Geology & Public Policy News Archive
GSA Supports Funding for NSF in Letter to Senate
The Task Force on American Innovation urges Senate support for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in S. 2323, the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013. [ read letter ]
As part of the USGS Coalition, GSA Advocates for Higher USGS Funding through a letter on FY 2013 appropriations that was sent to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee earlier today.
[ read letter ]
GSA Members on Capitol Hill
In April, GSA joined a host of science, engineering, and technology societies for Congressional Visits Day, which brought more than 200 scientists to Washington, D.C., to discuss the importance of research and development. After a day of briefings, scientists headed in teams to meet with Senators, Representatives, and their staff. Tanya del Valle, GSA's Geology and Public Policy Committee student member, participated for GSA and wrote a brief article about her experience. On 15 May, GSA joined other geoscience societies to participate in the Coalition for National Science Funding exhibit, highlighting geoscience research funded through NSF's Rapid Response Grants. Contact GSA Director for Geoscience Policy Kasey White if you are interested in participating in similar upcoming events.
GSA Panel seeks input on DRAFT Position Statement on "Rewarding Professional Contributions." The draft was published in June GSA Today. Comments and suggestions from GSA members are encouraged until 15 July 2012.
GSA Expresses Concern About Potential Travel Restrictions
GSA joined more than 50 scientific organizations to express concern about the impact of provisions that would place severe restrictions on government employees’ abilities to attend meetings and conferences, noting, “The free exchange of scientific ideas and information is crucial to advancing science and innovation, and conferences are a standard mechanism for the transfer of information among scientists and engineers.” [ read letters ]
GSA Signs Letter Thanking Congressional Leaders for Support of NSF
The Task Force on American Innovation sends thanks for support for the scientific research and education programs in the Subcommittee’s FY 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
[ read letter ]
GSA Testifies in Support of USGS, NSF
Soon after the release of the Obama Administration's Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 2013) budget request, GSA played an active role in advocating for geoscience research by testifying three times in 24 hours. GSA President John Geissman, GSA Treasurer Jonathan Price, and GSA Fellow Harvey Thorleifson each spoke in support of the critical role the USGS plays in understanding and documenting mineral and energy resources, researching and monitoring potential natural hazards, and determining and assessing water availability and quality. Within the same time-frame, GSA Director of Geoscience Policy Kasey White testified at two hearings, one in support of the NSF, and the other also in support of the USGS. [ full story ]
GSA Cosponsors Congressional Briefing on East Coast Earthquakes
The New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones affect 8 states — Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone in August 2011 was felt over much of the Eastern U.S. The earthquake shut down the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant and caused damage in Virginia, Washington DC, and beyond. Seismic activity in the eastern U.S. tends to surprise people who are not accustomed to earthquakes. This 29 Mar. 2012 briefing discussed efforts to understand earthquakes in the East and to reduce risks to life, property, and infrastructure. [ watch video ]
Research that Pays Off:
The Economic Benefits of Federally Funded R&D
GSA and eight other scientific and engineering societies hosted a briefing on 16 March, in Washington, D.C. An engaging panel discussed the critical contributions that federal R&D have made to American industry in recent decades, how federally-funded R&D could continue to return dividends, and what effect this investment could have on long term economic prosperity. [ watch video ]
FY 2013 Budget Request Proposes Increases for R&D
The Administration released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget request on 13 February. Overall, the budget proposes $140.8 billion for federal R&D, a 1.4% increase over FY 2012 with a focus on innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and STEM education. The proposed increases for many science agencies, including NSF and USGS, stand in contrast to overall non-defense discretionary spending, which stayed flat for the second year in a row. The action now goes to Congress, where additional pressures to reduce the deficit, combined with November elections and the looming sequestration in January 2013, will continue to squeeze spending levels. [ full story ]
Administration Requests an Increase for USGS in FY 2013
The budget request is $1.1 billion, a $34.5 million increase over FY 2012. Director Marcia McNutt explained the difficult choices that were made in the tight budget environment, noting that targeted decreases were necessary to make room for priorities, which include programs that protect lives and human property, long-term monitoring, and R&D. [ full story ]
GSA joined 83 other scientific organizations to express concerns about legislation that would require all funded grant proposals to be published online and identify peer reviewers.
[ read GRANT Act Letter ]
FY 2013 Budget Request Proposes Increases for NSF, other COMPETES Agencies
For the second year in a row, non-defense discretionary spending stayed flat, making the increases proposed for science notable. Overall, the Administration proposes an increase over FY 2012 with a focus on innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and STEM education.
