ESA Policy News: May 15, 2023
In this issue:
Apply for a Badge to Attend COP28 as an Observer via ESA
COP28 will take place Nov. 30 – Dec. 12 in Dubai.
House Science Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Republican colleagues express concerns that the Energy Department deprioritizing basic research.
Biden administration issues proposed rule to limit emissions from power plants.
Supreme Court decision about California’s pork regulations could impact state climate regulations.
A report from Chesapeake Bay Program science advisors questions long-standing approach to Chesapeake Bay clean up.
UAE spokesperson says that the world is not ready to “switch off” fossil fuels ahead of COP28.
National Academies to hold a workshop titled Beyond Broadening Participation: Research to Progress to Impact.
ESA is accepting expressions of interest from members to receive an ESA “observer status” badge to attend the Conference of Parties (COP) 28 Climate Change Conference, which will take place from Nov. 30 – Dec. 12 at the Expo City Dubai, UAE.
ESA may be able to issue a limited number of “observer status” badges to ESA members. Those receiving a badge would not be formally representing ESA. This summer, the UN will inform ESA about the number of observer badges it will provide. Last year, ESA received 5 badges to share for the two weeks and we were able to give 10 members a badge for one week.
Members would be responsible for all associated travel costs and expenses to attend COP28 if offered an ESA badge. Additionally, those selected to receive a badge would be required to meet all vaccine and other requirements set by the COP28 organizers and the host country and to submit any information that organizers request to register recipients such as passport information.
Please complete this form to express your interest in receiving an ESA badge. This form can be used for groups of individuals interested in receiving an ESA “observer status” badge led by an ESA member.
ESA held a Water Cooler chat with ESA members who attended COP 26, the recording is linked here.
Senate: The full Senate voted to pass resolutions nullifying two endangered species rules finalized by the Biden administration. One rule repeals a Trump-era definition of habitat under the Endangered Species Act. The other rule lists the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. Previously, the species was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Both resolutions passed 51-49 margin. All Senate Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted for both measures. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) voted for the habitat resolution and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) voted for the northern long-eared bat measure. President Joe Biden has pledged to veto both resolutions.
Conservation: Nine bipartisan Senators and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) signed on as co-sponsors of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S. 1149). This bill provides $1.4 billion in annual mandatory funding to state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies for the conservation of at-risk species and the implementation of state wildlife action plans. Lawmakers have introduced different versions of this bill since 2016 but have struggled to agree on a funding source for the bill. Last year, the full House passed this legislation by a 231-190 margin. The bill has attracted bipartisan support in the Senate but failed to pass the full Senate during the 117th Congress. A broad collation of organizations, including ESA, sent a letter of support for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in April. The bill now has 12 sponsors in total, six Republicans, five Democrats and Sinema.
Energy Department: House Science Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Brandon Williams (R-NY) and other Republican members of the House Science Committee sent a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm expressing concerns that the Energy Department is deprioritizing the Office of Science over applied energy programs in the Energy Department. The Office of Science funds and conducts basic energy research, including the national laboratories. The letter from Members of Congress claims that the increased focus on applied energy activities has led to the neglect of research infrastructure needs.
- The full House approved Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)’s Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act (H.R. 676) by a wide bipartisan basis. This bill requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to collaborate with state and local governments and Indian Tribes on vulnerability assessments related to ocean acidification.
- The House also passed Rep. Max Miller (R-OH)’s Advanced Weather Model Computing Development Act (H.R. 1715). The bill directs NOAA and the Department of Energy to conduct collaborative research to advance numerical weather and climate prediction. Miller is the chair of the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on the Environment.
- The House Agriculture Committee approved a bill (H.R 1713) from House Science Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Science Committee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) aimed to increase research collaborations between the Energy and Agriculture Departments.
- CHIPS And Science Funding Update: FY 2023 Omnibus, FY 2024 Budget Both Short By Billions – Federation of American Scientists
- Schumer Plans China-Focused Follow-Up to CHIPS and Science Act – FYI
- These four challenges will shape the next farm bill – and how the US eats – The Conversation
- Lawmakers Question ‘Seriousness’ of Antarctica Contractor’s Response to Sexual Assaults – FYI
- Why McCarthy might not get permitting reform in his debt ceiling demands – The Washington Post
EPA: The Biden administration unveiled its latest iteration of regulations limiting emissions from power plants. This proposed rule requires power plants to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 90% between 2035 and 2040 – or shut down. The Obama Administration finalized a similar regulation, known as the Clean Power Plan, in 2015, but red state attorneys general challenged the rule in the courts and the Trump administration ultimately withdrew the regulation. It will likely take the administration another year to finalize this rule and the rule will be open for public comment once it is published in the Federal Register.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) has already announced plans to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the rule. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has pledged to block all EPA nominees unless the proposed rule is withdrawn.
