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.
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.
New reports this month say the critically endangered vaquita porpoise may be close to extinction – the 30 remaining individuals found in the Gulf of California only barely outnumber the 21-member committee that may be sealing their fate.
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.”
“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.”
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.
DoD announces the release of a new report, “Regional Sea Level Scenarios for Coastal Risk Management: Managing the Uncertainty of Future Sea Level Change and Extreme Water Levels for Department of Defense Coastal Sites Worldwide.”
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.
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.
Ten times a year, the Naval Station Norfolk floods. The entry road swamps. Connecting roads become impassable. Crossing from one side of the base to the other becomes impossible. Dockside, floodwaters overtop the concrete piers, shorting power hookups to the mighty ships that are docked in the world’s largest naval base.