Programs: Science and Policy
Science and Technology in Congress
Note: In order to bring you more of our Science Policy coverage, we've started providing the Agency Updates section with developments from relevant Executive Branch agencies. Our reports section no longer contains summaries--please do consult the executive summaries contained within the reports for quick coverage. We welcome any comments on our new format!
Little Progress on FY 2009 Appropriations
Congress adjourned for its August recess without making much progress on appropriations for FY 2009, which begins October 1. On August 1, the full House approved its version of the Military Construction-VA appropriations bill, the only 2009 funding bill to clear either chamber.
In actions so far, congressional appropriators have endorsed large increases for the three physical sciences agencies (NSF, NIST, DOE Office of Science) in the American Competitiveness Initiative, human spacecraft development, biomedical research in the National Institutes of Health, and other parts of the federal research and development (R&D) portfolio.
But these gains may not come to fruition, as key senators warned that few bills would be finished by the November elections because of presidential veto threats of domestic spending bills exceeding the President's requests. House appropriators have all but halted work on appropriations in the face of promised vetoes and bickering over offshore drilling. With little time and little agreement expected, a continuing resolution (CR) is very likely.
Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Specter (R-PA) introduced a bill (S. 3272) that would give NIH $5.2 billion in supplemental funding this year to fully restore the NIH budget to its 2003 funding level after adjusting for biomedical research inflation. The prospects of the Senate actually voting on the NIH-specific bill are highly uncertain. The Appropriations Committee is more likely to debate a new $24.1 billion supplemental package from chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV). This second FY 2008 supplemental appropriations bill includes $500 million for NIH, $250 million for NASA, and $150 million for DOE's Office of Science, in addition to the $275 million these three agencies received (plus $63 million for NSF) in the first supplemental in June.
Meanwhile, the White House Office of Management and Budget updated its budget projections with a new FY 2009 budget deficit forecast of $482 billion, the largest federal deficit ever. The actual 2009 deficit is likely to be considerably higher because the forecast excludes, among other things, military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan next year.
In the face of the growing federal deficit, the Administration is holding firm to a demand to stay within the overall budget levels in the President’s request or find spending offsets elsewhere. Congress is unlikely to acquiesce and given the election, the fall may be a very difficult time for Congress and the Administration to come to a meeting of the minds.
Updates on the appropriations process are available on the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program website.
-- Kei Koizumi, Joanne Carney and Kasey White
It took over six years, but Congress finally approved the conference report for the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 4137) before leaving for the August recess. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 380 to 49, followed by the Senate with a vote of 83 to 8. President Bush is expected to sign the bill although he opposes some parts of the legislation.
Though the bill contains provisions supported by the education community, such as providing financial aid for low-income students, it also includes a number of new reporting requirements (e.g., graduation rates, peer-to-peer file sharing) that institutions of higher education opposed because of increased administrative costs. A letter from the American Council on Education and signed by other organizations representing higher-education was sent to congressional leaders outlining the specific provisions of concern.
The bipartisan bill would increase the Pell grants to low-income students to $8,000 a year (up from $5,800) by 2014, and will allow part-time students to use the funds for a full calendar year. There is also a student loan forgiveness program for high need areas that would allow eligible students to be forgiven up to $10,000 of their loans. Examples of eligible fields of study include nursing, child welfare workers, and employees in applied science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
One aspect of the reauthorization that the higher-education community was pleased to see—but may not be embraced by the Administration—is language that prohibits the Department of Education from regulating accrediting agencies. The provision was a response to fears that the department would have been allowed to set accrediting standards without the prohibition. In a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) issued in February, the White House expressed opposition to language that “would restrict the Department of Education’s authority to regulate on accreditation.” The White House has yet to issue a SAP on the final conference report.
The bill also includes provisions from the Higher Education Sustainability Act (H.R. 3637/S. 2444) to create a "University Sustainability Grants Program" at the Department of Education. It will offer competitive grants to institutions and associations of higher education to develop, implement, and evaluate sustainability curricula, practices, and academic programs. The bill also directs the Department of Education to convene a national summit of higher education sustainability experts, federal agency staff, and business leaders to identify best practices and opportunities for collaboration in sustainability.
