Policy News: March 28, 2022
In this issue:
Biden Releases Budget Request
Request proposes increasing non-defense discretionary spending and spending on climate and clean energy across the government
Senate to agree to send the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act to conference committee.
USFWS proposes listing the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.
Appeals court revives Biden administration’s social cost of carbon metric.
California Governor Gavin Newson (D) proposes creating a fund for Native American tribes to purchase ancestral lands.
National Academies of Science launches Safe Passage Fund for Ukrainian researchers.
National Academies of Sciences to release Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration report.
Federal Register opportunities
Biden Releases Budget Request
President Joe Biden released the federal government budget request today, March 28. The president’s budget request serves as a starting point for fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations. Now, House appropriators will draft budget bills for FY 2023, which starts October 2022.
Congress completed appropriations for FY 2022 in March 2022 (see ESA Policy News, March 14, 2022). Ultimately, Congress appropriated significantly less for agencies of interest to ESA members than proposed in President Biden’s FY 2022 budget request. Most notably, the National Science Foundation (NSF) received a 4% increase, significantly less than proposed in Biden’s FY 2022 budget request and in authorizing House and Senate authorizing bills. President Biden proposed a nearly 20% increase in his FY 2022 budget.
For FY 2023, President Biden proposes increasing non-defense discretionary spending and increasing spending on climate and clean energy across the government:
- The president’s budget request includes $10.5 billion for NSF, a $1.6 billion increase over the FY 2022 level. This includes $880 million for a Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships and $1.6 billion for climate research and development.
- The request includes $17.5 billion for the Department of the Interior. The U.S. Geological Survey receives $1.9 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey, a $250 million increase over FY 2022. The request also includes $375 million for climate science in the Interior Department and $5 billion for climate adaptation and resilience.
- The Department of Energy Office of Science would receive $7.8 billion. Congress funded the Office of Science at $7.475 billion in FY 2022 and $7.026 billion in FY 2021.
- Biden includes $28.5 billion for the Department of Agriculture. This includes $24 million for the USDA climate hubs, which link USDA climate science and agricultural producers, and $4 billion for USDA’s research, education and outreach programs.
- The EPA receives $11.9 billion, a $2.34 billion increase over FY 2022.
- NOAA receives $6.9 billion, a $1 billion increase over FY 2022 levels. This includes $92 billion for competitive climate research grants.
- The request provides $26 billion for NASA, including $2.4 billion for earth-observing satellites and climate research.
ESA will update the federal budget tracker with more details as agencies release more detailed requests over the coming days.
NSF: After clearing several procedural votes, the full Senate is expected to send the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) to conference committee to reconcile the difference between the Senate bill and the House’s America COMPETES Act (H.R. 3593). Both bills increase authorized funding for the National Science Foundation but differ on the exact amounts. It is worth noting that authorizing bills set guidelines for appropriators to fund the programs and agencies under its jurisdiction, but it does not actually allocate funds. The Senate will resume consideration of this bill on the afternoon of March 28.
The America COMPETES Act authorizes Congress to allocate $17.9 billion over five years for NSF, cumulatively providing $35.6 billion in additional funding over five years. The bill also creates a Science and Engineering Solution Directorate, focused on “societal challenges”, that include but are not limited to work on strategic technologies.
The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act creates a Technology and Innovation Directorate, focused on “key technology focus areas” and recommends Congress provide this new NSF directorate with $29 billion over five years, with its annual budget ramping up from $1.8 billion to $9.3 billion. The bill also increases the annual budget of the rest of NSF from to $12 billion over the same period.
The Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill, finalized in March 2022, funded NSF at $8.84 billion and created a new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships.
Great Lakes: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and other House Democrats from Great Lakes states introduced a bill (H.R. 7131) to create a Great Lakes Authority. This new agency would be charged with promoting economic development in the region, restoring and protecting the Great Lakes and funding clean energy, green infrastructure and water infrastructure projects. The bill authorizes $30 million for the agency in FY 2023 and $50 million a year in subsequent years.
Climate: Reps. David Rouzer (R-NC) and Jason Crow (D-CO) introduced a bill (H.R. 7178) that would create a grant program for states and tribes to create and maintain climate resiliency offices and programs. To be eligible for the program, the state or tribe must develop a resiliency framework that identifies the current and projected risks and vulnerabilities in the area of the environment, natural hazards, economy, infrastructure, housing and health and social services. The legislation authorizes $200 million each year for six years.
- The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted to advance the Right Whale Coexistence Act (S. 3664). This bill, sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), creates a new grant program to fund collaborative research between government agencies, non-governmental organizations and maritime industries to reduce human impacts on North Atlantic right whales.