[ read more ]
GSA Participates in Climate Science Day
Executive Director Jack Hess and GSA Director for Geoscience Policy Kasey White joined a dozen scientific societies on 1 Feb. for Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill and were part of a contingent of scientists visiting Members of Congress and their staff to discuss climate science. [ more ]
USGS Budget Release
The U.S. Geological Survey releases its FY2013 budget on Tuesday, 14 February; at 1:00 pm ET, in the Dallas L. Peck Auditorium in Reston, VA. Please RSVP to Karen Wood, if you plan to attend the briefing in person.
NSF Budget Presented
National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh presented the president's fiscal year 2013 NSF budget request to Congress on Monday, 13 February, at 3:30 pm ET.
[ more info ]
GSA Welcomes Kasey S. White as New Director for Geoscience Policy
Kasey Shewey White joined The Geological Society of America in December as Director for Geoscience Policy, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Washington, D.C. office. [ more ]
GSA Panel Seeks Input on DRAFT Position Statement on Supporting Planetary Exploration. Comments and suggestions were due by 15 November 2011.
[ read DRAFT (PDF) ]
"Ethics Office Moves to Let Federal Employees Serve on Nonprofit Boards" [New York Times]
GSA submitted a letter to the Office of Government Ethics suppporting a proposal to permit federal employees to serve in their official capacity as an officer or director of a scientific society."
NSF Budget Remains Flat but NASA Budget Cut by $1.6 Billion in House Appropriations Bill
The National Science Foundation's FY 2012 budget would remain flat at $6.9 billion under legislation approved by the House Appropriation Committee on 13 July 2011. President Obama proposed a $907 million increase for NSF in FY 2012. The bill would cut NASA's budget by $1.6 billion to $16.8 billion in FY 2012. It would terminate the James Webb Space Telescope, which the committee said is "billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management."
USGS Budget Advances in House of Representatives
Separately, the House Appropriations Committee approved legislation that would restore proposed budget cuts for many USGS programs, reduce funding for several programs, and increase funding for selected programs. Overall, the bill would appropriate $1.054 billion for the USGS in FY 2012, a decrease of $30 million below the FY 2011 enacted level and $64 million below the President's budget request for FY 2012.
[ learn more ]
GSA co-sponsored and moderated a Congressional brefing on Landslide Hazards: A Stealth Threat to the Nation on 21 June 2011. GSA also hosted a USGS Congressional briefing on Unconventional Oil and Gas—Fueling the Future on 24 June.
[ Landslide Hazards | Unconventional Oil and Gas ]
Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (20–21 September)
Help raise visibility and support for geoscience research and education during meetings with House and Senate offices. GSA student, professional, teacher, and affiliate members are invited to participate in this annual event in Washington D.C. Contact Craig Schiffries, GSA's Director for Geoscience Policy, to sign up.
Revised Position Statements Adopted
In April 2011, GSA Council approved revised position statements on Public Investment in Earth Science Research and the Role of Government in Mineral and Energy Resources Research.
[ research statement | mineral and energy statement ]
GSA has joined the Task Force on American Innovation, an alliance of leading companies, research universities, and scientific societies that advocates for sustained research budgets at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, NASA, and other agencies. Task Force members include the Association of American Universities, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Business Roundtable, Council on Competitiveness, and Google. GSA is the only geoscience society on the Task Force.
Timothy Bralower of Pennsylvania State University with Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) at science exhibition on Capitol Hill.
Geosciences Featured at Congressional Science Exhibition
GSA, AGI, and AGU co-sponsored geoscience exhibits at the 17th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding Exhibition and Reception on Capitol Hill on 11 May 2011. Timothy Bralower of Pennsylvania State University, Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and David James of the Carnegie Institution of Washington discussed research on abrupt climate change, the Deepwater Horizon spill, and the Yellowstone supervolcano, respectively. Rep. Fattah Chaka (D-PA), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) were among the many visitors at the geoscience exhibits.
GSA Co-Sponsors Congressional Briefing on Earthquakes and the Nation's Buildings
Following the recent string of earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan, GSA co-sponsored a congressional briefing that focused on the ability of buildings in the U.S. to resist seismic activity.
