Programs: Science and Policy
Science and Technology in Congress
On February 14, the White House released its budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2012, one week later than the traditional release date. The budget request contains $147.9 billion for federal research and development (R&D), a $772 million (0.5 percent) increase from FY 2010.1 While the overall R&D budget is essentially flat, President Obama's budget does carve out increases for strategic funding priorities in areas such as clean energy R&D, education, infrastructure, and innovation.
In his remarks while releasing the federal R&D budget request, John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that "This is a budget that our Nation can be proud of. It provides solid research and development investments to achieve game-changing advances in areas of crucial importance to America's future."
The President's budget keeps the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy's Office of Science (DOE/OS), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on their multi-year doubling path as per the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 5116). The NSF R&D budget would increase 16.1 percent for a total R&D portfolio of $6.3 billion; DOE/OS would increase 9.1 percent (or $412 million) for a total R&D budget of $4.9 billion; and NIST would grow $284 million for a total R&D budget of $872 million, a significant increase of 48.3 percent.
Another key priority in the Administration's budget is climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)—an interagency initiative—would increase more than 20 percent for a total R&D budget request of $2.6 billion.
A number of agencies would see modest growth, including the National Institutes of Health, which managed to stay ahead of inflation and would increase $1 billion (3.4 percent) for a total request of $31.2 billion. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration would grow $559 million (6.0 percent) for a total R&D budget of $9.8 billion, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would increase $36 million (5.2 percent) for a total R&D budget of $728 million.
Other agencies would not fare as well. The Department of Defense R&D budget would decrease to $76.6 billion, a 4.9 percent reduction. Most of the decrease is due, however, to cuts in development (6.3 account) whereas basic research (6.1 account) would actually increase 14.5 percent to $2.1 billion.
Overall, basic and applied non-defense research fare very well in the President's FY 2012 R&D budget request. Basic research would grow almost 12 percent for a total of $32.9 billion, applied research would increase 11.4 percent to $33.2 billion; and total non-defense research would increase 6.5 percent for a total of $66.8 billion.
The FY 2012 budget request, however, stands in stark contrast to the continuing resolution (CR), H.R.1, which passed the House that same week and includes $100 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Overall, the FY 2012 request totals $7.4 billion more (12.5 percent) in non-defense R&D investment than the House CR. Some of the bigger discrepancies are in funding for energy R&D, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.
-- Joanne Carney
1 All comparative data for the FY 2012 budget request that shows +/- funding changes uses FY 2010 as the baseline rather than FY 2011 since the 112th Congress has yet to finalize that FY 2011 budget.
Legislation to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to regulate greenhouse gases has advanced through committee in the House and similar measures have been introduced in the Senate. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act on March 15. Three Democrats joined all committee Republicans in supporting the bill, which passed by a 34-19 margin. The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the EPA from promulgating any regulation "concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes." The bill would also repeal EPA's Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule and its Endangerment Finding, the agency's scientific basis for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. H.R. 910 maintains the light-duty vehicle fuel economy standards put forth by EPA and the Transportation Department last year in partnership with the auto industry. The legislation would, however, give sole authority for future rules to DOT.
Although the committee held a hearing on climate science shortly before the vote, most of the debate focused on jobs. Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) set the stage at the science hearing, noting that "[s]cience serves to inform us about the nature of a problem, and I look forward to listening to the presentations that follow. But whether one thinks the science tells us that global warming is a serious problem, a minor problem, or hardly a problem at all, the real question before this committee is whether EPA's regulations under the Clean Air Act are a wise solution to that problem. Clearly they are not."
Science did have a voice in the committee markup. The committee approved a "sense of Congress" amendment by Rep. Matheson (D-UT) that there is "established scientific concern over warming of the climate system based upon evidence from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level."
In the Senate, three bills offered as amendments to a small business bill, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S.493), serve as a vehicle to debate competing proposals to limit EPA's authority. One proposal, sponsored by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK), is a companion bill to H.R. 910. Another bill, sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), would delay EPA's regulations for two years, and a third option was just introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) that would codify the EPA's tailoring rule, which would limit the agency's carbon regulations to just the largest polluters and exempt agricultural producers.