- Lawmakers Converging on Vision for DOE Office of Science – FYI
- Manchin launches new push for ‘all of the above’ energy bill – The Washington Post
USFWS: Citing the impacts of white-nose syndrome on the species, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing classifying the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as an endangered species. The species is currently protected under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. White-nose syndrome is a deadly fungal infection that was first discovered in New York in 2006. According to USFWS, White-nose syndrome has “caused estimated northern long-eared bat population declines of 97–100 percent across 79 percent of the species’ range.” The agency will hold a virtual public informational meeting and a public hearing April 7 and is accepting public comments through May 23, 2022. USFWS will issue a final rule in November 2022.
USFWS also proposes listing the sand dune phacelia (Phacelia argentea), a coastal herb, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and designating 252 acres in southern Oregon and northern California as critical habitat. The species is mainly threatened by competition with invasive species. The proposed rule is open for public comment through May 23, 2022.
White House: The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality are holding a series of tribal consultation and public comment sessions as they develop guidance on inclusion of Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge in federal decision making. Written public comments can be sent to ITEK@nullostp.eop.gov by the end of day Thursday, May 5, 2022.
OSTP released a request for information to support the development of a federal scientific integrity policy. The information requested includes: (1) How scientific integrity policies can address important and emergent issues including diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; new technologies; and emerging modes of science; (2) The criteria to evaluate scientific integrity policy content, implementation, outcomes and impacts in the agencies; (3) How to ensure that scientific integrity evaluation findings lead to effective iterative improvement of scientific integrity policy and practices; and (4) How to ensure the long-term viability and implementation of scientific integrity policies, practices and culture through future administrations.
The White House Office of Management and Budget and OSTP will hold a virtual summit on evidence for action April 7. According to the annoucement, this summit will kick off a Year of Evidence for Action, focused on building and strengthening partnerships between evidence communities within and outside of the federal government. RSVP here.
PCAST: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology held a meeting March 24 focused on dectecting, tracking, mitigating and preventing wildfires and improving science communication.
- There are millions of acres of ‘failing’ rangelands, data shows – High Country News
- Many BLM grazing permits renewed without NEPA review, group says – E&E News
- The census undercounted people of color. Here’s what that means for environmental justice. – Grist
- Fifty percent of U.S. waterways impaired by pollution: report – The Hill
- EPA Union Urges Agency To Scrap Trump-Era Plan To Relocate Houston Lab – The Huffington Post
- The SEC proposed a landmark climate disclosure rule. Here’s what to know. – The Washington Post
- US pipeline agency pulls back plan to assess climate impacts – Associated Press
- Appeals court revives key climate measure rejected by Trump judge – Politico
- Judge axes Trump-era lease sales to protect sage grouse – E&E News
- High-profile trial begins for chemical engineer accused of hiding China ties – Nature
- 6 takeaways from Jackson’s week of hearings – E&E News
California: Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is proposing creating a $100 million fund for Native American tribes to purchase ancestral lands in his budget request to the state legislature. This proposal is part of Governor Newsom’s pledge to conserve 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030.
Michigan: Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) and the state legislature announced a deal to spend $4.7 billion in state surplus and federal funding on infrastructure, including $450 million for state and local parks, $669 million for clean water projects and funds for PFAS clean-up.
- Climate Suit Claims Fossil Fuel Development Poses ‘Existential Threat’ to Utah’s Youth – Common Dreams
- Environmental groups call on EPA to simplify pollution regulation – VTDigger
National Academies: The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has launched a fund to support the Polish Academy of Sciences’ work to resettle Ukrainian researchers and their families who have fled Ukraine. NAS is also considering options to resettle these researchers in the United States, should they not be able to return to Ukraine in the near term.
The Safe Passage Fund is currently accepting donations from the public.
UN: The International Panel on Climate Change plans to release the next and final installment of the Sixth Assessment report on April 4. The final installment will focus on climate mitigation. The second installation of the Sixth Assessment Report, released in February 2022, analyzed climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and warned that the world faces unavoidable climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F).
Conservation Finance: The World Bank priced $150 million of five-year Sustainable Development Bonds to protect black rhinos in South Africa. Bond funds will be used to finance conservation projects and bondholders will be paid out based on the rate of the rhino’s population growth in the Addo Elephant National Park and the Great Fish River Nature Reserve. The Zoological Society of London and Conservation Alpha will independently calculate the rhino growth rate.
