Category: Policy

Sea life abounds on the pristine reefs in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. (Credit: Kaleomanuiwa Wong

No More Marine Monuments?

The House Natural Resources Committee held a markup on Wednesday to consider the National Monument Creation and Protection Act (H.R. 3990) and a resolution concerning the Interior Department’s review of the Antiquities Act (H.Res. 555). The National Monument Creation and Protection Act, which passed out of committee along a party line vote (23-17) would eliminate the president’s ability to designate marine monuments and would require consent from Congress to protect large terrestrial areas. H.Res. 555, which failed along the same vote margin, would have asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to provide Congress with more information about his recent report that would significantly reduce the size of at least four national monuments.

(Credit: Getty)

Offshore Drilling: At What Cost

House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on a discussion draft of the Accessing Strategic Resources Offshore Act (ASTRO Act) (draft bill). Why It Matters – Drilling for oil in the ocean has an impact on our economy and environment. Outer continental shelf (OCS) drilling has been banned in certain areas for several reasons, including disruption to tourism, threats to ecosystems and species, noise pollution, and risk of oil spills. Determining where OCS lease sales can occur involves rigorous assessment. This bill would open all areas of the ocean to drilling, eliminate the president’s ability to designate marine national monuments, and give OCS lease sales authority to the secretary of interior instead of relying solely on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) five-year plan.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Trump Administration Denies Endangered Species Protection To Pacific Walruses

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has moved to remove Endangered Species Act protections from Pacific Walruses, citing their ability to adapt and persist during changes in their climate and environment. “The Pacific walrus population has persisted through past climate change events however, the ability of the Pacific walrus population to adapt to …

(Credit: Kevin J. Neff/U.S. Coast Guard )

On Thin Ice

What It Was The Senate Arctic Caucus, Senate Oceans Caucus, and Congressional Arctic Working Group, in conjunction with the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), hosted a briefing, “A New...

(Credit: NOAA)

Science: Predicting The Future, Saving Lives

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), the National​ ​Oceanic​ ​and​ ​Atmospheric​ ​Administration (NOAA) and partners, in conjunction with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Bill Nelson (FL) hosted a briefing, “How Science Supports Flood Forecasting and Public Safety.”

(Click to enlarge) The U.S. Congress. (Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

September’s Congressional Wrap Up

One bill in COL’s legislative tracker, Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 (H.R. 601) was signed into law this month. It includes a continuing resolution to fund the federal government below Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 levels (there was a 0.7 percent across-the-board cut) through December 8, extends the National Flood Insurance Program through the same date, and provides $15.25 billion in emergency disaster relief funds. The Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 3354), which consists of all FY 2018 House appropriations bills, passed out of the House this month by a vote of 211-198.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act has helped restore U.S. fish populations, and now 90 percent of fisheries fall below their annual catch limits. (Credit: Bruno de Giusti, Wiki Commons)

Debate Continues Over Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a hearing to address four federal fisheries management bills. Two would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA; PL 109-479) – the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act (H.R. 200) and the Strengthening Fishing Communities through Improving Science, Increasing Flexibility, and Modernizing Fisheries Management Act (a discussion draft that has not been introduced).

Gallaudet

A #2 For NOAA?

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to consider four presidential nominees subject to Senate confirmation, including Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet (Ret.) to be deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

(Credit: Getty)

Suddenly, Trump Wants To Spend Millions Of Dollars On STEM In Public Schools

During the 2016 presidential campaign, it was Hillary Clinton who talked about spending federal money to provide more STEM education — especially computer science classes for all students. Donald Trump wasn’t much interested then — and his proposed fiscal 2018 budget didn’t spread much love in that direction either. It zeroed out one of the Education Department’s main programs that could be used for such a purpose, and it eliminated funding for NASA’s education office (which, among other things, oversees efforts to support women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields).