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Geology & Public Policy News Archive


[ 4 December 2009 ]
GSA Urges Secretary Salazar to Elevate Science in Interior Department Strategic Plan
The Department of the Interior plans to adopt GSA's recommendation to elevate science to a "mission area" in the final version of its strategic plan.
[ learn more ]

Marcia McNutt[ 22 October 2009 ]
McNutt Confirmed as USGS Director
Yesterday evening the United States Senate confirmed Marcia McNutt as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. Her first day of service will be 5 November 2009. A statement from Interior Secretary Salazar praising the Senate's confirmation of McNutt is available from the DOI.

[ 8 October 2009 ]
McNutt Confirmation Hearing
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today convened a confirmation hearing for Dr. Marcia McNutt to be Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Senators praised McNutt’s qualifications for the job and no opposition to her nomination was expressed at the hearing. President Obama announced his intention nominate McNutt as USGS Director on 9 July 2009.
[ more ]

[ 7 October 2009 ]
Join us in Portland for

[ 7 October 2009 ]
Be the next Congressional Science Fellow!
Applications are now being accepted. Deadline: 1 Feb. 2010.
[ learn more ]

[ 7 October 2009 ]
Geoscientists Descend on Capitol Hill
More than 50 geoscientists from 23 states visited nearly 100 House and Senate offices during the second annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day on 15-16 September.
[ more ]

[ 23 September 2009 ]
GSA Panel Reviews Input on Draft Climate Change Position Statement
GSA members submitted comments and suggestions regarding a draft position statement on global climate (deadline was 21 Sept.). This draft, now under review, would replace GSA’s current position statement on global climate change, which expires later this year.

[ 14 August 2009 ]
GSA Panel Seeks Input on Draft Climate Change Position Statement
GSA members are invited to submit comments and suggestions regarding a draft position statement on global climate change by 21 September 2009. This draft would replace GSA’s current position statement on global climate change, which expires this year.
[ view draft | submit comments | view panel roster ]

[ 12 August 2009 ]
Geosciences Congressional Visits Day
15-16 September 2009, Washington, D.C.
Take part in the second annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day. Students welcome! Attend briefings and training sessions, as well as meetings with House and Senate offices. Please contact Craig Schiffries for more information or to participate.

[ 12 August 2009 ]
Teaching of Evolution Position Statement
GSA Council approved an updated Position Statement on Teaching of Evolution. [ view statement ]

[ 6 August 2009 ]
GSA Urges PCAST to Increase Funding for Geoscience Research and Education
GSA urged the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to include geoscience research and education programs as components of broader initiatives to increase overall federal investments in science and technology. [ view statement ]

[ 29 July 2009 ]
GSA Cosponsors Congressional Briefing on the Great Southern California ShakeOut
Last November, 5.5 million people participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut, the largest disaster preparedness drill in U.S. history. This briefing featured the science behind the ShakeOut and changes that are taking place to strengthen infrastructure and improve emergency response. GSA organized this briefing in collaboration with other scientific societies and the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance. [ view presentation and videos ]

[ 28 July 2009 ]
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Marcia McNutt as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. McNutt is President and CEO of the Monterey Aquarium Research Institute. She previously served as the Griswold Professor of Geophysics at MIT. McNutt is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. [ view release ]

[ 15 July 2009 ]
House Passes Budget Increases for Geoscience Agencies
The U.S. House of Representatives passed appropriations bills that would increase funding for key geoscience agencies in fiscal year 2010. Funding for the National Science Foundation would increase by 6.9 percent to $6.9 billion, funding for the U.S. Geological Survey would increase by 5.9 percent to $1.1 billion, funding for NOAA would increase by 5.5 percent to $4.6 billion, and funding for NASA would increase by 2.4 percent to $18.2 billion. The appropriations bills are pending before the Senate.

[ 26 June 2009 ]
Historic Vote on Energy and Climate Change Legislation
The U.S. House of Representatives passed landmark legislation on energy and climate change by a seven vote margin (219-212). The Waxman-Markey bill would establish a cap-and-trade system intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The 1,400 page bill contains numerous geoscience provisions. It is the first cap-and-trade bill to pass the House. Senate leaders plan to pass comprehensive energy and climate change legistation before the end of the year.

