Policy News: January 10, 2022
In this issue:
ESA Water Cooler Chat: COP 26 Debrief
Join ESA in sharing lessons learned from COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The USCRP seeks ecologists feedback on outline of NCA5 chapter outlines.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) signals willingness to support climate provisions of the Build Back Better Act.
White House seeks feedback about the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas.
Judge temporarily blocks geothermal plant construction in Nevada.
North Carolina governor signs emissions reduction executive order.
A draft of IPBES’ thematic assessment of invasive alien species and their control is open for review.
The National Academics seeks experts for the Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Ecosystem Services in the Built Environment.
Please join ESA in sharing lessons learned from the 2021 United Nations Conference of the Parties Meeting (also known as COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, and actions we can take going forward as a professional society Jan. 27 at 11:00am eastern. Panelists will share their experience at COP26 and together we will discuss what actions ESA members can take to help society mitigate and adapt to climate change in a just and equitable way.
ESA President Dennis Ojima will share some introductory remarks and Pamela Templer will facilitate the discussion. Join COP 26 attendees Kaydee Barker, Andrew Barton, Fabio Berzaghi and Andrea Swei to hear their insight and perspectives.
You can also read Andrew Barton’s blog posts from the event here.
The webinar will take place on Jan. 27 at 11:00am eastern. Register here.
NCA: The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USCRP) and the authors of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) are hosting a series of virtual public engagement workshops to inform the development of this federal climate report. The Ecosystems Chapter public engagement workshop will take place on Jan. 11, 2022, from 12-4 pm eastern time. The information gathered in this workshop will help authors decide which topics to cover in their chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a major U.S. Government report on how climate change affects people and places in the United States. To register for the event, click here.
The USCRP also released an annotated outline of the NCA5 and is seeking public feedback on the annotated outlines of each chapter report. The annotated outlines can be accessed by visiting USGCRP’s Review and Comment System. The feedback received through this public comment period will be used by author teams as they develop their draft chapters. The outlines are open for public comment through Feb. 20, 2022.
The National Climate Assessment is a congressionally mandated quadrennial report led by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The report evaluates the effects of climate change on regions and sectors of the United States and reports on trends in climate change for the next 25 to 100 years. The Fifth National Climate Assessment will highlight advances in scientific understanding of human-induced and natural processes of climate change and the resulting implications for the United States. Major themes will be presented through the lens of vulnerability, impacts, risks, and adaptation. The report is expected for release in late 2023.
NSF: The National Science Board will publish The State of U.S. Science and Engineering Jan. 18, 2022.
Part of NSB’s congressionally mandated Science & Engineering Indicators, the report summarizes data on K-12 science and math education, higher education in science and engineering, the Labor Force, R&D, production and trade, innovation, and more. NSB will host a briefing to introduce the report. Speakers will highlight key trends and their implications for the country – including what is needed to ensure that the U.S. has the science and engineering workforce it needs to compete globally – and will lay out areas for action for the U.S. to remain at the forefront of innovation. NSB is the policy making body of the National Science Foundation and an independent advisor to the President and Congress. Register here.
NOAA: The application period for the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program is now open. The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant’s founders and former NOAA Administrator John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one year paid fellowship.
This is a great opportunity for ecologists who may want a policy career. One unique aspect for the program is that indivduals may stilpursuing a PhD and Masters level ecologists qualify.
Environmental Justice: Resources for the Future and the Urban Institute will host a webinar about environmental justice and community partnerships Jan. 19. Effective partnerships between researchers and community organizations can advance understanding of the nature of environmental problems and underlying vulnerabilities in disadvantaged communities, as well as help to identify policy and program solutions. The expert panel will discuss how to make these partnerships work to advance environmental justice knowledge and work toward equitable solutions to environmental problems. Register here.