[ learn more ]
National Academies Releases Final Report on America's Climate Choices
On 12 May 2011, the National Academies released America's Climate Choices, the final volume in a series of reports requested by Congress. The new report says, "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems." According to the report, "Waiting for unacceptable impacts to occur before taking action is imprudent because the effects of greenhouse gas emissions do not fully manifest themselves for decades and, once manifested, many of these changes will persist for hundreds or even thousands of years."
$500 million has been made available for research on the Gulf oil spill. The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) is 9 May 2011 at 9:00 p.m. EDT. No proposal will be accepted without an LOI. The deadline to submit a proposal is 11 July 2011.
GSA Testifies in Support of USGS Budget Increase
GSA was the only scientific society invited to testify about funding for the U.S. Geological Survey at a 15 April congressional hearing convened by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Chair Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Ranking Member Jim Moran (D-VA) agreed with GSA's Craig Schiffries that the transfer of new Landsat responsibilities from NASA to USGS without an accompanying transfer of budget authority is cause for concern.
Help Shape the Future of USGS Science
GSA members can help shape the future of USGS science by providing input on the 10-year strategic plans for each of the USGS mission areas.
Geoscience R&D in Budget Compromise for FY 2011
Many science agencies were spared from the largest budget cuts when Congress averted a government shut-down by passing a continuing resolution that includes $38.5 billion in spending reductions for the remainder of FY 2011. Budgets for the NSF, the DOE's Office of Science, NASA, the USGS, and NOAA received cuts ranging from 0.4% to 5%. These budgets fall below the levels of President Obama's FY 2011 budget request but above the levels in H.R. 1, a House bill that would have cut $100 billion.
**DRAFT** GSA Position Statement on Geoheritage
Your Input Wanted! Please submit your comments and suggestions by 16 May 2011.
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) is introduced by GSA's Craig Schiffries at the SET-CVD Congressional Breakfast.
Geoscientists from across the U.S. participated in the 6–7 April Science-Engineering-Technology (SET) Congressional Visits Day (CVD). GSA cosponsored an IRIS exhibit that featured data from the 11 March M9.0 Japan earthquake and tsunami. GSA also nominated Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) for the George E. Brown Jr. Award for science-engineering-technology leadership and invited Reps. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) to speak at the SET-CVD Congressional Breakfast.
GSA Testifies in Support of Geoscience Funding
GSA's Director for Geoscience Policy, Craig Schiffries, testified before two congressional committees to convey GSA's support of geoscience research and education:
GSA members Richard Aster (left), Jonathan Price (second from right) and Craig Schiffries (right) testify at congressional hearing about the U.S. Geological Survey. Photo by Elizabeth Duffy (click to enlarge).
- 9 March:
GSA testimony about USGS to House Natural Resources Committee. Four of the five witnesses at this hearing, including USGS Director Marcia McNutt, Richard Aster, Jonathan Price, and Craig Schiffries, are GSA members. More information, including a video of the hearing, is available online.
- 11 March:
GSA testimony about National Science Foundation to House Appropriations Committee
GSA Panel Seeks Input on DRAFT Geoheritage Position Statement
Comments and suggestions are due by 16 May 2011.
Scientific Integrity Policy Adopted by U.S. Interior Department
The U.S. Interior Department has adopted a comprehensive scientific integrity policy that sets clear expectations for all employees, including political appointees, public affairs officers, and scientists. "Because robust, high-quality science and scholarship play such an important role in advancing the Department's mission, it is vital that we have a strong and clear scientific integrity policy" — Secretary Ken Salazar.
[ learn more ]
Applications are now being accepted for the 2011–2012 California Science and Technology Policy Fellowships based in Sacramento, California, USA. Deadline: 31 March 2011.
[ more info ]
Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day
GSA members at all levels (students welcome!) are invited to take part in the 16th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day on 6–7 April in Washington DC. Participate in meetings with House and Senate offices, briefings about federal science agencies, training sessions, and a congressional reception. Contact Craig Schiffries, GSA's Director for Geoscience Policy, for more information and to participate.
[ CVD Web page ]
Fourth Annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day
20–21 Sept. 2011, Washington, D.C.
GSA student, professional, teacher, and affiliate members are invited to participate in the fourth annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day. Help raise visibility and support for science during these meetings with members of both House and Senate offices. To sign up, please contact Craig Schiffries.
The deadline for the Summer 2011 Student Volunteer Program at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy has been extended to 31 January. This is a great opportunity for qualified candidates, so please send in your application! [ detail ]
Meet the New Congressional Science Fellow
Larry Meinert has started his term as the 2010–2011 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow.
