jeanne affected countries around the world, including the U.S. (Credit: Kakela/Flickr)

Congress Sends Weather Forecasting Bill To The White House

After a slew of contentious hearings and controversial bills last week, there was finally something upon which both members of Congress and scientists could agree– two decades is too long to wait for updated legislation on weather radar. Yet the last major weather bill was passed in the 1990s, and some cities are still not receiving timely, critical information needed to prepare for disasters.

Homes in Tuckerton, New Jersey, were flooded after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012. A new report says the U.S. is not ready for future storms. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

Building A Weather-Ready Nation

In 2016, the U.S. had more floods than any year on record. The worst was in Louisiana, where at least 13 people were killed and roughly 60,000 buildings were destroyed, costing $10 billion. There were 91 other weather, climate, or geological disasters in the U.S. last year including severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts.

The CG Cutter Polar Star, is the Coast Guard's only operational heavy icebreaker. (Credit: PA2 Mariana O'Leary/Coast Guard)

Breaking The Ice For Coast Guard Authorization

Unless you’re golfing, being down 40-1 is not a good way to end a game, but that’s currently the score in the Russia vs. U.S. Arctic turf war. Moscow stands as the military and exploration leader at the top of the world with their massive fleet of 40 icebreakers, compared to our single functioning heavy icebreaker (a second has been out of service since 2010, and the newest addition to the fleet is classified as a medium icebreaker).

Summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). (Credit: NEFSC/NOAA)

Lawmakers Flounder Trying To Reach Consensus On Fishery Management

“We’re off to a good start. Three good bills.”

“Two good bills.”

“Two out of three’s not bad.”

The conversation heard briefly on a hot microphone after adjournment of a Tuesday hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee reflected the differing viewpoints and occasional agreement over the course of the hour. The hearing in the Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans covered two bills dealing with hydropower production and one involving fishery management.

The House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on September 21 to discuss CEQ’s Final Guidance (whose main message was that federal agencies need to weigh the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions during their consideration of project alternatives) and how the measures will affect economic and energy-related projects, permitting, and activities in the U.S. Waves crash against stairs to Broad Beach in Malibu, California, October 27. (Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Mapping The Future

“Picture running down the National Mall and turning to see a tsunami tidal wave overtaking the Lincoln Memorial. Would you be prepared?” Dr. Michael West (Alaska State Seismologist, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks) asked, recreating a similar scene that happened not long ago in Icy Bay, Alaska.

The bald eagle was once endangered, but no longer. (Credit: Carl Chapman/ Wikicommons)

Endangered Species Act Reform

Today, the bald eagle is flourishing across the United States, its population on the rise. But it was not always so. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), this once-threatened symbol of freedom received...

Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) and Lamar Smith (R–TX) (Credit: House Committee on Science, Space & Technology)

Climate Science Contention

A “sparring session,” “train wreck,” and “food fight” are not words normally used to describe activities in the halls of Congress, but they were last week. During a contentious, partisan hearing that drew accusations...