- IPCC details a world afflicted by global warming – PoliticoPro Graphic
- U.N. secretary general says global climate target ‘is on life support’ – The Washington Post
- Ukrainian researchers pressure journals to boycott Russian authors – Nature
- What’s at risk in Chernobyl – The Washington Post
- Researchers around the world band together to help fleeing Ukrainian scientists – Chemistry World
- Ukrainian Conservation Organizations Shift Missions to Humanitarian Support – The Revelator
- Beavers return to London more than 400 years after they were hunted to extinction – The Independent
- The future of research collaborations involving Russia – Nature
- Fourth round of U.N. talks fail to finalize a treaty to manage the high seas – Mongabay
- UN sets 5-year goal to broaden climate early warning systems – Associated Press
- Pressure grows for deal to save nature at crunch talks in Geneva – The Guardian
NAS: The Polar Research Board of the National Academies of Science (NAS) is organizing a workshop to foster community-wide discussion about harnessing cutting-edge technological innovations to (1) advance, facilitate, and transform Antarctic and polar research; (2) increase the reach of Antarctic and polar research while reducing the environmental footprint of these operations; and (3) facilitate broader, more diverse participation in Antarctic and polar research. The goal of this workshop is to look forward and consider new technology frontiers, along with strategies for building innovative partnerships with technology developers not yet engaged in polar research.
As input to this workshop, the National Academies is seeking creative ideas regarding:
- existing technologies that hold great potential to advance some key aspects of Antarctic/polar research, but that have not yet been applied for this purpose.
- new technological advances that could plausibly (both technologically and operationally) be developed to advance some key aspects of Antarctic / polar research.
- research questions you would like to pursue but currently cannot due to technological limits or constraints.
Comments are due Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Submit research input here and register for the workshop here.
NAS: A new National Academies’ report, The Physics of Life, presents a compelling vision for the next decade of science in biological physics. Biological physics, or the physics of living systems, brings the physicist’s style of inquiry to bear on the beautiful phenomena of life. The report outlines how federal agencies, policymakers, and universities can strengthen the field’s future and offers recommendations on research directions, funding, workforce, and education. Read the press release here.
NAS: The Committee on Long-Term Environmental Trends will be releasing their report entitled An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report on March 31, 2022. The report assesses the cumulative effects of multiple restoration projects along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast; considers the effects of acute events and long-term physical changes on restoration projects; discusses synergistic and antagonistic effects of long-term restoration activities; and recommends adaptive management strategies. The report also assesses the relevant existing resources, including available data, for informing decision-making and considers what additional efforts are needed.
There will be an upcoming report release webinar on Thursday, April 7, 2022, from 2-3 p.m. ET. During the webinar, members of the committee will give an overview of the report, including discussing the key conclusions and recommendations, and also take questions from the audience.
NSF: The National Science Foundation is seeking nominations for the National Medal of Science from February 7 through May 20, 2022.
NSF: Applications due March 29 to attend workshops to “hack” the Rules of Life – to consider how we might use those Rules to tackle pressing societal challenges.
NSF is hosting a series of virtual events centered on Using the Rules of Life to Address Societal Challenges. The goal is to bring together researchers with diverse perspectives — including those from all scientific disciplines, with various levels of experience (from senior scientists to postdocs), from different types of institutions or organizations, and from historically underrepresented groups in STEM — to share ideas about how Rules of Life approaches and data might be harnessed by multidisciplinary teams to tackle pressing societal challenges.
There are opportunities for senior scientists to post docs to participate, but you must apply to attend. Applications to attend the workshop at due March 29. NSF opened the call March 21, leaving a short window of time for applications. Postdocs will have the opportunity to engage in focused professional networking opportunities (Incubators) in addition to the Workshops with established scientists.
The NSF describes the 4 workshops as based around the following themes:
- Stewarding an Integrated Biodiversity-Climate System
- Achieving a Sustainable Future
- Harnessing Microbiomes for Societal Benefit
- Leveraging AI and Data Science for Predicting Mechanisms
ESA Correspondence to Policymakers
- Agricultural and Food Research Intiative Coalition – FY 2023 Appropriations Letter (March 22, 202)
- Multisociety letter urging the White House and Congress urging action in response to the Ukraine crisis (March 11, 2022)
- Multiorganization letter about FY2022 Agricultural Research Appropriations (Feb. 23, 2022)
- Multisociety letter urging Congress to complete 2022 Appropriations (Feb. 4, 2022)
- ESC – Statement to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board On the Critical Role the DOE Office of Science Plays in Responding to the Climate Challenge and Clean Energy Transition (Jan. 18, 2022)
- ESC – Statement in support of Asmeret Berhe to be the Director of the DOE Office of Science (Jan. 18, 2022)
View more letters and testimony from ESA here.