Congressional Briefing on Drought Policy
30 June, Washington, D.C. GSA co-sponsored a congressional briefing on Drought Policy: Comparison of Australia and the United States.
Comments Invited on Draft Framework for Science Education Standards
A preliminary public draft of A Framework for Science Education has been posted for comment on the National Academies' Web site.
Seeking Input from the Earth-Science Community
The U.S. National Research Council has created an online survey aimed at identifying new research opportunities in the earth sciences as they relate to the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Earth Sciences. This is a follow-up to the 2001 Basic Research Opportunities in the Earth Sciences report.
[ learn more and complete the survey ]
[ June 2010 ]
Diversity in the Geosciences
GSA Council has approved a new position statement on diversity in the geosciences.
[ read statement ]
[ 3 June 2010 ]
President Names New NSF Director
Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Subra Suresh as Director of the National Science Foundation. Suresh is currently Dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From 2000 to 2006, Dr. Suresh served as the head of the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He joined MIT in 1993 as the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and since then has held joint faculty appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering, as well as the Division of Health Sciences and Technology. From 1983 to 1993, Dr. Suresh was a faculty member in the Division of Engineering at Brown University. He has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bangalore, the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World based in Trieste, Italy, and the German National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Suresh is the recipient of the 2007 European Materials Medal, the highest honor conferred by the Federation of European Materials Societies, and the 2006 Acta Materialia Gold Medal. He holds a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, an M.S. from Iowa State University, and a Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Suresh also holds honorary doctorate degrees from the Technical University of Madrid in Spain and Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
[ 3 June 2010 ]
GSA Cosponsors Congressional Briefings on Volcanoes, Earthquakes & Climate Change
- 21 April: Reducing volcano risks: Progress since Mount St. Helens
- 6 May:
What can we learn from the Haitian Earthquake?
- 10 May: Climate Science: Key Questions & Answers
> AAAS News Release
[ 28-29 April 2010 ]
15th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day
More than 35 geoscientists from 16 states were among the 250 participants in this year's Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (SET-CVD). GSA's activities as part of the SET-CVD working group included
- Inviting Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) to serve as featured speaker for the congressional breakfast;
- Cosponsoring two exhibits on geoscience applications for LiDAR; and
- Helping to select Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) and Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) to receive this year's Science-Engineering-Technology Leadership Award.
GSA Selects New Congressional Science Fellow
Lawrence Meinert has been selected as the GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow for 2010–2011. Meinert is a professor in residence in the geology department at Smith College and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Geology. He earned a B.A. in geology from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University, and is recipient of the 2010 Silver Medal from the Society of Economic Geologists.
USGS Director McNutt Profiled by Science
(23 April 2011 edition)
“Marcia McNutt has the capability to elevate the profile of the Geological Survey within the Department of the Interior (DOI) and beyond. She's not one to sit on the sideline,” said Craig Schiffries of the Washington, D.C., office of the Geological Society of America.
[ 16 April 2010 ]
GSA Participates in White House Conference on America's Great Outdoors
President Obama was the featured speaker at a White House Conference that included presentations by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley.
[ web page | watch video ]
[ 16 April 2010 ]
GSA Testifies in Support of Geoscience Funding
GSA’s Craig Schiffries testified at two congressional hearings in support of geosciences research and education.
25 March: increased funding for the USGS.
14 April: President’s budget request for NSF.
[ 14 April 2010 ]
Earth Science Exhibits on Capitol Hill
GSA cosponsored three earth-science exhibits at the 15th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding exhibition and reception on Capitol Hill. More than 250 people, including nine Members of Congress, attended this event.
[ 1 March 2010 ]
USGS Public Lecture Series: Science in Action
Marcia McNutt, Director of the USGS, will outline exciting new directions for cutting-edge science at the 130-year old agency on Wed., Mar. 3, 7pm, in Reston, VA. The event is free.
[ more details ]
[ 26 February 2010 ]
GSA Panel Seeks Input on DRAFT Diversity of the Geoscience Community Position Statement
Comments and suggestions from are due by 22 March.
[ 16 February 2010 ]
Science emerges as a winner in budget request
Despite an overall freeze in most domestic discretionary spending, President Obama placed a high priority on federal investments in research. Under his FY2011 budget request to Congress, the R&D component of key science agency budgets would increase as follows:
- NASA: +18.3% to $11.0 billion
- NOAA: +10.0% to $959 million
- NSF: +9.4% to $5.6 billion
- DOE Energy: +6.8% to 479 million
- DOE Office of Science: +3.8 percent to $4.6 billion
- USGS: +2.3% to $679 million.
