Policy News: September 12, 2022
In this issue:
Lawmakers are working to pass a short-term spending package to keep the government open in October.
Domestic Climate Czar Gina McCarthy to leave the White House this week, Biden hires new climate advisors.
California passes climate legislation.
Australia passes first climate legislation since 2011.
NAS reviews the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Draft Decadal Strategic Plan.
Federal Register opportunities
Appropriations: The Senate returned from its summer recess Sept. 6 and the House is due to return tomorrow, Sept. 13. Congress appears likely to pass a short-term spending measure keeping the government funded through Dec. 16, although disagreements remain over COVID-19 funding, aid for Ukraine and energy permitting reforms proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and House progressives, led by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) are opposing the permitting deal, citing concerns that the reforms would help fossil fuel projects and undermine the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act. Passing a short-term spending deal will likely be Congress’ main focus during the month of September. The current government fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
GAO: A study of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration finds that these funding agencies could do more to increase the rigor and transparency of the research they fund, by changing incentive structures. Suggested actions include encouraging researchers to preregister studies and publish null results and support training in statistical analysis and study design. Read the full report here.
The Government Accountability Office issued five new priority recommendations to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The recommendations include strengthening interagency coordination and managing climate change risks. Read the full report here.
- The Civilian Climate Corps was dropped from the climate bill. Now what? – The Washington Post
- Manchin says leadership pledged permitting reform in stopgap funding bill – The Hill
- Senate leans toward Dec. 16 stopgap funding bill – Roll Call
White House: Domestic Climate Czar Gina McCarthy will leave the Biden administration Sept. 16 and her deputy, Ali Zaidi, will lead the White House Climate Policy Office. Zaidi has worked in the Biden White House since the beginning of the administration and led climate and energy policy for Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. He also worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during the Obama administration.
John Podesta, a former climate adviser in the Obama White House and a White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration, will join the Biden administration as the senior adviser for clean energy innovation and implementation. This new role will include overseeing the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.
President Joe Biden also announced that he has nominated Richard Revesz to lead the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This office reviews all “economically significant” regulations proposed by federal agencies and can significantly modify – or stop – regulations. This position has been vacant since the beginning of the Biden administration and requires Senate confirmation. Revesz is a former dean and current professor at New York University’s School of Law and the founder of the Institute for Policy Integrity, an environmental think tank.
White House: The Office of Science and Technology Policy released draft templates for disclosing current and pending sources of support in federal grant applications. This form is intended to conform with a White House memorandum requiring researchers to disclose contracts associated with participation in programs sponsored by foreign governments, such as foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment. In recent years, the US government has prosecuted scientists who failed to disclose their affiliation with China’s Thousands Talents programs, which federal law enforcement officials say have been used to steal confidential research information. The National Science Foundation, on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council’s Research Security Subcommittee, is accepting public comments on these draft template forms though Oct. 31, 2022.
White House: President Joe Biden is expected to issue an executive order today, Monday, Sept. 12, aimed at boosting the U.S. biotechnology industry during a trip to Boston, MA. The executive order will include training programs for biotechnology workers and is expected to cover sectors from pharmaceuticals to biofuels and agricultural food supplies.
White House: The National Science and Technology Council re-established the Subcommittee on Open Science in August 2022. The purpose of this committee is to advance efforts related to open science across federal agencies and the committee is co-chaired by representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, NASA and the National Science Foundation. This committee is tasked with implementing the Biden administration’s recent memorandum directing federal agencies to make publications from federally funded research freely available upon publication.
Energy Department: The Office of Science announced that it has launched three new Urban Integrated Field Laboratories based in Chicago, Baltimore and the Texas Gulf Coasts. The goal of these field laboratories is to expand scientific knowledge of urban climate systems and develop effective and equitable ways to adapt to climate change.
NOAA: The National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing listing the queen conch as a threatened species. The agency finds that the species is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout its range. The primary threat to the species is overutilization in commercial fisheries. The species is an important fishery resource in the Caribbean and Central America and queen conch are sold for their meat. The proposed rule is open for public comment through Nov. 7, 2022.
NOAA: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo named Steve Thur as the next director of NOAA Research. Thur will start his new duties in early October. He is a career NOAA employee who most recently worked as the director of NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
- EPA to decide next steps on Pebble Mine project by Dec. 2 – Associated Press
- How Biden could help U.S. reach climate goals on his own – The Washington Post
- California Democrats cap legislative year with climate wins – Associated Press
- ‘All of a sudden it’s undrinkable’: why an entire US city has no clean water – The Guardian
- Judge upholds bird-safe glass ordinance – Spectrum News 1
- West Virginia, Kentucky officials repeatedly ignored plans to prepare for catastrophic floods. Residents are paying the price – Mountain State Spotlight
- Ukraine’s scientists need help to rebuild their research system – Nature
- Liz Truss must value science, not fear it – Nature Editorial
- Gabon Record Carbon Credit Sale a ‘Litmus Test’ Before COP27 – Bloomberg
- Australia’s first climate law since 2011 seals green comeback – The Straits Times
- ‘I feel lost’: Chilean researchers saddened by vote to reject new constitution – Nature
Harassment: The National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs issued a report detailing harassment among the research community in Antarctica. A survey of researchers and support staff finds that harassment is widespread at research facilities across the continent and that NSF lacks adequate reporting and response systems. Response and enforcement is spread across institutions and contractors, leaving gaps. The report also includes recommendations for improving workplace safety and stopping harassment, including improving response mechanisms.
