Category: Policy News

Photo credit: Brian Turner

Suiting Up Against The Department Of The Interior

In addition to managing federal lands, the Department of the Interior (DOI) “supports stewardship and collaborative conservation and management” of the U.S. ocean, Great Lakes, and coastal resources. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hosted a hearing to examine the policy impacts of litigation against the department.

U.S. Capitol. (Credit: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)

June’s Legislative Roundup

The month of June introduced a flood of new bills, particularly surrounding flood insurance reform. The National Flood Insurance Program is $24.6 billion in debt and storms are only increasing in frequency and intensity, leaving lawmakers searching for improvements as the program’s current authorization nears expiration.

The U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia, is one of the many U.S. military bases located on the coast. (Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott/Wikipedia)

House Lawmakers Back Amendment Requiring Pentagon Climate Change Report

The House Armed Services Committee’s annual defense policy bill will include a provision requiring a Defense Department report on the effects of climate change on military installations. The amendment — brought up by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) in the readiness portion of Wednesday’s markup — instructs each military service to come up with a list of the top 10 military installations likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20 years. The report would include a list of possible ways to combat such climate change threats as flooding, droughts and increased wildfires.

Click to enlarge) Flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area is visible from Air Force One Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005.

A Flood Of Flood Insurance Bills Approved By House Committee

After much debate, five flood insurance bills were approved (three with bipartisan support) on Wednesday afternoon at a markup held by the House Financial Services Committee. The bills are part of a package to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is $24.6 billion in debt and whose current authorization expires September 30. While Republicans and Democrats on the committee have a shared goal of reducing this debt, Democrats withheld support for some of the bills over concerns that the they would raise premiums for policyholders and leave citizens uninsured.

Despite the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris agreement, other countries will continue to wards their five-year commitments. (Credit: The Guardian)

Climate Change: “Not A Belief System”

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.

A Saildrone Unmanned Surface Vehicle. (Credit: Saildrone)

Vessels Without People And A Panel Without NOAA

Hurricanes this century have cost thousands of Americans their lives and billions of dollars in damage; Hurricane Katrina alone killed 1,833 people and cost the government $108 billion. Weather forecasting is of utmost importance to save lives, property, and money, especially in light of the changing climate. In a hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Environment, scientists and professionals in the environmental technology industry discussed the potential for public-private partnerships to strengthen weather forecasting and to improve oceanic data collection.

DOI Secretary Zinke may explore offshore drilling in the Arctic. (Credit: BBC)

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

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.

FEMA workers after a flood. (Credit: Wiki Commons)

Trump’s Emergency Manager Earns Support Of Climate Advocates

Brock Long was cleared by the Senate to become President Donald Trump’s emergency-management director Tuesday after gaining the support of one unlikely constituency: environmentalists. While climate advocates panned Trump’s selections to head the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department, they expressed optimism that Long, Alabama’s former emergency manager, would seek to protect Americans from the increased risks of hurricanes, flood and heat waves linked to global warming.