USGS: The agency, in collaboration with Canadian and Mexican agencies and the Udall Foundation, is preparing a two-year (2023–2025) regional assessment of biodiversity and climate change, culminating in the first-ever assessment report addressing these two challenges together for the United States, Canada, Mexico and U.S. territories. The USGS is seeking public comment on the draft prospectus for the assessment, nominations for membership on the assessment authoring team and expressions of interest in serving on the Biodiversity and Climate Change Assessment Guidance Committee which will be convened by the Udall Foundation. Congress mandated this report in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Comments and nominations for the authoring team must be submitted by July 7, 2023. Expressions of interest in the Guidance Committee are due no later than June 2, 2023. For more information, see the Federal Register Notice.
- Black Alabamians endured poor sewage for decades. Now they may see justice. – The Washington Post
- US agency plans deeper study of sea turtles, dredging threat – Associated Press
- Vilsack says innovation key to fighting climate change, food insecurity – Food and Environment Reporting Network
- New southern Arizona mine slated for ecologically diverse Patagonia mountains – Arizona Republic
- EPA preps Trump-era plan to push wetlands permitting to states – E&E News
Chesapeake Bay: A new report from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) for the Chesapeake Bay Program finds that existing efforts to reduce non-point sources of nutrients are insufficient to achieve pollution reduction goals and that reductions in nutrient pollution have not led to the expected level of improvement in water quality in the bay. The report authors argue that the legal requirements of the Clean Water Act to reduce nutrient levels in the Chesapeake Bay prevent states and the EPA from investing in other approaches to improving the Chesapeake Bay, such as habitat improvement projects. Authors also suggested that it is unrealistic for bay cleanup efforts to aim to return to past bay conditions, given urban development in the watershed and the impacts of climate change.
The STAC is seeking nominations of candidates for at-large membership positions. This committee provides scientific and technical advice and guidance to the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership on measures to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed and serves as the liaison between the scientific community and the Chesapeake Bay Program. The committee is seeking members with expertise in Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, estuarine living resources, climate change and more. For more information, see the STAC website and the nomination form. The call for self-nominations will stay open through Sept. 1, 2023. Applications will be reviewed as they are received on the following dates: May 31, June 29, July 28 and Sept. 1.
- Tribe signs pact with California to work together on efforts to save endangered salmon – Los Angeles Times
- Texas’ water infrastructure is broken, jeopardizing quality and supply for a growing state – The Texas Tribune
- Legislature narrowly votes down Dunleavy’s University of Alaska Board of Regents nominee – Alaska Public Media
NASEM: The Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences will hold a hybrid workshop titled Beyond Broadening Participation: Research to Progress to Impact May 17-18, 2023. This workshop focus on issues raised by the recently released report Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations. The National Academies has invited national researchers and practitioners to speak on the ways that research can inform practice, evaluation can measure progress, and how the community interested in antiracism, diversity, equity and inclusion can increase a sense of belonging in learning and working environments. RSVP here.
ESA Correspondence to Policymakers
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (April 27, 2023)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (April 17, 2023)
- ESA – ESA Response to the Request for Information “Framing to the National Nature Assessment” (March 30, 2023)
- AFRI Coalition – FY 2024 Appropriations Letter (March 24, 2023)
- Friends of ARS – FY 2024 Appropriations Letter (March 17, 2023)
- CNSF – FY2024 letters to the House and Senate (March 15, 2023)
- ESC – FY 2024 Office of Science Statement (March 14, 2023)
- ESA – ESA Urges All Nations to Take Climate Action at COP27 (Nov. 8, 2022)
- CNSF – FY 2024 Letter to White House OMB and OSTP (Oct. 27, 2022)
- CNSF – FY 2023 Conference Committee Appropriations Letter (Oct. 27, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter of Support for Agricultural Research Appropriations (Oct. 17, 2022)
- ESC – Letter of Support for the DOE Foundation for FY 2024 (Sept. 20, 2022)
- ESC – FY 2024 Funding Request (Aug. 11, 2022)
- CNSF – Statement on Passage of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (Aug. 2, 2022)
View more letters and testimony from ESA here.