Other legislation beyond those that may be debated on the floor as amendments to the SBIR bill has been introduced to limit the EPAs ability to mitigate climate change. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced legislation that would prevent the EPA from using any statute it has authority over – including the Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Clean Water Act – to regulate GHGs. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has introduced a bill (S. 25) that would prohibit regulation of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States until China, Russia, and India "implement similar reductions."
The Administration has spoken out against the bill. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified that overturning the agency's endangerment finding would entail "politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question."
-- Kasey White
On March 8, after five years of negotiating various patent reform bills, the Senate passed the America Invents Act (S.23), previously referred to as the Patent Reform Act of 2011, by a vote of 95-5. The same day the bill passed the Senate, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that he plans to introduce similar legislation in the House by the end of the month. Both Congress and the Administration see reform to the patent system as a way to jumpstart the U.S. economy and increase U.S. innovation.
The bill that passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 3 was similar to legislation that was debated last year and many of the controversial provisions that stalled last year's bill were left to be debated on the Senate floor.
On the floor, senators rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have stripped the bill of its cornerstone provision, converting the U.S. patent system to a first-to-file regime, the method used in most countries, and inserted language to maintain the first-to-invent system currently used in the U.S.
The Senate passed an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would stop fee diversion from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Additionally, as another means of helping the Patent Office balance its budget, the bill would allow the PTO to set its own fees. A caveat to this provision, however, is a requirement that PTO establish a $400 fee for each original patent application not filed electronically. The funds from both of these measures would allow the PTO to hire more patent examiners and decrease the patent backlog, which is estimated to stand at over 700,000.
Furthermore, the bill would create three satellite patent offices, allow certain technology to receive priority for approval, and require courts to transfer a patent infringement case to a more convenient venue.
Moreover, the bill gives third parties the opportunity to petition the validity of a patent once it is awarded. For inter partes review, petitions to a patent have to be filed within nine months of the patent being awarded. However, these petitions would not be allowed if the petitioner has filed a related civil action or filed the petition more than six months after being alleged of patent infringement.
The bill would prohibit patents from being voided because the patentee did not disclose the best mode of carrying out the patent. Similarly, the bill would prevent the Patent Office from revoking a patent as a result of failing to submit relevant or correct information, providing that the patentee provides the necessary information during a reexamination.
On February 9, shortly after the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued supplementary guidelines to improve patent quality by requiring applications to "distinctly claim the invention so that the public is clearly informed of the patent rights granted." The guidelines are available for comment until April 11.
-- Phillip Chalker
Senate Passage of SBIR Bill Gets Mired in Budget Debate
On March 10 the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee passed the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493), readying the bill for a floor vote. Shortly thereafter, the Senate took up the bill on the floor only to have the legislation get caught up in debates over spending cuts.
The legislation, introduced by committee chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and ranking member Olympia Snowe (R-ME), would increase the amount of set-asides that federal research agencies contribute to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent over a ten-year period. Primary research agencies that contribute to SBIR/STTR programs include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA, and the Department of Energy (DOE).
The SBIR/STTR programs have not been reauthorized since 2008 and have been operating under short-term authorization extensions since then. Conflict areas include programmatic changes to the program such as the percentage set-aside and whether companies that are partially supported by venture capitalists may qualify for SBIR/STTR grants. For example, the House bill introduced during the last session did not include the increase in percentage set asides.
This year, however, the problems associated with moving legislation off the floor emanated from larger national issues surrounding budget reform and reducing the federal deficit.
Shortly after the Senate bill was cleared by the committee and readied for a floor vote, a group of ten Republican Senators informed Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that addressing legislation to cut federal spending was of primary importance and until such efforts to reform the federal budget and spending levels were taken into consideration they would not vote in favor of non-budget legislation.
Furthermore, the SBIR/STTR bill became a vehicle for other Senators to attach a host of non-germane amendments that addressed a range of interests including defunding the healthcare reform bill; barring EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases; and eliminating funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/National Public Radio. A total of 88 amendments were introduced and considered on the floor which delayed a final vote on the SBIR/SSTR bill until after the Senate returns from the mid-March recess.