- Climate scientists grapple with wildfire disaster in their backyard – Axios
- Thomas E. Lovejoy III, an ecologist who dedicated his career to preserving the Amazon rainforest, dies at 80 – The Washington Post
- E.O. Wilson, a Pioneer of Evolutionary Biology, Dies at 92 – The New York Times
- Richard Leakey, Kenyan Fossil Hunter and Conservationist, Dies at 77 – The New York Times
- Statement by Deputy Director for Climate and Environment Jane Lubchenco and Assistant Director for Biodiversity and Conservation Sciences Heather Tallis on the Passing of Thomas E. Lovejoy III and Edward O. Wilson – White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Harvard professor convicted of making false statements about China ties – Axios
- Colonialism still influences the earth sciences today — and that’s a big problem for research – The Verge
Reconciliation: The Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), also known as the reconciliation bill, appears stalled in the Senate, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announcing that he cannot support the bill shortly before the holiday recess. The bill will need all Senate Democrats to support the bill to pass.
However, Manchin signaled Jan. 4 that he “probably” can come to agreement with other Senate Democrats regarding the climate and clean energy provisions of the bill. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporter that the Senate is currently focuses on voting rights legislation and will revisit the Build Back Better after they pass a voting rights bill.
In December, Senate committees released details of the scientific and environmental provisions of the bill (see ESA Policy News, December 20, 2021).
- Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act (S. 3429). This bill would create a panel of salmon stakeholders and researchers to study Pacific salmon trends and create a coordinated research strategy in Alaska to support salmon management.
- Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced the Climate Solutions Act (H.R. 6351), which requires that 100 percent of electricity sold in the United States be generated from renewable sources by 2035. The bill also requires the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gases emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
- What Biden’s $2-trillion spending bill could mean for climate change – Nature
- Will Congress deliver big funding boosts for science? Here’s your guide – Science
White House: An interagency working group, led by the Interior Department, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a request for comments from the public about the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas can best serve as a useful tool and how it should reflect a continuum of conservation actions in the America the Beautiful initiative. The America the Beautiful initiative refers to the Biden administration’s commitment to preserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The conservation atlas bill be used to assess the country’s progress towards that goal. The administration said in December 2021 that it will be at least a year before a beta version of the atlas is released. The agencies will hold virtual listening sessions to receive public comments Jan. 13, Jan. 19, and Jan. 21.
In late December, the administration issued a progress report, touting their progress towards the 30% goal. The report cites the restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, which the Trump administration shrunk and reinstating Roadless Rule protections for the Tongass National Forest.
PCAST: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology will meet virtually Jan. 20-21 to discuss measuring and monitoring greenhouse gases and accelerating innovation in energy technologies.
Research Security: The White House Office of Science Technology (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) released its guidance for federal science agencies to implement National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33). This guidance sets guidelines for research security policies across the government. Chaired by OSTP Director Eric Lander, the Subcommittee on Research Security is an interagency group organized under the NSTC Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE).
Lander wrote in its forward:
“The research security challenges we face are real and serious: some foreign governments, including China’s government, are working hard to illicitly acquire our most advanced technologies. This is unacceptable.
At the same time, if our policies to address those actions significantly diminish our superpower of attracting global scientific talent — or if they fuel xenophobia against Asian Americans — we will have done more damage to ourselves than any competitor or adversary could. So we need a thoughtful and effective approach.
As a next step, I am now directing federal research agencies to work together within the next 120 days to develop model grant application forms and instructions that can be used (and adapted where required) by any federal research funding agency. The goal is for the government to clearly describe what it needs to know and for researchers to be able to report the same information in the same way to the greatest extent possible, regardless of which funding agency they’re applying to.”
Ecologists and others submitting grant applications will need to follow the new instructions once completed.
USFWS: The agency is proposing listing the ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum), which is found in Mexico, Arizona and Texas, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS finds in the proposed rule that Endangered Species Act protections are necessary due to habitat loss for the species and climate change, which is resulting in hotter, more arid conditions throughout much of the subspecies’ geographic range. The agency finds that designating critical habitat for the species is “prudent, but not determinable at this time.” Public comments on the proposed rule close Feb. 22, 2021.
