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Geology & Public Policy News Archive


Using Geoscience Research to Accelerate the Innovation Economy
You are invited to attend an interactive congressional event highlighting the economic value of innovation and federal investment in Earth and geoscience research on Thursday, 17 September.

COMPETES Reauthorization Guidelines
Through its membership in the Task Force on American Innovation, GSA submitted a letter to Senate leaders on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act that states, "it is imperative that the full range of scientific inquiry be supported, and not curtailed, in any legislation." GSA also submitted its own comments on the value of geoscience research and signed a letter illustrating "innovative applications for the benefit of the economy and society."

Letters to Senators on Scientific Conferences
GSA signed two letters to Senators on the "importance of ensuring that federally employed and contracted scientists and engineers are able to attend mission-relevant scientific and technical conferences."
Senators Schatz & Coons | Appropriations Committee ]

Senate Committee Passes Open Access Bill
ScienceInsider reports on the implications of the passage of an open access bill by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

GSA Supports Climate Science Education
GSA voiced its support for "efforts to develop and improve climate science education" in the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. [ read letter ]

Using Every Drop of Information: the Open Water Data Initiative
Please attend this USGS Congressional Briefing, hosted by GSA, to learn more about plans for a national water data framework on 31July.

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Bill to fund NSF, NASA, and NOAA
On June 11th, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill to fund NSF, NASA, NOAA for Fiscal Year 2016, which lacks the cuts to NSF’s geoscience directorate, NASA’s Earth science division, and climate science research at NOAA contained in its House counterpart. [ read more ]

Letter to Senators on COMPETES Reauthorization
Through the Task Force on American Innovation, GSA sent a letter to Senate leaders that the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act should "make a strong statement that sustained, robust funding across all disciplines of basic scientific research is a top national priority."

Senate Appropriators Encouraged to Take a Balanced Approach to Funding
GSA joined with 19 other geoscience organizations to send a letter to Senate appropriators requesting that they fund the National Science Foundation "without prioritizing certain directorates over others."

House Passes Funding Bill with Cuts to the Geosciences
On 3 June, the House passed a funding bill that contains cuts to NSF’s geoscience directorate, NASA’s Earth science division, and climate science research at NOAA. [ more ]

Concerns About Funding Bill for NSF
Through the Coalition for National Science Funding, GSA expressed concerns about provisions in the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would cut geoscience research. [ read letter ]

American Mineral Security Act
GSA joined members of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition to submit written testimony on aspects of the American Mineral Security Act that "increase the functionality of the U.S. Geological Survey’s minerals science structure and programs."

Updates to GSA's Critical Issue on Hydraulic Fracturing
Updates have been made to GSA's critical issue on Hydraulic Fracturing, which is written as a primer for the general public, journalists, and resource professionals who may have difficulty finding objective, credible information about hydraulic fracturing of shales and other unconventional sources and related environmental concerns. [ more ]

Geoscience Exhibitions on Capitol Hill
GSA teamed up with AGI and AGU to highlight innovative geoscience research at two Capitol Hill events this spring: The Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (SET-CVD) Reception and the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Exhibition. Both events provide excellent opportunities for geoscientists to engage with policymakers on the importance of federal funding for geoscience research and the innovations that result. [ more ]

House Science Committee Passes NASA Authorization with Large Cuts to Earth Science Division
On 30 April, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee passed the NASA Authorization Act of 2016 and 2017 (H.R. 2039) along a party line vote. NASA's Earth Science Division receives large authorization cuts from its current FY15 funding level in the bill. [ more ]

House to Vote on COMPETES Reauthorization
The full House is expected to vote on the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 in mid-May. Read more about geoscience funding cuts in the bill and the GSA response.