[ 10 June 2009 ]
President Proposes 5% Budget Increase for U.S. Geological Survey
Pesident Obama's budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey would increase the agency's budget by $54 million to $1.098 billion in fiscal year 2010. In contrast to previous administrations, President Obama has not proposed budget cuts to USGS programs that are known to be popular in Congress, such as the mineral resources program, the water resources research institutes, and the earthquake hazards research grants program. The USGS budget request would provide $21 million for inflationary increases in "fixed costs" such as salary and rent, but most programs would not recieve additional budget increases. Budget increases are proposed for Secretarial Initiatives in climate change ($22 million), energy ($3 million) and youth conservation corps ($2 million). Budget increases are also proposed for the national stream gage network ($5 million), arctic ecosystem studies ($4 million), staffing for biology cooperative research units ($2 million), extended continental shelf studies ($1 million), and sustainable energy development ($0.7 million). The budget request would eliminate unrequested increases in funding that were inserted by Congress in the current fiscal year.

GSA testified before Congress in support of increased funding for the U.S. Geological Survey.
GSA's congressional testimony ]

[ 18 May 2009 ]
Geosciences Garner Highest Growth Rate in NSF Budget Request
President Obama’s first budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) would give the Geosciences Directorate the highest growth rate among NSF’s research directorates — $909 million, an increase of 12.6% above FY 2009. GSA testified before Congress in support of increased funding for the National Science Foundation.
[ learn more | GSA's congressional testimony ]

[ 27 April 2009 ]
Obama Delivers Major Address on Science
President Barack Obama outlined his policies for science and science education in a major speech at the National Academy of Sciences. He said, "Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been."
[ text of President Obama's speech ]

[ 15 April 2009 ]
2009–2010 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow Selected
GSA is pleased to announce that Mark Little has been selected as the GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow for 2009–2010. Dr. Little received his B.A. in environmental geochemistry from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in geochemistry from Rice University. He was a Luce Scholar in the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences at Peking University, and is currently conducting postdoctoral research at Duke University.

[ 15 April 2009 ]
GSA Testifies in Support of Geoscience Funding
On 2 April, GSA urged Congress to appropriate an 8% funding increase for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in FY2010. "Substantial increases in federal funding for earth science research are needed to ensure the health, vitality, and security of society and for stewardship of Earth," said GSA Director for Geoscience Policy, Craig Schiffries. GSA has also been invited to testify before Congress on 23 April in support of increased funding for the U.S. Geological Survey.
[ read testimony ]

[ 15 April 2009 ]
National Geologic Mapping Act Reauthorized
GSA worked with congressional staff on drafting the National Geologic Mapping Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on 30 March 2009 as part of the omnibus public lands act.

[ 24 March 2009 ]
Speaker Pelosi Thanks Scientific Community at Congressional Science Exhibition
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) thanked the scientific community for its efforts to increase federal funding for science. Speaking at the 15th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding exhibition and recepition, Pelosi said, "If you want to know the agenda for this Congress, think of four words: science, science, science, science." She continued, "None of what we were able to do would have been possible without the mobilization of the outside scientific community." Pelosi was joined at the podium by other leading advocates for science, including Reps. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), and Rush Holt (D-N.J.). GSA, AGI, and AGU hosted three earth science exhibits at the CNSF exhibition. Geoscientists had an opportunity to discuss their scientific research with members of Congress, NSF Director Arden Bement, and congressional staff. Nearly 300 people participated in this event.

[ 20 March 2009 ]
Join GSA Policycomnet

[ 26 Feb 2009 ]
President Obama releases outline of FY 2010 budget request to Congress
The request for NSF is $7 billion, an increase of approximately $510 million (8%) above the anticipated funding level for FY 2009, and about $950 million (16%) above FY 2008. Read the complete text of the NSF section of the President's budget document, "A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing American's Promise." The President is expected to release a more detailed budget request to Congress in April.

[ 23 Feb 2009 ]
Rep. David Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, today introduced H.R. 1105, the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. Under this bill, the USGS would receive $1.044 billion, an increase of $37 million (3.7%) compared to the FY 2008 enacted level. It appears that the bill would restore several large cuts in USGS programs proposed in the FY 2009 budget request submitted by President Bush.

[ 17 Feb 2009 ]
Geoscience-Related Investments in the Stimulus Package (AGI Special Update)

Congressional Visits Day
[ 12 Feb 2009 ]
Join Us for Congressional Visits in April and September
GSA members interested in participating should contact Craig Schiffries. Click here for more CVD details.

[ 20 Jan 2009 ]
$10 billion for scientific research
House Democrats unveiled a two-year stimulus package worth $825 billion, including more than $10 billion for scientific research.
[ more details ]