[ 16 February 2010 ]
Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day, 28-29 April. Join more than 300 scientists for workshops, receptions, and meetings with House and Senate offices and raise visibility and support for science, engineering, and technology. Students welcome! For more information or to participate, please contact GSA's Director for Geoscience Policy, Craig Schiffries.
[ learn more ]
[ 2 February 2010 ]
New USGS Deputy Director: Suzette Kimball
Kimball currently serves as Associate Director for Geology and previously served as Acting Director. Linda Gundersen, who currently serves as Chief Scientist for Geology, will become Acting Associate Director for Geology. Outgoing Deputy Director Robert Doyle planned his retirement some time ago.
[ 2 February 2010 ]
USGS releases FY2011 Budget Request
USGS Director Marcia McNutt released the FY2011 budget request for the USGS on 1 Feb, with a 1.9% increase over FY2010. The request includes $52 million in program increases, $18.6 million in program decreases, and $11.7 million in additional decreases made on a Department of the Interior-wide basis.
[ press release | USGS budget in brief ]
[ 27 January 2010 ]
Geology Student Recognized at State of Union Address
President Obama plans to recognize Gabriela Farfan, a geology student at Stanford, and cite her achievements at tonight's State of the Union Address. Gabriela won a top prize in the Intel Science Talent Search. GSA's Craig Schiffries was one of the evaluators of her project.
[ 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 ]
[ 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 …
- Geoscience Legislation in Congress
Sunday, 18 Oct., 12:15–1:15 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, Room C124
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed landmark legislation on energy and climate change by a seven-vote margin (219-212). What is the fate of energy and climate change legislation in the Senate? What are key geoscience provisions in this and other legislation? How can you make a difference? Learn about Geosciences Congressional Visits Day, GSA's congressional testimony, and other ways of communicating with Congress.
- Congressional Science Fellows Panel Discussion and Reception
Tues., 20 Oct., 5:30–7 p.m., Hilton, Broadway Room 1
Meet former GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellows and learn about their experiences on Capitol Hill and opportunities for working at the interface between geoscience and public policy. A panel discussion will be followed by a reception; refreshments provided.
[ 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.
- FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act
(USGS Section of Explanatory Statement)
- USGS Funding in FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
[ 17 Feb 2009 ]
Geoscience-Related Investments in the Stimulus Package (AGI Special Update)
[ 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 ]
Climate Change: Intersections of Science and Policy [ 22 Dec 2008 ]
GSA organized this 9 Jan. briefing with AAAS, AMS, ESA, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. GSA's Craig Schiffries is quoted in news release.
- Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1975-1987) and the U.S. Senate (1986-1992), where he focused on environmental issues, particularly global climate change. He served in the U.S. Department of State as the first Undersecretary for Global Affairs (1993-1997) where he was the lead U.S. negotiator for the Kyoto Climate Conference.
- Susan Solomon, senior scientist at NOAA, recently served as co-chair of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was awarded the 1999 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific award bestowed by the U.S. government.
- Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security. Dr. Gleick is an internationally recognized water expert and was named a MacArthur Fellow (often known as the "Genius Grant") in 2003 for his work.
- Ted Parson, Professor of Law and of Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Michigan, authored The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change and Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy.
Two New GSA Positions Statements Adopted by Council [ 1 Oct 2008 ]
(1) Public Investment in Earth Science Research and (2) Water Resources
[ view position statements ]
GSA Cosponsors Congressional Briefing on Disaster Reduction [ 22 Sept 2008 ]
The National Science and Technology Council has produced a 10-year strategy for “Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction,” representing priority federal science and technology investment needs to help reduce future loss of life and property as a result of disasters. [ learn more ]
GSA Cosponsors Geosciences Congressional Visits Day [ posted 22 Sept 2008 ]
More than 60 geoscientists visited over 100 House and Senate offices during the first-ever Geosciences Congressional Visits Day, designed to increase visibility and support for the geosciences in Congress.