-- Joanne Carney
Science Sees Cuts in Continuing Resolution for FY 2011
On February 19, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, also known as the 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR). The bill, which was rejected by the Senate, would have cut FY 2011 discretionary funding by $61 billion below FY 2010 enacted levels - $100 billion below the President's FY 2011 request.
Sixty-seven amendments were accepted and passed (out of a total of over 580 proposed) during more than 60 hours of debate on the bill. Of the amendments passed, the most significant for R&D funding include a $298 million transfer from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Cross-Agency Support to the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and a $510 million transfer (50.7% of its FY 2010 enacted budget) from the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology programs to the Firefighter SAFER grants in DHS's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). R&D, as a whole, would have been cut $6.41 billion, 4.4% less than FY 2010. Because the fiscal year is nearly half over and therefore the cuts would have been implemented over a seven month period, as opposed to a full year, they would be even more severe than the numbers indicate.
Major programmatic cuts in H.R. 1, compared to FY 2010, include $415 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's research, $160 million to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, $454 million to NOAA's Operations, Research, and Facilities budget, $360 million to the NSF, $131 million to Fossil Energy R&D, $180 million to the Department of Education's Mathematics and Science Partnership Program, and $1,629 million to the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, several amendments would prohibit the use of federal funds for NOAA's Climate Service, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as EPA programs including greenhouse gas registry, greenhouse gas regulation, offshore drilling, mountaintop mining, mercury emissions from cement plants, and Chesapeake Bay cleanup.
President Obama said he would veto H.R.1 if it were to make it to his desk.
Because the House and Senate could not agree to a seven month funding bill, Congress passed a two week long Continuing Resolution funding the government through March 18 that cut $4 billion, a prorated amount of the $61 billion. Among the cuts, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Program dropped $41 million and the Department of Energy's Office of Science as well as its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program lost $77 million and $292 million, respectively.
On March 18 President Obama signed yet another continuing resolution (CR), H.J.Res.48, containing $6 billion in cuts and funding the government through April 8. The $6 billion in cuts include the elimination of funding for the $50 million Railroad Safety Technology Program and for a number of earmarks in accounts with significant R&D investment including the Agricultural Research Service ($115 million), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture ($133 million), the National Institute of Standards and Technology ($67 million), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ($117 million), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cross-Agency Support account ($63 million), and the U.S. Geological Survey ($7 million).
The votes for passage of this CR, the sixth for FY 2011, were much closer than for the previous one, and many members of Congress have said that they are unwilling to vote for another short-term CR. Also, it is widely believed that the cuts contained in the most recent CR are the last that both the House and Senate can easily agree on. Therefore, April 8 is shaping up to be a relatively firm deadline for a budget compromise between the two Congressional chambers and the White House.
-- Phillip Chalker and Patrick Clemins
EPA Proposes New Protections for Water
At a February 2 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the agency will develop regulations for perchlorate in drinking water, reversing a 2008 decision made by the previous administration. Perchlorate, which is both naturally occurring and used in the production of rocket fuel, may disrupt thyroid functions. According to a Government Accountability Office report, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and the Department of Energy are the biggest government users of the chemical and as a result of waste disposal practices, all have had caused water contamination. Perchlorate affects between 5 and 17 million people in the U.S. across 26 states and two territories.
At the hearing, Administrator Jackson stated that the EPA is planning on tightening regulations to limit the contamination of drinking water by chromium 6, also known as hexavalent chromium. EPA will wait until a scientific assessment and peer reviewed are finished later this year before revising the regulations. In September 2010, EPA released a draft scientific assessment that found that chromium-6 in drinking water is "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." EPA has given guidance to water companies on how to test for it.
In a separate action, EPA officials announced that as part of its Drinking Water Strategy that seeks to address contaminants as a group rather than one at a time, they are moving toward establishing a drinking water standard for a group of 16 chemicals called volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds may pose risks, including cancer, to human health. EPA anticipates that addressing water contaminants in groups will allow them to understand a chemical's nature and protect human health sooner than would otherwise be possible.
