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Geology & Public Policy News Archive


Support for DOE Science
Through the Energy Sciences Coalition, GSA signed a 25 Nov. 2015 letter to the senior leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging “stable and sustained FY 2015 funding levels for both the DOE Office of Science and ARPA-E.” A separate letter was sent to the White House urging that they make the "DOE Office of Science a priority in the Administration’s fiscal year 2016 budget request."

Letter Raises Concerns about Policies for Climate Research
GSA and 19 other science organizations sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, opposing climate research policy riders and funding prohibitions attached to several House FY 2015 appropriations bills.

Scientific Organizations Urge Passage of an Omnibus FY2015 Appropriations Bill
GSA joined with 133 scientific organizations to send a letter to Congress advocating passage of an omnibus FY15 appropriations bill that provides strong funding for research and higher education and another coalition to highlight the need for increases for the National Science Foundation.
omnibus FY15 letter | NSF letter ]

GSA Concerned about Proposed Textbooks
GSA Executive Director Jack Hess wrote to the Texas Board of Education to express concerns with the treatment of climate change in proposed social studies textbooks under consideration. [ read letter ]

Data Preservation
On 17 Sept. 2014, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing where witnesses expressed heir support for the reauthorization of the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program Act of 2005, H.R. 5066. The program, administered by the USGS, establishes state-federal partnerships through 100% state-matched grants to facilitate the acquisition, archiving, and storage of geological data.

Geoscientists Meet with Policy Makers on Capitol Hill
Geoscientists from around the country came to Capitol Hill on 17–18 Sept. 2014 for the 7th Annual Geoscience Congressional Visits Day (GeoCVD). This two day event, organized by GSA and other geoscience societies, is designed to increase the visibility of geoscience and engagement of geoscientists in public policy. This year's event totaled more than 100 congressional office meetings.

GSA Responds to Request on Critical Materials
GSA and other members of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition responded to an OSTP Request for Information on Critical and Strategic Materials Supply Chains. [ read response ] GSA also submitted its Position Statement on Critical Mineral Resources for the record.

CNSF Supports Senate America COMPETES Act Reauthorization
GSA is a member of the Coalition for National Science Funding, whose letter supports "the proposed five-year budget growth for the National Science Foundation" in the bill. [ read letter ]

FY15 Appropriations Process Slows As Fiscal Year Approaches
The appropriations process got off to a smoother start than in recent years, as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 set an overall spending limit for Fiscal Year 2015, allowing the House and Senate to begin the process with the same overall spending levels. As the midterm elections drew closer, however, progress stalled. The House has passed 8 of the 12 appropriations bills, but the Senate has failed to pass any. A continuing resolution to keep the government open through early December is expected to be introduced when Congress returns from its August recess. [ more ]

GSA Concerned About Federal Travel Restrictions
In a letter to Congress, GSA joined 70 organizations "to express our concerns about current and proposed restrictions on the ability of federal and contractor scientists and engineers to participate in scientific and technical conferences."
[ read letter ]

Attend a July 18 congressional briefing on CCS
Carbon capture and storage is an important potential management strategy for greenhouse gas emissions. In this briefing, leading experts will address geologic carbon storage, one avenue to sequester carbon dioxide from large stationary sources by injecting it deep underground. [ view flyer ]

Action Urged on Critical Minerals
GSA joined more than three dozen companies and organizations supporting action on Critical Minerals legislation. [ read letter ]

FIRST Act passes House Science Committee
Amended authorization bill reduces NSF funding in geoscience, retains new restrictions on merit review process. [ details ]

Societies encourage "strong funding levels for geosciences"
In a letter to all House members, GSA joined 11 other scientific organizations to express their support for "strong funding levels for geosciences," as Congress debates the spending bill for NSF, NASA, and NOAA. [ read letter ]

The Role of the Geoscientist in Building and Maintaining Infrastructure
Comments are solicited from GSA members on this DRAFT position statement through 15 July 2014.
[ view draft | comment ]

Letter Calls for Legislation to Recognize Value of Geoscience
In a letter to House Science, Space and Technology Committee members, GSA and other geoscience organizations urged members to "modify the FIRST Act of 2014 and set forth a vision to spur science innovation and growth and recognize the vital role of the geosciences in achieving this mandate."
[ read letter ]

EarthScope: A Decade of Research
Attend congressional briefings (May 14 House, May 15 Senate) cosponsored by GSA to learn about EarthScope's Research and Broader Societal Benefits.
[ learn more ]

GSA Testifies in Support of USGS
GSA Past President John Geissman testified in support of the U.S. Geological Survey before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on 10 April.
more ]

GSA Comments on Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests' land management plan
GSA would like to thank the Forest Service for its recognition of the important role of geology in managing our national forests. [ read letter ]

Read about R&D in the Administration's FY2015 budget request
The complete contents of AAAS Report XXXIX: Research and Development FY 2015, including chapters on the geosciences and agencies that fund geosciences, is now available.

Sustainable Land-Use Management Needs Geoscience
GSA members are invited to comment on this draft position statement through 15 May.

GSA Science Policy Fellow
GSA is seeking applicants for its Science Policy Fellowship Program which provides recent MS or Ph.D. recipients the opportunity to work in the GSA Washington Office for one year.