[ learn more ]
USGS Coalition Honors Reps. Dicks and Regula at Congressional Reception for promoting and providing funding for USGS-sponsored science. [ posted 16 Sept 2008 ]
[ learn more ]
G&PP events at the 2008 Joint Annual Meeting in Houston
5–9 October 2008. [ view events ]
Getting into Geoscience Policy: Careers and Avocations [ posted 17 Sept 2008 ]
This session at the Joint Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, (6 Oct., 3-4:30 p.m., George R. Brown Convention Center, Room 370EF) features a panel of geoscientitsts who work in the public policy arena, including congressional staff, state-based resources managers, and academic scientists. Panelists will describe their career path, skill and knowledge requirements, and potential career resources. Q&A follows. Co-sponsored by GSA's Geology and Society Division and the GSA Geology and Public Policy Committee. [ more ]
A Student Intern's View of Geoscience and Public Policy
AGI Government Affairs Program Intern [ read essay ]
GSA Highlights Earth Science Research at Congressional Exhibition [ posted 16 July 2008 ]
GSA cosponsored this event at which geoscientists discussed their NSF-funded research with Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), NSF Director Arden Bement, and numerous congressional staffers. [ more ]
GSA Panel Seeks Comments on Public Investment in Earth Science Research
Please submit your comments and suggestions regarding the draft position statement by 11 August 2008, to Richard Berg.
House Panel Approves 4.8% Budget Increase for USGS
- 11 June 2008: Tthe House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies approved a bill to increase funding for the U.S. Geological Survey by 4.8%, or $48 million, to $1.054 billion in FY 2009. The House mark is 8.4% above the president's FY 2009 budget request for the USGS. The president proposed a 3.7% budget cut for the USGS in FY 2009. [ view table ]
- A statement by Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) contains strong language about the President's budget request for the Department of the Interior. [ view statement ]
- Read the USGS Coalition's testimony to the House Appropriations Committee meeting.
Improving Tsunami Warnings [ posted 20 March 2008 ]
14 March 2008: GSA cosponsored a congressional briefing in the U.S. Capitol on "Improving Tsunami Warnings Nationwide." This briefing, moderated by former GSA President Mary Lou Zoback, summarized improvements to tsunami warnings and the role and status of observatory networks and warning centers.
[ view summary ]
Congressional Visits Day [ posted 17 March 2008 ]
4-5 March 2008: Former GSA President Mary Lou Zoback and GSA Councilor John Geissman spoke at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol with Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Il), Co-Chairs of the Congressional R&D Caucus, to to address the severe repercussions of recent underfunding of key science agencies. The press conference was convened in conjunction with the 13th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (CVD). If you are interested in participating in next year's CVD, please contact the GSA Director for Geoscience Policy.
[ more details ]
GSA Opens Washington Office [ posted 17 Sep 2007 ]
17 September 2007: GSA opens an office focused on public policy and the geosciences in Washington, D.C. The office is staffed by Dr. Craig M. Schiffries, the Society's new Director for Geoscience Policy, who joined GSA 1 Sept. 2007.
[ more details ]
CNSF Fall Hill Visits
The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) organized Hill visits on 18-19 September 2007, focused on advocating for the National Science Foundation. All CNSF member organizations are encouraged to bring in scientists, educators, and engineers to participate in the event.
[ how to participate ]
Panel Seeks Input
The GSA Panel on Energy and Mineral Resources, requests comments and suggestions from GSA members, sections, associated and allied societies, and other interested parties, on this draft GSA Position Statement on Government's Role in Energy and Mineral Resources. Comments deadline extended to 14 December 2007. [ read proposed statement ]
Congressional briefings on "Managing Drought: A Roadmap for Change in the United States" were held Wednesday, 18 July, in the nation's capital. Presented by the Geological Society of America, in association with the Congressional Hazards Caucus and the Hazards Caucus Alliance, the briefings were open to the public.
[ fact sheet | roadmap | press release ]
GSA National Leadership Initiative
The NLI addresses the need for more effective communication among the Society, its members and their initiatives, and national, state and local policymakers and agencies.
Year of Science 2009
GSA participates in the Community Project to Promote the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS ).
"Many in the scientific community see the need for a coordinated and sustained effort by scientists to engage the public directly and with the help of communications experts, to do a better job of explaining the nature of science, and to be ready to learn about and adapt to public perceptions of science in the process."
View presentations given by Richard Alley and Robert Jackson at the Public Forum on Climate Change, 2006 GSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
Download The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method, a new, FREE educational resource from GSA.
Read this new white paper, "The Impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana: America's Coasts Under Siege," a joint effort by GSA and The Pontchartrain Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New Orleans.