-- Phillip Chalker
House Examines Rulemaking Legislation
Legislation to require congressional approval of major federal rules and regulations is making its way through the House. After holding an oversight hearing in January, the House Judiciary Committee Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee held another legislative hearing on March 8 on the REINS Act.The REINS Act, Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 (H.R. 10), was introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and has more than 130 co-sponsors. The bill would require major rules – those with an impact of $100 million dollars or more – to be approved by both chamber of Congress within 70 legislative days.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) explained his support for the bill: "For too long, unelected federal officials have imposed huge costs on the economy and American people through burdensome regulations. Because the officials authorizing the regulations are not elected, they cannot be held accountable by American voters. The REINS Act reins in the costly overreach of federal agencies that stifles job creation and hinders economic growth. It restores the authority to impose regulations to those who are accountable to the voters, their elected representatives in Congress."
At the January hearing, supporters of the legislation highlighted the cost of regulation, citing regulations such as EPA's greenhouse gas limits. Former Rep. David McIntosh and Case Western Reserve Professor Jonathan Adler, who directs the Center for Business Law and Regulation, said regulations cost an estimated $1.7 trillion annually. That figure was disputed by former Clinton Administration Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs director Sally Katzen, who testified that total costs of regulations over a period of 10 years were estimated between $43 and $55 billion, but that the benefits from ten years of regulation were somewhere between $128 billion and $616 billion. "Therefore, even if one uses OMB's highest estimate of costs and its lowest estimate of benefits, the regulations issued over the past ten years have produced net benefits of $73 billion to our society," Katzen said.
Katzen also said that there were serious constitutional problems with the bill, because it would violate Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, the separation of powers, which gives the Executive Branch the power to implement the laws that Congress makes.
At the March hearing, David Goldston, director of government affairs at the National Resources Defense Council, testified that the legislation could have "impose a slow-motion government shutdown, and it would replace a process based on expertise, rationality and openness with one characterized by political maneuvering, economic clout and secrecy." He continued by noting that Congress already has oversight of executive branch agencies: "All this is entirely unnecessary because Congress already has all the authority it needs to exercise oversight and control the regulatory system. Congress writes the laws that determine what activities get regulated and what criteria are used to write those regulations. It has the authority through normal procedures, the expedited Congressional Review Act, and control over the public purse to block or amend any rule it sees fit. Congress is hardly powerless to intervene in the rulemaking process, and agencies already keep that in mind."
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a companion bill (S. 299) with 25 cosponsors. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
-- Kasey White
Quick status reports to keep you up to date on recent S&T bills and hearings.
On March 2 Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, introduced the Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2011 (H.R. 889). The legislation would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to collect demographic data on federal grant awardees. It would also require the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to conduct workshops on mechanisms for minimizing gender bias in the evaluation of federal research grant proposals. The bill is similar to language that Rep. Johnson had included as an amendment to the America COMPETES Act but which was removed during the final conference negotiations with the Senate.
On Feb. 17 Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced the Critical Minerals and Materials Promotion Act of 2011 (S. 383) requiring the Department of Energy to conduct R&D into critical materials and to secure a steady domestic supply chain. Rare-earth minerals are primarily imported from China and are increasingly in demand for high-tech products such as cell phones, solar cells, and electric cars.
House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, sent EPA Administrator Jackson a letter stating their concern about, and requesting information regarding, the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing and its associated waste. The letter comes in the wake of The New York Times series on hydraulic fracturing, known colloquially as "fracking."
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2011 (H.R. 1084) and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) introduced corresponding legislation in the Senate, S. 587. Both bills would place hydraulic fracturing under the purview of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on S. 99, the American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2011. Chairman Bingaman stated, "The purpose of the legislation is to develop a reliable domestic supply of molybdenum-99, the parent isotope for technetium-99m, which is used for 18 million, or 85 percent, of the medical isotope procedures performed annually in the United States. We currently have no domestic supply of this isotope and we rely on aging reactors in Canada and Europe to produce it."