Upcoming Public Meetings:
- Bureau of Reclamation – Public Meeting of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group (May 17)
- BLM – Southwest District Colorado Resource Advisory Council Sheep Grazing Subcommittee Meetings (June 13)
- BLM – Utah Resource Advisory Council Meetings (May 17-18)
- BLM – Public Meetings of the Central California Resource Advisory Council (June 14-15)
- BLM – Public Meetings: Northern California District Resource Advisory Council (May 24-25)
- DOE – Environmental Management Advisory Board Meeting (May 22)
- EPA – Local Government Advisory Committee and Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee Meeting (May 22-23)
- EPA – Notification of a Public Meeting of the Chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and CASAC Ozone Review Panel (May 23-24)
- EPA – Public Meeting of the Science Advisory Board CASTNet Review Panel (May 24-26)
- EPA – Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee Meeting (May 31, June 1)
- EPA – White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Public Meeting (June 13-15)
- Forest Service – Missoula Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (June 15)
- Forest Service – Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board Meeting (May 17)
- Forest Service – Southern Arizona Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (May 25)
- Forest Service – Flathead Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (May 25, May 31)
- Forest Service – Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board Meeting (June 14)
- NASA – NASA Advisory Council Science Committee Meeting (May 31 & June 1)
- NOAA NMFS – Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Climate Vulnerability Assessment Public Meeting and Webinar (May 16-18)
- NOAA NMFS – Permanent Advisory Committee To Advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Meeting (May 22)
- NOAA NMFS – 31st General Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and 16th Scientific Advisory Subcommittee to the General Advisory Committee; Meeting Announcement (June 15)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources Meeting (May 31 – June 1)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Polar Programs Meeting (May 17)
- NPS – Public Meetings for the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission (June 5)
- White House – President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Meeting (May 18-19)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- Army Corps of Engineers – Solicitation of Applications for Stakeholder Representative Members of the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee. The agency must receive completed applications and endorsement letters no later than May 31, 2023.
- BOEM – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for a Wind Energy Research Lease on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Maine. BOEM must receive comments no later than June 5, 2023.
- BLM – Notice of Intent To Amend the Las Vegas Resource Management Plan and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Golden Currant Solar Project in Clark County, Nevada. The BLM requests the public submit comments concerning the scope of the analysis, potential alternatives, and identification of relevant information, and studies by June 9, 2023.
- BLM – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement To Analyze the Potential Environmental Effects From Maintaining Secretary Jewell’s Coal Leasing Moratorium. The BLM will consider all written comments received or postmarked during the public comment period, which will close on June 15, 2023.
- EPA – Request for Nominations to EPA’s National and Governmental Advisory Committees. Submit nominations by May 19, 2023.
- EPA – Integrated Science Assessment for Lead (Pb) (External Review Draft) . Comments must be received on or before May 30, 2023.
- EPA – Request for Nominations to the Good Neighbor Environmental Board . For appointment consideration, nominations should be submitted by May 31, 2023.
- Forest Service – Secure Rural Schools Resource Advisory Committees. Written nominations must be received by June 10, 2023.
- FWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews for 133 Species in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. To ensure consideration in reviews, the FWS is requesting submission of new information no later than May 22, 2023.
- FWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Rufa Red Knot. So that the FWS can fully consider comments in their final determination, submit them on or before May 30, 2023.
- FWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for 12 Species, and Not Prudent Determination for 2 Species, on Hawai’i Island. The FWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before May 30, 2023.
- FWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species Status for Black-Capped Petrel With a Section 4(d) Rule. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before June 1, 2023.
- FWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Colorado Hookless Cactus From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The FWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before June 12, 2023.
- NOAA and EPA – Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Proposal To Find That Michigan Has Satisfied Conditions on Earlier Approval. Comments are due by June 12, 2023.
- NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species: Designation of Nonessential Experimental Populations of Chinook Salmon Upstream of Shasta Dam, Authorization for Release, and Adoption of Limited Protective Regulations Under the Endangered Species Act Sections 10(j) and 4(s). Comments on this proposed rule and EA, must be received no later than June 12, 2023.
- NOAA – Notice of Request for Information; U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Comments should be submitted via https://contribute.globalchange.gov and must be received by May 31, 2023.
- NOAA – Request for Public Comment on a Draft Standard Ocean Mapping Protocol. Comments must be received via email by 5 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on June 2, 2023.
- NOAA – Notice of Intent To Conduct Scoping and To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Designation of a National Marine Sanctuary for the Pacific Remote Islands. Comments must be received by NOAA on or before June 2, 2023.
- NRCS – Proposed Revisions to the National Handbook of Conservation Practices for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. NRCS will consider comments received by May 30, 2023.
- OSTP – Request for Information; National Nanotechnology Initiative Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy. Interested persons and organizations are invited to submit comments on or before 5 p.m. ET June 2, 2023.
Visit this page on ESA’s website for updates on opportunities from the Federal Register, including upcoming meetings and regulations open for public comment.
SA’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.
Visit the ESA website to learn more about our activities and membership.