NASEM: The Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, in collaboration with the Polar Research Board and Ocean Studies Board, is soliciting nominations for a new ad hoc committee that will provide guidance to the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs on future directions for Southern Ocean and Antarctic nearshore and coastal research. The study will provide guidance on key science drivers and consider the portfolio of tools, technologies, and ship capabilities needed to address these drivers. For more information and to view the statement of task, visit the project webpage.
The National Academies is seeking individuals to serve on the committee with expertise in physical, chemical, and biological oceanography and Antarctic marine life and ecosystems. Nominations are due September 15 and self-nominations are welcome.
NASEM: The Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate released a review of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Draft Decadal Strategic Plan for 2022-20223. The review committee found that advances in the draft plan include an increased emphasis on social sciences, community engagement with marginalized groups, and promotion of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in the production of science. Strengthening the interconnections between the plan’s core pillars and expanding opportunities for coordination among federal agencies tasked with responding to global climate change would improve the plan. The draft plan could more strongly convey a sense of urgency throughout the plan and would benefit from additional examples of key research outputs that could advance policy and decision making on global change challenge.
USDA: The National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NCFAR) will hold a Latte N Learn webinar on September 15 at 10 a.m. eastern featuring USDA Under Secretary Chavonda Jacobs-Young. The webinar will cover how USDA’s research community is working to advance climate-smart agriculture and nutrition security as well as an update on the latest priorities from the leadership at the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Click here to register.
DoD: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is holding a series of conferences this fall focused on connecting the agency with new research communities and partnerships. The DARPA Forward conference at Washington State University started September 13 and runs through September 14. The next conference after that is at meeting at Ohio State University October 4-5. There are both in-person and virtual meeting attendance options.
- Public access is not equal access – Science
- Scientists in Ukraine have long fought for scientific freedom – Nature
Register to Vote and Request an Absentee Ballot
The midterm elections are happening this November. On a national level, all seats in the House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate will be contested. Several state governorships and many other state and local elections will also be contested. Be sure you are registered to vote in time to participate! Learn more about voting policies and rights in your state and register to vote at Rock the Vote, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging young people in politics.
Voting procedures and requirements for requesting an absentee ballot during the coronavirus pandemic vary by state. Visit your state board of elections website or Vote.org for deadlines and to request a ballot.
ESA Correspondence to Policymakers
- ESC – FY 2024 Funding Request (Aug. 11, 2022)
- CNSF – Statement on Passage of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (Aug. 2, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of Appropriations for Agricultural Research (July 13, 2022)
- ESC – FY2023 Department of Energy Office of Science Appropriations Statement (June 14, 2022)
- ESA – Testimony in Support of FY 2023 Appropriations for Forest Service Research and Development (June 10, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of FY 2023 Appropriations for the DOE Foundation (identical letters sent to both the House and Senate) (May 20, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter about Appropriations for USDA Agricultural Research and Climate (May 11, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of FY 2023 302(b) Allocation for Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations (May 11, 2022)
- ESA – Letter to the Forest Service about Managed Wildland Fire (May 3, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of Appropriations to the Agricultural Research Service (April 25, 2022)
- CNSF – FY 2023 Appropriations Letter (identical letters sent to both the House and Senate) (April 7, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in support of appropriations for EPA Science and Technology and Science to Achieve Results program (identical letters sent to both the House and Senate) (April 4, 2022)
View more letters and testimony from ESA here.