DOE announced details of its Quadrennial Technology Review (DOE-QTR) intended to provide a context and framework for the Department's energy programs. DOE is soliciting input through April 15 via a framing document and an associated request for information (RFI).
On March 16, under a court-ordered deadline and 11 years after announcing it would set a standard, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the first-ever national standards for mercury and air toxics including arsenic, chromium, and nickel. The rules, known as the "utility MACT" (maximum achievable control technology), will require all power plants to install technology to control toxic air pollutants; currently less than half of plants have this technology installed. EPA estimates that the rules would prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths, 1,000 heart attacks, and 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms each year, and that every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants would result in $13 in health and economic benefits. The draft rules are available for public comment for 60 days.
The Commerce Department announced the opening of its $12 million i6 Green Challenge to promote clean energy innovation and economic growth. In partnership with the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation, this year's competition focuses on promoting Proof of Concept Centers, which support all aspects of the entrepreneurship process and allow emerging technologies to mature and demonstrate their market potential. The deadline to submit an application is May 26.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is seeking input from both researchers and the public for its 15-month strategic planning process. One can propose "visionary ideas" or comment on proposed ideas through April 30. Also, NIEHS is seeking nominations of participants for a stakeholder community workshop in mid-July in Research Triangle Park, NC.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality has issued instructions for agencies to engage in climate change adaptation planning, as recommended by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force in its October 2010 Progress Report to the President. Each agency is directed to name a senior official responsible for carrying out climate change adaptation planning, create a climate change adaptation policy intended to increase agency understanding of climate change, as well as to evaluate and learn from experiences.
On March 2 the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues issued a request for public comments on federal and international standards related to the issue of human subjects in federally supported research, particularly "the existing standards for protecting human subjects, both domestically and internationally; how the current system of global research works in practice; and the ethical and social justice issues that emerge from the current research system." Comments are due by May 2.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is requesting public input on its six science strategies. The strategies will used in setting priorities and implementation planning for future research activities at the agency, which was reorganized in 2010.
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is seeking public comment through April 11 on a draft national aquaculture policy. Nearly half the fish consumed worldwide are produced by aquaculture, or fish farming, and a significant portion of future increases in the global seafood supply will come from aquaculture. The draft policy provides guidance for NOAA's actions regarding the development of all forms of marine aquaculture, from shellfish farming and habitat restoration to the culture of marine fish and algae on land and offshore.
Further planned aspects of the organizational structure of the proposed NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Research (NCATS) emerged during a meeting of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB). The new NCAT organization plan, which incorporates public comments received on an earlier draft model, would include the Clinical and Translational Science Award program, Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program, the Cures Acceleration Network (established by the healthcare reform bill), and FDA-NIH collaborative efforts in regulatory science. The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program and SBIR/STTR development grants would move to the National Institute of General Medicine. The NIH Office of the Director would manage the Scientific Education Partnership Awards (SEPA), as well as a new Infrastructure Unit that would house the non-human primate research centers and training in animal medicine. The proposed NCAT model continues to draw controversy, despite overwhelming support from the SMRB.
The Department of Commerce Inspector General found no evidence that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) inappropriately manipulated data or deviated from appropriate peer review processes during an investigation related to the 2009 leaking of e-mails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. The report was requested by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that its Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) is being renamed and given broader responsibilities, in keeping with requirements of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. It is now called the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), and is one of 13 federal statistical centers. It "will serve as a central federal clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, analysis and dissemination of objective data on science, engineering, technology and research and development." In addition to this core function, NCSES will have an expanded set of responsibilities including "collection of data related to U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and to U.S. competitiveness in science, engineering, technology and research and development."
The White House has released its Strategy for American Innovation, an updated version of the strategy released in September 2009. The report calls for, among other things, patent reform, the accelerated development of clean energy technologies, the promotion of Startup America, and improvements in K-12 education through such programs as Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education (ARPA-ED), Race to the Top, and Change the Equation.