Federal Register Opportunities
Upcoming Public Meetings:
- Army Corps of Engineers – Mississippi River Commission Meeting (April 4)
- Army Corps of Engineers – Inland Waterways Users Board Meeting (April 20)
- BLM – Public Meeting of the Western Oregon Resource Advisory Council (March 30-31)
- EPA – Environmental Financial Advisory Board Meeting (March 29-30)
- EPA – Environmental Justice Considerations for the Development of the Proposed Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Public Meeting (April 5, Comments must be received on or before April 20, 2022)
- EPA – Public Meeting of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Lead Review Panel (April 8)
- EPA – National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting (April 20-21, register by April 13)
- EPA – National and Governmental Advisory Committees to the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Meetings (April 28)
- Forest Service – Central Idaho Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (March 31)
- Forest Service – Central Idaho Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (April 7)
- HHS – Meeting of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (April 27-28)
- NOAA – Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council Public Meeting (April 6)
- NOAA – Evaluation of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (April 12, comments due April 22)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Bluefin Tuna United States Stakeholder Meeting (April 1, written comments and RSVPs due March 23)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Council Public Meetings (April 4-11)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Albacore United States Stakeholder Meeting (April 5)
- NOAA NMFS – Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meetings (April 5-7)
- NOAA NMFS – New England Fishery Management Council Public Meeting (April 12-14)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council Public Meetings (April 7-13)
- NPS – Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission Program Public Meetings (Lake Clark National Park SRC – March 30, Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC – April 20-21)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education Meeting (April 19)
- NSF – National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force Meeting (April 8)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Geosciences Meeting (April 13-14)
- NSF – STEM Education Advisory Panel Meeting (April 27)
- USGS – Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee Meeting (March 29)
- White House – White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting (March 30-31)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- BLM – Call for Nominations for the Western Oregon Resource Advisory Council. The Medford District Office will accept public nominations until April 4, 2022.
- BLM – Call for Nominations for Bureau of Land Management New Mexico Resource Advisory Councils. All nominations must be received no later than April 4, 2022.
- BLM – Notice of Proposed Withdrawal and Public Meetings; San Juan County, NM. Comments and public meeting requests must be received by April 6, 2022.
- Bureau of Reclamation – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold Public Scoping Meetings on the 2021 Endangered Species Act Reinitiation of Section 7 Consultation on the Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. Submit written comments on the scope of the EIS on or before March 30, 2022.
- CEQ – Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Guidance. CEQ must receive comments by April 18, 2022 (comment period extended).
- CEQ – Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool Beta Version. Responses to this RFI should be received by April 25, 2022.
- EPA – Pesticide Registration Review; Proposed Interim Decisions for Several Pesticides; Notice of Availability. Comments must be received on or before April 4, 2022.
- EPA – Pesticide Registration Review; Draft Human Health and/or Ecological Risk Assessments for Several Pesticides; Notice of Availability. Comments must be received on or before April 4, 2022.
- EPA – Request for Nominations of Candidates for the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). Nominations should be submitted by April 13, 2022
- EPA – Proposed Settlement Agreement, Clean Water Act. Written comments on the proposed settlement agreements must be received by April 20, 2022.
- Forest Service – Notice of Proposed Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for Removal Action, Nacimiento Mine Site, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico. Comments must be received in writing by April 18, 2022.
- Interior Department – Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council Charter Renewal; Request for Nominations. Nominations for the Council must be submitted by April 1, 2022 (nomination period extended).
- NOAA – Draft Revised Management Plan for the Chesapeake Bay Virginia National Estuarine Research Reserve. Comments are due by March 31, 2022.
- NOAA – Draft Revised Management Plan for the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Comments are due by April 13, 2022.
- NOAA – Hydrographic Services Review Panel Nominations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking nominations for members to serve on the Hydrographic Services Review Panel with nominations due by April 15, 2022.
- NOAA – Review of Nomination for Mariana Trench National Marine Sanctuary. Written comments must be received by April 25, 2022 (comment period extended).
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council; Ocean Salmon Public Meetings and Hearings. Written comments on the salmon management alternatives adopted by the Council at its March 2022 meeting received electronically or in hard copy by 5 p.m. Pacific Time, April 5, 2022, will be considered.
- NOAA NMFS – Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats. The Louisiana TIG will consider public comments received on or before April 18, 2022.
- NPS – Request for Nominations for the Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee. Written nominations must be received by April 5, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog; Threatened Status With Section 4(d) Rule for Two Distinct Population Segments and Endangered Status for Two Distinct Population Segments. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before March 30, 2022 (comment period extended).
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Tiehm’s Buckwheat. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before April 4, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews of 40 Species in California, Nevada, and Oregon. To ensure consideration in their reviews, USFWS is requesting submission of new information no later than April 4, 2022.
- USFWS – Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Nineteenth Regular Meeting: Proposed Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items Being Considered; Observer Information. USFWS will consider all information and comments received on or before April 6, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for 50 Hawaiian Archipelago Species. Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before April 25, 2022.
- USGS – Reconciliation of Derogatory Geographic Names Tribal Consultation. Written comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 24, 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.
Send questions or comments to Alison Mize, director of public affairs, Alison@nullesa.org or Nicole Zimmerman, public affairs manager, Nicole@nullesa.org
Visit the ESA website to learn more about our activities and membership.