Despite a packed legislative calendar and opposition to the bill from industry, the House and Senate were able to pass the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 4040) just before the August recess.
As the bill went to conference, the most contentious provision was a ban on phthalates in children’s toys (see STC June 2008). While research has attributed certain deleterious health effects to exposure to this class of chemicals, questions remain about the levels of exposure and dosage necessary to pose health risks. The Chamber of Commerce and many industry groups had argued that the ban was not based on science and that it would only lead to increased litigation, but many consumer groups disagreed. At a hearing in June, lawmakers sparred over the level of evidence necessary to warrant regulation.
In the end, House and Senate conferees agreed to permanently ban toys containing more than 0.1 percent of any of three specified phthalates, effectively prohibiting use of the plasticizing chemicals in toys. Three other types of phthalates are banned until a safety review is conducted. The bill also establishes stringent lead standards for toys, provides more enforcement tools to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and mandates standards for all-terrain vehicles.
The Administration opposed the ban on phthalates, but White House spokeswoman Dana Perino has stated that President Bush will sign the bill.
Climate change policy discussions in July were dominated by controversy surrounding decisions made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its long-awaited decision on whether or not to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. As part of the April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ordered EPA to determine whether or not automobile carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and welfare (an “endangerment finding”) and therefore must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. As of the end of June 2008, word on a final decision was still awaited, despite a writ of mandamus filed in April by Massachusetts and its accompanying plaintiffs requesting that the decision be released.
On July 11, under pressure from both Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), the EPA released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The document outlines how such regulation would work, but offers no definitive endangerment finding and merely requests comments on the proposed regulation and how best to approach the matter. An introductory statement by EPA’s Administrator Stephen Johnson argued that the Clean Air Act was not an appropriate legal framework under which to attempt such regulation. This sentiment was repeated in additional letters from the director of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Transportation, which added that the regulations would cause unnecessary damage to the U.S. economy. The ANPR was published in the Federal Register on July 30, officially opening the public comment period for the proposed regulations, which will end on November 28, 2008.
On July 22, Boxer held a hearing with former EPA associate deputy administrator Jason Burnett as its principle witness, in which she sought more background information regarding reports that the Administration had planned to issue an endangerment finding, but retracted it in favor of an ANPR. Burnett, who resigned from the agency in June, testified that the position of policymakers and scientists at the EPA and across the Administration was that the public was endangered by greenhouse gas emissions and that such a determination was the only suitable response to the Supreme Court’s order.
The ultimate decision to not release the endangerment finding and instead prepare an ANPR was, according to Burnett’s July 18 interview with the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, made by the White House and was influenced by the oil industry’s suggestions about the President's legacy. In that interview, Burnett explained that a reversal of position began in December 2007 when it became imminent that the Congress would tighten fuel economy standards. Burnett stated that the Administration’s objective in choosing the ANPR over the endangerment finding was to delay action on the Supreme Court’s mandate until the next administration.
The focal point of discussions on climate policy now shifts back to Congress, where Boxer and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have asked for investigations and additional documentation on the ANPR. Legislators may also heed Johnson’s call to enact comprehensive climate change legislation, which he feels is a more appropriate structure for regulating emissions than the Clean Air Act.
A number of ocean research and education bills have sailed through the House but remain in legislative limbo in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) packaged several of these measures into an omnibus bill that included a host of relatively noncontroversial bills that have not advanced due to concerns of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) over increased federal spending, but failed to draw enough support to force a vote on it. S. 3297, “A bill to advance America's priorities,” included the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act (S. 1581), National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act (S. 3160), Ocean and Coastal Exploration and NOAA Act (S. 39), and Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act (S. 950).
The aim of one of the bills in the package is to better understand the effects of increased deposition of carbon dioxide into the ocean, which changes surface ocean carbon chemistry and lowers the pH (a process often referred to as “ocean acidification”). These changes in ocean chemistry are detrimental to corals, shellfish, and organisms that form the base of the food chain for many fish and marine mammals.
The Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2007 (H.R. 4174), introduced by Representative Tom Allen (D-ME), would establish an interagency committee to develop an ocean acidification research and monitoring plan and create an ocean acidification program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). H.R. 4174 would authorize appropriations for NOAA of $8 million in fiscal year (FY) 2009 increasing to $20 million in FY 2012, and for the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $6 million in FY 2009 to $15 million in FY 2012. The House passed the FOARAM Act on July 9, two weeks after passage by the House Committee on Science and Technology. The Senate Commerce Committee passed a similar bill (S. 1581) sponsored by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in December 2007 that allocates money to agencies in a slightly different way.
The House also passed legislation introduced by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D- GU) to reauthorize the National Sea Grant College Program (H.R.5618) on July 14. The Sea Grant program is a partnership between state and federal governments with a network of university-based programs to promote the understanding, conservation, and management of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. The reauthorization includes changes recommended by the National Academy of Sciences 2006 review of the Sea Grant Program such as increasing authorized funding levels and improving the interaction between the National Sea Grant Office and the individual state programs, as well as improving programmatic performance reviews. The House Natural Resources Committee held hearings to discuss and review these recommendations, as did the House Science and Technology Committee. The Senate version (S.3160) from Senator Inouye (D-HI) passed the Commerce Committee on June 24.
The Senate omnibus also included the Ocean and Coastal Exploration and NOAA Act (S. 39) introduced by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), which has been awaiting floor consideration since it passed the Senate Commerce Committee in February 2007. The bill would authorize more than $870 million for ocean research and exploration at NOAA. The House passed a similar bill (H.R.1834) from Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) earlier this year. In addition, Reid included the Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act (S. 950), which would formally authorize the National Integrated Oceans Observing System. The bill calls for an integrated system of coastal and ocean observations, data communication and management, analysis, modeling, research, education, and outreach. The Senate Commerce Committee passed the measure last June, and the House passed a companion bill last spring.
Despite broad based support for these measures, their fate remains uncertain in the short legislative session ahead.
On June 24, before a jam-packed committee room, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee discussed the subject of antimicrobial resistance.
Millions of people acquire bacterial infections in U.S. hospitals each year, and tens of thousands die as a result. Antibiotics are a crucial tool in treating these life-threatening infections, but the more often bacteria are exposed to them, the more chances bacteria have to develop a resistance. Antimicrobials – which include antibiotics - are used widely, not only to treat humans but also to prevent illness and promote growth in livestock animals and to ward off problems in fish, vegetables and fruit.
One type of “superbug” that continues to cause concern is antibiotic-resistant staph infections, according to Fred Tenover, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such infections are commonly cited by their corresponding acronym, for example, MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. The infections spread most readily in hospital settings (via the use of catheters, for example) and in certain community settings like athletes’ locker rooms.
Just how serious can MRSA be? Serious enough to cause multiple hospitalizations and help end a football career, according to former NFL player Brandon Noble, who was on hand to relay his MRSA experience to committee members.
The CDC, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health and other agencies are taking a multi-pronged approach to addressing the issue. Raising awareness of staph infections and educating physicians and the general public on appropriate antibiotic use has met with some success. Another strategy is to focus on the development of vaccines, which can help control the situation by lowering the need for antibiotics. The pneumococcal vaccine, now routine for children, has significantly reduced the incidence of the associated infection, saving an estimated 10,000 lives.
Others on the panel focused on antibiotic use in agriculture. Scientist Jay Graham called for the discontinuation of the routine application of antimicrobials to animals raised for food, while another expert, veterinarian Lyle Vogel, opposed an umbrella ban.
Both the House and Senate have a bill, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 962, S. 549) that would withdraw government approval for use of certain types of antimicrobials in food-producing animals. But the bill is unlikely to move this year due to the short amount of time left on the congressional calendar.
Still, the issue should continue to gain attention: CDC, FDA and NIH co-chair a ten-agency effort, the Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance, which is seeking to update its federal action plan. The revised plan will likely be released for public comment by the end of the year.
