Category: Policy News

Focus on Justice, Not Climate Science, In House Commerce, Justice, and Science Bill — Which Drastically Cuts NOAA Funding

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed their version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which includes funding proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During the full committee markup of the bill, which covers a vast array of other agencies and largely prioritizes law enforcement issues like terrorism, cybersecurity, espionage, the opioid epidemic, and border security, both subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (TX-7) and Ranking Member José Serrano (NY-15) expressed their appreciation for each other’s collaboration and friendship during the drafting of the bill, despite their dissimilar policy stances.

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

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.

Debate Ensues In House Committee Over Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Drilling

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon disaster oozed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking environmental havoc, turning tourists away from Gulf beaches, and costing Gulf states millions in recovery costs and lost revenue. According Ms. Margaret S. Howell (Founder, Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic), disasters like this have made East Coast residents hesitant to bring offshore drilling to the Atlantic. This idea was at the center of debate in a House Natural Resources hearing when the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources met to evaluate federal offshore oil and gas development on the outer continental shelf (OCS). One of the controversial topics explored was the potential for Atlantic coast development, which would first require seismic geological testing to determine the presence and abundance of oil. The environmental, economic, and safety impacts of both seismic testing and oil rigs were fiercely debated.

extreme coastal sea levels

Climate Change Will Increase Terrorism, Refugee Crises, Resource Scarcity, Experts Say

The phrase “climate change” typically conjures up images of drowning polar bears, melting icebergs, and eroding beaches. But did you know climate change may have been instrumental in the political instability that lead to the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram? At a roundtable discussion presented by House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) and Vice Ranking Member Don Beyer (VA-8), scientists, military experts, and international specialists described the ever-growing threat of climate change to national security. Committee members were present to voice their strong support for climate science funding and coastal resiliency.

(Click to enlarge) (Credit: U.S. Navy)

National Defense Authorization Act Passes House After Days Of Debate

On Friday, the House approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810), which authorizes activities for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security activities of the Department of Energy, in a bipartisan manner (344-81) after reviewing over 200 amendments.

The White House’s science division has largely focused in the past on issues such as biotechnology and STEM education. (Credit: The Hill)

White House Refutes Reports That Science And Technology Office Unstaffed

An official from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) told The Hill the department’s science division is staffed, despite a report saying the last three employees of the division left last week. CBS News reported on Friday three staffers, who were holdovers from the Obama administration, departed the office last week, leaving the science division unstaffed.

A true-color NASA satellite mosaic of Earth. (Credit: NASA)

NASA Earth Science Budget Alarms Senate Committee

Astronauts walking across the surface of the moon and floating in zero gravity have inspired kids (and grown-ups) for decades; these near super-humans are truly living the dream. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), established in 1958, continues to inspire the American public – and seemingly no one wants to see its funding reduced.

Islands within Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. (Credit: NOAA)

Marine Sanctuaries: Nationally Significant But Locally Controversial?

Gray wolves were nearly driven to extinction, but in 1995, they were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park. The ecological benefits have had a ripple effect and continue to fascinate scientists. National parks conserve land for future generations and protect the species that live there. National marine sanctuaries are the aquatic analogue to national parks, providing “a safe habitat for species close to extinction or protect[ing] historically significant shipwrecks.”