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Geology & Public Policy News Archive


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 ]

Congressional Briefings
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 (Penn State) with Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) at science exhibition on Capitol Hill.
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.

Geoscientists Participate in Congressional Visits Day

Schiffries and Fattah

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:

House testimony
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).

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 ]

[ science policy news archive ]

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.