GSA Comments on NASA Authorization Bill
GSA sent a letter to leaders of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to "express opposition to the large authorization cuts to Earth science research in the NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017." [ read letter ]

Congressional Letter on Climate Riders
GSA signs onto letter to House leadership not to limit federal government's access to best available climate science. [ read letter ]

Scientific Societies Express Concern About Travel Regulations
126 organizations, including GSA, sent a letter to leaders on Capitol Hill "to express deep concerns about the impact of Administration regulations and legislative initiatives related to government travel on the science and engineering enterprise and the pace of innovation." [ read letter ]

GSA Submits Testimony Supporting NSF, USGS, NASA
GSA has submitted testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science in support of NSF and NASA and House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior in support of USGS.

House Committee Passes COMPETES Reauthorization
On April 22, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 along a party-line vote. Read more about  geoscience funding cuts in the bill and GSA response. [ more ]

Scientific Community Objects to Provisions in the COMPETES Reauthorization
Multiple coalitions of scientific societies, universities, and businesses that include GSA have sent letters objecting to provisions in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, including cuts to gesocience funding. See letters from the Task Force on American Innovation, Coalition for National Science Funding, Energy Sciences Coalition and Geoscience Societies.

NSF's Geosciences Directorate Helps Protect Lives, Business, and Infrastructure
Geoscience societies, including GSA, sent a letter to the House and Senate that shows how "investment in geoscience research is essential to the well-being and property of the United States."

Support for NSF
On March 5, the Coalition for National Science Funding, an alliance of over 140 professional organizations, universities, and business - including GSA - sent a statement to Members of Congress in support of a $7.7 billion appropriation for NSF for FY 2016.

Climate Scientists Meet with Policy Makers on Capitol Hill
Climate Scientists from around the country came to Capitol Hill on February 10-11 for the 5th Annual Climate Science Day (CSD). This two-day event, organized by GSA and 12 other scientific organizations, is designed to open a dialogue with congressional offices about climate change.

Support for Data Preservation
GSA signed a letter initiated by the Association of American State Geologists in support of reauthorizing the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP), an initiative within the U.S. Geological Survey to protect and disseminate important geologic data to the public.

Scientific Societies Concerned About Recent Inquiry
GSA joined 6 other scientific societies to send a letter to House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva to "express concern with what appears, on its face, to be an overly broad inquiry for financial records and other files."

Support for Legislation to Increase Science Funding
Through the Close the Innovation Deficit campaign, GSA joined 120 members of a coalition to commend Sen. Durbin (D-IL) for introducing the American Innovation Act. This legislation would significantly increase investments in key federal science agencies and programs, including NSF, DOE, NIST, DOD and NASA, "that conduct vital research that is essential to the nation's long-term economic growth and national security, as well as the quality of life of all Americans."

FY 2016 Request Proposes Increases for Geoscience Research
Increases are proposed for many agencies and programs of interest to the geoscience community in the Administration's FY 2016 budget request. Because the overall budget request exceeds the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act, these increases, in R&D and other categories, face a difficult road to implementation in Congress during the appropriations process.

Support for USGS Minerals Science
GSA joined members of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition to send a letter "to express support for the current initiatives and activities of the National Minerals Information Center."

Scientific Societies Thank Senate Appropriators
A coalition of scientific societies, including GSA, thanked the leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations for ensuring "that the final FY 2015 appropriations bill did not prohibit spending on or block public access to information from federal climate science programs such as the U.S. Global Change Research Program."

Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction Needed
GSA joined more than 2,100 national, state, and local organizations in signing a letter to Congress and the President urging them to work together to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The letter emphasizes (1) the importance of nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, (2) the harmful effects of budget cuts to date, and (3) the equal importance of both defense and nondefense programs in America’s security at home and abroad, and thus the need for equal sequestration relief.

GSA Council Approves Position Statements
GSA Council adopted one new position statement on "The Role of the Geoscientist in Building and Maintaining Infrastructure." A revision to the "Integrating Geoscience with Sustainable Land-Use Management" statement was also approved.

Science Funding Sees Small Increases in FY15 Budget
After heated debate in the House and Senate, the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on 16 Dec. 2014. Nicknamed the "CRomnibus," the 1,600-page law combines a continuing resolution (CR) and a large omnibus spending bill that authorizes $1.1 trillion of government spending for FY15.