-- Erin Heath
As gasoline prices rose to new records in the United States, neither the Administration nor Congress found a solution that could easily be implemented to offer quick relief. Although on July 14 President Bush altered the executive branch’s position by lifting the presidential ban on oil exploration along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), which was put in place by his father in 1990, Congress has not yet decided how it will rule on the matter. Many Republicans remain solidly in favor of expanding domestic exploration of oil and gas into the OCS and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while most Democrats continue to resist such efforts, instead encouraging energy companies to drill on lands they are already leasing from the U.S. Government.
In addition to consuming floor time, the energy debate has spilled over into the appropriations process. House Republicans have attempted to use the Interior appropriations bill as the vehicle for inserting language to lift the ban on offshore drilling, causing work on that bill to grind to a halt. This debate will likely continue in any funding bill that makes it through the Congress, such as a continuing resolution.
Despite the stalemate on how best to address the immediate problem of high gasoline prices, Congress continued to explore the nation’s long-term energy supply. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a high-profile hearing on July 22 in which members heard from oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens on his proposal, dubbed the “Pickens Plan”, to pursue accelerated development of wind energy and a transition to natural gas fueled transportation. Currently, less than 1 percent of natural gas is currently used for transportation.
In his opening remarks, Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I/D-CT) called the plan a “sweeping and innovative plan of action to loosen the grip of foreign oil” upon the nation, sentiments repeated by Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins said that she regards the current energy crisis as akin to the Sputnik launch in 1957, which ignited the U.S. effort to land on the moon, and that she would like to see the nation mobilize its powers of innovation in order to solve it. She added that her goal was to achieve energy independence by 2020, the same span of time as between the Sputnik launch and the moon landing.
In his testimony, Pickens cited his five principles for a responsible and effective energy strategy. Those included slashing reliance on foreign oil by at least 30 percent within 10 years, use of entirely domestic resources, use of existing and reliable alternatives to foreign oil, a call for the private sector to mobilize quickly, and federal involvement to clear the path where necessary. He called for an extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy sources for at least 10 years. Historically, the renewable energy PTC has only been authorized in one-year increments and the current PTC will expire in December of this year. Although a bill to extend the PTC for another year (H.R.6049) already had passed the House, the Senate failed to invoke cloture for the second time on July 30, leaving the measure with no certainty of survival beyond the end of the year. Last year’s PTC was reinstated after the New Year and retroactively awarded to producers.
Lieberman asked Pickens his view of former Vice President Al Gore’s July 18 proposal to supply the entire United States with renewable energy in ten years. Pickens said he didn’t know whether it was possible but that his personal priority was the eventual elimination of foreign oil from the U.S. energy market and that Gore’s priority, which is global warming, was “page 2” in his plan. He said that he was not opposed to near term alternatives to foreign oil including drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf or development of biofuels and electric cars, as long as they’re American in origin. However, he did acknowledge that regardless of the near-term approach, he believes that the entire U.S. economy must be free of hydrocarbons by 2050.
Shortly after the hearing a group of senators, including Lieberman and Collins, announced a new bill that would expand requirements for automakers to provide the U.S. market with vehicles capable of using alternative fuels. The bill (S.3033), named the Open Fuel Standard Act, would require 80 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. by model year 2015 to be capable of running on fuel mixtures containing 85 percent ethanol, 85 percent methanol, or biodiesel. While intended to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, the bill does not contain any provisions for other renewable forms of energy or energy supplies outside the transportation sector.
The issue will likely remain in the spotlight well beyond this congressional session, as calls for strong action on energy have also been persistent from both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. Sen. John McCain announced his “Lexington Project” on June 25, while Sen. Barack Obama recently introduced his New Energy for America plan.
-- Lucas Adin
In light of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) June 2008 completion of an 8,600 page license application for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee held a hearing to assess the program’s future. Yucca Mountain in south-central Nevada was designated in 2002 as the federal site for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, but the program has been fraught with bureaucratic delays, increasing costs, and considerable opposition from Congress and citizens alike.