DOE: The agency announced Dec. 21 it has established the Department of Energy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to oversee $20 billion toward fulfilling President Bidens climate pledge. This office received its initial funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the bipartisian infrastructure bill. Overall, DOE received $62 billion in funding from the bill.
- Faked test results reveal deeper issues at USGS lab – E&E News
- Biden Administration Approves Two Big Solar Projects – The New York Times
- This tree has stood here for 500 years. Will it be sold for $17,500? – The Washington Post
- WDFW warns solar farm could be lights out for state’s main sage grouse population – Capital Press
- Chesapeake Bay states are unlikely to reach EPA’s 2025 cleanup deadline at current pace, report finds – The Baltimore Sun
- Trump EPA head, coal lobbyist tapped as Virginia’s environmental chief – Virginia Mercury
- NC Governor Expands Emission Goals, Seeks Environment Equity – Associated Press
IPBES: A draft of the chapters and the summary for policymakers of the thematic assessment of invasive alien species and their control is open for review. This second external review is addressed to governments and interested and qualified experts, including scientists, decision-makers, practitioners and other knowledge holders. To ensure this assessment’s highest scientific quality and policy relevance, the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel seeks the widest possible participation from experts from all relevant disciplines and backgrounds. Expert reviwers can register on the IPBES website. The draft is open for review through Feb. 15, 2022, and IPBES will hold an online workshop for reviewers Jan. 20, 2022.
- Chile Writes Its Constitution, Confronting Climate Change Head On – The New York Times
- Development and conservation clash at Komodo National Park – Associated Press
- Jump in deforestation of world’s most biodiverse savanna alarms Brazilian scientists – Reuters
ESA Correspondence to Policymakers
- Multiorganization letter in support of the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (Nov. 18, 2021)
- ESC – Recommendation to the White House Office of Management and Budget for FY 2023 Budget (Nov. 9, 2021)
- CNSF – Recommendations to the White House Office of Management and Budget for FY 2023 Budget (Nov. 5, 2021)
- CNSF – FY 2022 Appropriations Conference Committee Statement (Nov. 2, 2021)
View more letters and testimony from ESA here.
Upcoming Public Meetings:
- BLM – Missouri Basin Resource Advisory Council Meeting, Montana (Jan. 12)
- BLM – Public Meetings of the John Day Snake Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Planning Subcommittee and the John Day-Snake RAC, Oregon (Jan. 12)
- BLM – Public Meetings for the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council (Jan. 19-20)
- BLM – Alaska Resource Advisory Council Meetings (Feb. 8)
- DOE – Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board Meet for the Savannah River Site (Jan. 25)
- EPA – Clean Air Act Advisory Committee Meeting (Feb. 9)
- EPA – Board of Scientific Counselors Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Subcommittee Meeting (Jan. 13)
- EPA – White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Virtual Public Meeting (Jan. 26-27)
- Forest Service – Trinity County Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Jan. 10, 24)
- Forest Service – Chippewa National Forest Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Jan. 11)
- Forest Service – Modoc County Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Jan. 12)
- Forest Service – Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Feb. 2)
- NOAA – Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council Meeting (Jan. 19)
- NOAA NMFS – Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Standing, Reef Fish, Socioeconomic, and Ecosystem Scientific and Statistical Committees Meeting (Jan. 11-13)
- NOAA NMFS – Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Research Steering Committee Meeting (Jan. 18)
- NOAA NMFS – Council Coordination Committee Meeting (Jan. 18)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Council Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan Local Knowledge, Traditional Knowledge, and Subsistence Taskforce Meeting (Jan. 20)
- NOAA NMFS – Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Public Meeting (Jan. 24-27)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Management Council Ecosystem Committee Meeting (Jan. 25-26)
- NPS – Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Advisory Commission Meeting (Jan. 13)
- NSF – Business and Operations Advisory Committee Meeting (Jan. 21)
- NSF – Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering Meeting (Feb. 17-18)
- USFWS & Forest Service – Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council Meetings for 2022 (Feb. 8 – Mar. 24)
- White House – President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Meeting (Jan. 20-21)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- APHIS – Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment for Release of Lophodiplosis indentata for Biological Control of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Myrtaceae) in the Contiguous United States. The agency will consider all comments received on or before Jan. 18, 2022.