Federal Register Opportunities
Upcoming Public Meetings:
- Army Corps of Engineers – Board on Coastal Engineering Research Meeting (Sept. 14-15)
- BLM – Northwest Resource Advisory Council Meetings (Colorado) (Sept. 14-15)
- BLM – Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting (Oct. 4-6)
- BLM – Public Meetings for the John Day-Snake Resource Advisory Council Planning Subcommittee and the John Day Snake Resource Advisory Council, Oregon (Sept. 14, Oct. 20)
- BLM – Western Oregon Resource Advisory Council Meeting (Sept. 22, Oct. 11, Oct. 13)
- BLM – Public Meetings for the San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee, Washington (Oct. 6)
- Department of Energy – Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee Meeting (Sept. 30)
- EPA – Public Meeting Webinar of the Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) (Sept. 20)
- EPA – National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Virtual Public Meeting (Sept. 28)
- Forest Service – Eleven Point Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Sept. 15)
- Forest Service – Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board Meeting (Sept. 21)
- Forest Service – Greater Rocky Mountain Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Sept. 29)
- Forest Service – Coconino Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Sept. 29)
- Forest Service – Trinity County Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Oct. 3, Oct. 17)
- Forest Service – Sabine-Angelina Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (Oct. 4, Oct. 4, Oct. 11)
- NASA – NASA Advisory Council STEM Engagement Committee Meeting (Sept. 30)
- NOAA NMFS – Advisory Committee Open Session on Management Strategy Evaluation for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Sept. 16)
- NOAA NMFS – New England Fishery Management Council Public Meeting (Sept. 26-29)
- NOAA – Evaluation of Connecticut Coastal Management Program Public Meeting (Sept. 21, comments due Sept. 30)
- NOAA – Hydrographic Services Review Panel Meeting (Sept. 20-22)
- NOAA – Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee Meeting (Sept. 29)
- NPS – Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Advisory Commission Meeting (Sept. 15)
- NPS – Public Meetings of the National Park Service Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission Program (Aniakchak National Monument SRC – Sept. 29, Lake Clark National Park SRC – Sept. 28, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park SRC – Sept. 28-29)
- NSF – National Science Board Committee on External Engagement Meetings (Sept. 26)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education Meeting (Sept. 20-21)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- BLM – Notice of Intent To Prepare a Resource Management Plan for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah and an Associated Environmental Impact Statement. The BLM requests the public submit comments concerning the scope of the analysis, potential alternatives, and identification of relevant information, studies, and ACEC nominations by Sept. 27, 2022.
- BLM – Notice of Proposed Withdrawal and Public Meeting, Upper Colorado River Special Recreation Management Area; Colorado. Comments must be received by Sept. 29, 2022.
- BLM – Notice of Proposed Supplementary Rule for Public Lands Managed by the Missoula Field Office in Missoula, Granite, and Powell Counties, Montana. The BLM must receive comments by Oct. 3, 2022.
- EPA – Request for Nominations for the Science Advisory Board Environmental Justice Screen (EJScreen) Review Panel. Nominations should be submitted by Sept. 20, 2022
- NOAA – Notice of Matching Fund Opportunity for Ocean and Coastal Mapping and Request for Partnership Proposals. Proposals, including any optional GIS files of the proposed project areas, must be received via email by 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 30, 2022.
- NOAA – Establishment of the Ocean Research Advisory Panel and Solicitation of Nominations for Membership. Nominations should be sent to the email address specified below and must be received by Sept. 30, 2022.
- NOAA – Establishing an Advisory Council Pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and Solicitation for Applications for the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Applications for membership on the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council need to be postmarked or received by Oct. 1, 2022.
- NOAA – Proposed Rule for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Management Review: Blueprint for Restoration. Comments are due Oct. 26, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Request for Information on Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Eastern Bering Sea Snow Crab Mortality Mitigation Measures. Comments must be received via the Council’s eAgenda meeting portal by 5 p.m. AKT on Sept. 23, 2022 at https://meetings.npfmc.org/Meeting/Details/2941.
- NOAA NMFS – Nominations to the American Fisheries Advisory Committee. Nominations must have an email date stamp on or before Sept. 24, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Guidelines for Preparing Stock Assessment Reports Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act; Draft Revisions to Procedural Directive (NMFS PD 02-204-01). Comments must be received by Sept. 26, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Amendments to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule. Submit comments on or before Sept. 30, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 20 to the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan. Comments must be received on or before Oct. 11, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on Modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan To Reduce Mortality and Serious Injury of Large Whales in Commercial Trap/Pot and Gillnet Fisheries Along the U.S. East Coast. Comments must be received by Oct. 11, 2022.
- USDA – Request for Nominations of Members for the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board, Specialty Crop Committee (SCC), Citrus Disease Subcommittee (CDS), and National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC). Written nominations will be received continuously until Sept. 30, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Receipt of Habitat Conservation Plan and Applications for Incidental Take Permits for Bat Species in MI, MN, and WI; Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Sept. 28, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews of Five Listed Species in the Mountain-Prairie Region. USFWS is requesting submission of new information no later than Oct. 4, 2022.
- White House CEQ – Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) Federal Lands and Outer Continental Shelf Permitting Task Force. CEQ must receive nominations by Sept. 26, 2022.
- White House CEQ – Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) Non-Federal Lands Permitting Task Force. CEQ must receive nominations by Sept. 26, 2022.
- White House CEQ – Environmental Justice Scorecard Feedback. Responses to this RFI should be received by Oct. 3, 2022.
- White House OSTP – Request for Information; Equitable Data Engagement and Accountability. Interested persons and organizations are invited to submit comments on or before 5 p.m. ET, Oct. 3, 2022.
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.