The Technology Innovation Program (RS22815)
- Electricity Grid Modernization: Progress Being Made on Cybersecurity Guidelines, but Key Challenges Remain to be Addressed (GAO-11-117)
- Nuclear Weapons: National Nuclear Security Administration Needs to Ensure Continued Availability of Tritium for the Weapons Stockpile (GAO-11-100)
- H-1B Visa Program: Reforms Are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program (GAO-10-850)
- Program Evaluation: Experienced Agencies Follow a Similar Model for Prioritizing Research (GAO-11-176)
- VA Health Care: VA Spends Millions on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Research and Incorporates Research Outcomes into Guidelines and Policy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Services (GAO-11-32)
- Superfund: Information on the Nature and Costs of Cleanup Activities at Three Landfills in the Gulf Coast Region (GAO-11-287R)
NASA: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects(GAO-11-239SP)
- National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-15425-3)
- Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-20951-9)
- Managing University Intellectual Property in the Public Interest (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-16111-4)
- Understanding Earth's Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-20911-3)
- Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-18695-7)
- Intelligence Analysis for Tomorrow: Advances from the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-16342-2)
- Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020: Letter Report (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-18637-7)
Energy Critical Elements: Securing Materials for Emerging Technologies
American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society
How to Maximize Clean Energy Deployment from International Climate Investments
Center for American Progress and Global Climate Network
Report on the Oversight of Existing and Prospective Carbon Markets
U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission
Global Synthesis A report from the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans for the Marine Biodiversity Assessment and Outlook Series
United Nations Environment Programme
Deep Water The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling
National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
Working With Congress A Scientist's Guide to Policy - New AAAS Publication
Working With Congress, written by science and policy experts, is designed to bridge the gap between the mutually dependent "cultures" of science and government. The first two chapters of this book provide background on congressional organization and the legislative process, while Chapter 3 discusses in detail the communication strategies that one can utilize and presents a list of the top ten rules for working with Congress.
Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill
On Thursday, February 17, thirty-five climate scientists representing many disciplines came to Washington to meet with approximately 100 members of Congress and their staff. AAAS joined with ten other scientific societies to host the event, which aimed to increase the dialogue between scientists and policymakers on climate change, particularly for newly-elected members.
AAAS Urges Support for R&D
AAAS CEO Alan Leshner sent Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a letter urging them to support federal investment in research and development (R&D) in the Continuing Resolution after writing a letter to Representatives stating the value of R&D and the need to support it in HR. 1, the Continuing Resolution for FY 2011.
AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Congress Launches Twitter Feed
To get up-to-date science policy news, follow us at http://www.twitter.com/aaas_cstc
MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
Weather, Climate, and Food
Friday, March 25, 2011
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
SR-328A Russell Senate Office Building
Dr. Donald A. Wilhite, Director of the School of Natural Resources and Professor of climatology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Dr. Michael Roberts, Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University, will examine the effect of a changing climate on the nation's food supply. Dr. Wilhite's talk is entitled "Improving Drought Management in the U.S.: Are We Making Progress in Breaking the Hydro-illogical Cycle?" and Dr. Roberts will focus on "Extreme Heat, Crop Yields, and the Potential Effects of Climate Change on World Food Prices."
Informed Choice in Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing for Alzheimer and Other Diseases: Lessons from Two Cases.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Revelle Conference Room, 2nd floor, AAAS Headquarters, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Dr. Messner is a Gordon Cain Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia and will examine "Informed Choice in Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing for Alzheimer and Other Diseases: Lessons from Two Cases." To RSVP, contact Amy Crumpton [email@example.com or 202-326-6791].
AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy
May 5-6, 2011
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
The annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy is the conference for people interested in the federal budget and public policy issues facing the science, engineering, and higher education communities. Come to the Forum, learn about the future of S&T policy, and meet the people who will shape it.
The Gulf oil spill provided scientists with a rare opportunity to study how aerosols form and enter the atmosphere. One way aerosols form is through the evaporation of hydrocarbon rich substances, like oil. Two flyovers of the spill revealed that both light and heavy hydrocarbons evaporate and enter the atmosphere; previously scientists were unsure whether the heavy hydrocarbons contributed to aerosol pollution.
de Gouw, J. A.. et. al. "Organic Aerosol Formation Downwind from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill ." Science 11 March 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6022 pp. 1295-1299