- BLM – Call for Nominations to the Idaho Resource Advisory Council. All nominations must be received no later than Jan. 21, 2022.
- BLM – Notice of Application for Withdrawal Extension and Opportunity for Public Meeting for the Holden Mine Reclamation Project, Washington. Comments and requests for a public meeting must be received by Jan. 25, 2022.
- BLM – Notice of Intent To Amend Land Use Plans Regarding Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Prepare Associated Environmental Impact Statements. Comments may be submitted in writing until Feb. 7, 2022.
- EPA and Army Corps of Engineers – Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”. Comments must be received on or before Feb. 7, 2022.
- EPA – Notice of Request for Nominations of Candidates to the Environmental Financial Advisory Board. Nominations should be submitted in time to arrive no later than Jan. 18, 2022.
- Forest Service – Special Areas; Roadless Area Conservation; National Forest System Lands in Alaska. Written comments must be received or postmarked by Jan. 24, 2022.
- Forest Service – Secure Rural Schools Resource Advisory Committees. Written nominations must be received by Jan. 28, 2022.
- NOAA – Draft Revised Management Plan for the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. Comments must be received at the appropriate address on or before Jan. 18, 2022.
- NOAA – Notice of Intent To Conduct Scoping and To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. Comments are due by Jan. 31, 2022 (comment period extended).
- NOAA – Notice of Availability of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment. Comments on the draft management plan and environmental assessment are due by Jan. 21, 2022. NOAA will hold virtual public meetings on Jan. 11 and 22.
- NOAA -Notice of Intent To Conduct Scoping and To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Designation of a National Marine Sanctuary Within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Comments must be received by NOAA on or before Jan. 31, 2022.
- NOAA – Request for Public Comment on the Alaska Coastal Mapping Strategy Implementation Plan. Comments must be received via email by 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, 2022.
- NOAA – Nominations for the National Sea Grant Advisory Board. There is no due date for nominations, however the program intends to begin reviewing applications to fill upcoming vacancies by Jan. 31, 2022
- NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Initiation of a 5-Year Review of the Common Angelshark (Squatina squatina). To allow NMFS adequate time to conduct this review, they must receive your information no later than Jan. 14, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Island Fisheries; Amendment 6 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Mariana Archipelago; Rebuilding Plan for Guam Bottomfish. NMFS must receive comments on Amendment 6 by Jan. 14, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act. Scientific and commercial information pertinent to the petitioned action must be received by Jan. 31, 2022.
- NPS – Request for Nominations for the National Park System Advisory Board. Nominations must be postmarked by Jan. 24, 2022.
- NOAA and USFWS – Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Management Plan. USFWS and NOAA must receive comments by Jan. 20, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Okaloosa Darter From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Jan. 18, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for Pascagoula Map Turtle; Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule for Pearl River Map Turtle; and Threatened Species Status for Alabama Map Turtle, Barbour’s Map Turtle, Escambia Map Turtle, and Pascagoula Map Turtle Due to Similarity of Appearance With a Section 4(d) Rule. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Jan. 24, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf. USFWS will accept public comments received or postmarked on or before Jan. 27, 2022.
- USFWS – Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm, White County, Indiana; Categorical Exclusion. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Jan. 27, 2022.
Visit this page on ESA’s website for updates on opportunities from the Federal Register, including upcoming meetings and regulations open for public comment.
ESA’s policy activities work to infuse ecological knowledge into national policy decisions through activities such as policy statements, Capitol Hill briefings, Congressional Visits Days, and coalition involvement. Policy News Updates are bi-monthly summaries of major environmental and science policy news. They are produced by the Public Affairs Office of the Ecological Society of America.
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