House Passes Bill to Restore and Prioritize NOAA Weather Funding
On Tuesday, 1 April, a much-revamped version of the “Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2014” (HR. 2413) passed the House.
[ learn more ]

Task Force on American Innovation Concerned About FIRST Act
The Task Force, of which GSA is a member, issued a letter to House Science, Space, and Technology Committee leaders stating, "The current version of the FIRST Act does not authorize adequate levels of investment in scientific research that are needed to close the nation’s innovation deficit and sustain our global leadership position in science and innovation."

GSA Submits Testimony Supporting NSF and NASA
GSA submitted testimony to the House and Senate supporting "strong and sustained investments in earth science research and education at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)."

Exploring Earthquakes:
Analyzing the Past to Protect Lives and Property Today

The presentations and additional information are available online.

House’s FIRST Act a step backward for geoscience funding
The Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act (H.R.4186), which would reauthorize funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015, went through a markup and passed by a voice vote in the research panel of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on 13 March. [ read on ]

Mixed Bag for Geoscience in FY2015 Request
The Obama Administration released its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request on 4 March. The request follows the framework and overall spending cap set in the Bipartisan Budget Act the last December. In addition to the budget request that adheres to the caps, the Administration proposed a $56 billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative” that provides an outline of where additional spending would occur if offsets were made. Science would see large increases from that fund, particularly at NSF, NASA and NOAA, but congressional leaders have said they intend to follow the caps and will not consider this package. [ more ]

GSA, scientific organizations concerned about FIRST Act
75 organizations concerned about the FIRST Act of 2014 because it "sets forth funding levels for the National Science Foundation that provide no real growth and stand to further erode our scientific infrastructure". [ read letter ]

The Task Force on American Innovation urged Congress to provide resources that will enable real growth in the research activities. The many industries, universities and professional societies that comprise TFAI urge [Congress] to appropriate funds to science and technology accounts that will allow us to reinvigorate our innovation base. [ read letter ]

Energy From the Earth (Briefing Series, Part 3)
Nuclear Energy: Resources, Geological Hazards, and Waste Management.
The United States is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power. More than 19 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from 104 operating reactors at 65 nuclear power plants in 31 states. Nuclear energy produces stable, base-load power with essentially no CO2 emissions. However, power-plant failures such as the recent Fukushima disaster in Japan and the inability of the United States to develop a long-term plan for nuclear waste storage have led to negative public perceptions of nuclear energy and raise questions about the future of this energy source.
Tuesday, 11 March, 1–2 p.m., Longworth House Office Building 1334

The Task Force on American Innovation urges Congress to make scientific research a top priority
The many companies, universities, and scientific societies represented by the Task Force agree that America’s role as the world innovation leader is in danger, and unless our nation changes course we will lose not only our lead, but the benefits to our economy and national security that stem from being first in the world in innovation. [ more ]

GSA supports the National Ground Water Monitoring Network
With groundwater providing nearly half of the nation’s drinking water and more than 40 percent of irrigation water, our nation’s economy, security, and the public’s well-being depend on knowing the status and trends of this vital resource. [ read letter ]

Exploring Earthquakes: Analyzing the past to protect lives and property today
10am, Friday, 28 Feb., Rayburn 2325, Washington D.C.
In the 50 years since the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America struck Alaska (1964), earthquakes have cost billions of dollars of economic loss in addition to countless lives in the United states and worldwide. Advances in science and engineering have made people safer -- bu the job is not done. GSA is co-hosting a briefing with the USGS and partners to explore what more needs to be accomplished to build resilience for the future.

Energy from the Earth Briefing Series
GSA has joined with a number of other scientific societies to hold a series of congressional briefings highlighting the vital geoscience information needed for effective policy making on topical energy issues. Recent briefing topics include an overview of energy resources and geothermal energy. Learn more about these topics and upcoming briefings.

GSA Submits Testimony on Federal Travel Restrictions
"Many federal scientists who had planned to present their research had to withdraw from GSA meetings this year. This resulted in federally-funded research that was not as broadly disseminated and opportunities for collaborations." missed. [ more ]

The Task Force on American Innovation, a coalition of industry, universities, and scientific societies including GSA — is pleased that the FY14 omnibus appropriations bill passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan majorities. [ read letter ]

Science Sees Increases in FY14 Funding
At long last, the appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) were signed into law on 17 January 2014. When signing the bill, President Obama noted, “[W]e now have a bill that will … make sure that we are doing everything we need to do to advance our research agenda in this country and innovate.” [ more ]

Energy from the Earth
Briefing Series, Part 2 — Wed., 29 January, Washington, D.C.
In this briefing "Geothermal Energy Transformations: Nationwide Resources and Value Chains", speakers will highlight recent successes in geothermal research and address questions, including:

Energy from Earth

Critical Minerals: Congressional Actions and GSA's Position
Legislation currently being considered in the House and Senate address concerns about the availability of international supplies of critical minerals and the United States' capacity for domestic production. [ learn more ]

Hydraulic Fracturing
Looking for objective information on critical issues? See GSA’s new Critical Issue resource on Hydraulic Fracturing for members, policy-makers, and the general public.

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), which includes GSA, has issued a letter outlining concerns with draft legislation to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. [ read letter ]

GSA Urges Support for Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). [ read letter ]

New Position Statements
At its October 2013 meeting, the GSA Council approved two new Position Statements titled Critical Mineral Resources and Managing U.S. Coastal Hazards.