At the July 15 hearing, though, witnesses were optimistic about the program’s future. Edward Sproat, director of DOE’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, estimated that following the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) formal licensing of the program, Yucca’s facility construction could commence in 2013 and open as early as 2020. However, Sproat said, these predictions are contingent on DOE’s ability to access the Nuclear Waste Fund, which contains $21 billion from industry fees on nuclear power. DOE cannot access these funds without Congressional appropriation, even though the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act requires that they be used for construction of a geologic repository.
Witnesses commended DOE’s progress in completing the license application, but they also identified operational and technical obstacles that could further delay the Yucca project. For example, B. John Garrick, Chairman of U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, noted design issues with proposed transportation, aging, and disposal (TAD) waste canisters. Currently, he said, the technology for these canisters does not exist—nor does adequate technology for drip shields, which would be necessary to protect the canisters once inside the repository.
Safety concerns were also raised by Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), whose district contains the Yucca Mountain site. Rep. Berkley, acting as a witness, said that Nevada residents have long opposed the program because of unresolved safety issues—including lack of radiation standards for the region, geologic instability of the site, waste transportation risks, and inadequate storage technologies. She also criticized the program’s $90 billion lifecycle cost, saying that on-site waste storage would be a cheaper and safer alternative. Her concerns were echoed by Democrats on the subcommittee, including Rep. Matheson (D-UT), who offered his Interim Storage Bill (H.R. 4062) as an alternate plan. H.R. 4062 would mandate federal responsibility for on-site waste storage rather than the current model of having nuclear plants responsible for storing their own waste on-site.
Subcommittee members also debated the Yucca project in the context of the energy crisis and the role of nuclear power. Rep Shadegg (R-AZ), frustrated with the project’s delays and the 2020 opening timeframe, said that nuclear energy would be essential for meeting the United States’ energy needs and called for the Yucca project to proceed as quickly as possible, whatever the cost. Rep. Upton (R-MI) spoke of an American “nuclear renaissance” and argued that expanding Yucca’s legal storage capacity could be the final piece of the nuclear energy puzzle. Rep. Matheson (D-UT) challenged these views, saying that while nuclear power could be an energy solution, its future does not depend solely on the Nevada repository. He also pointed out that DOE has yet to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of on-site waste storage approach.
-- Patricia Satkiewicz
The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration convened on July 30 for its third hearing regarding S. 3212, the Bipartisan Electronic Voting Reform Act of 2008. The bill calls for every state to have a verification system available for mandatory audits of federal elections as well as standards for emergency contingencies, poll worker training, and testing laboratories for voting equipment by January 1, 2012. S. 3212 allocates $30 million in federal grants for verification technology research and testing, and for state spending towards the satisfaction of the bill’s conditions.
Multiple witnesses expressed frustration that citizens continue to be disenfranchised and that many of these cases are due to mechanical and human errors. While all of the witnesses at the hearing agreed that provisions for verification technology set forth in the bill will help make voting more reliable, the timetable for implementing new technologies and funding remain key issues for discussion. Ensuring sufficient funds for development and testing of voting equipment, as well as effective training of poll workers, are also important, according to various witnesses.
Professor Juan Gilbert, Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Auburn University, described a product developed by his research team entitled Prime III. This electronic voting system allows voters to cast their ballot by touch or voice, enabling deaf, blind, and malformed voters to vote privately and independently. James Dickson, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the American Association of Persons with Disabilities, stated that the disabled community is excited by the potential benefits of such novel technologies.
Gilbert also advocated further research on ballot design, which can be just as harmful as a computer virus, which has been a notable issue of concern with electronic voting systems. He also argued that all new voting technology should be pilot tested prior to certification.
Doug Lewis, Executive Director of The Election Center in Houston, TX, questioned whether adding newer systems in conjunction with older electronic voting machines could lead to voting inconsistencies. He was the lone witness who argued that verification systems are not necessary for every election and should be reserved for close elections.
Gilbert stated that voting innovations are farther along than we think and that new voting technologies are already in the laboratory stage today. He argued that S. 3212 can motivate vendors to assess new systems sooner, thereby accelerating the development and implementation process.
In response to questioning from Chairwoman Feinstein, Lewis stated that the implementation date of 2012 set forth in the bill is too soon and that 2016 would be a better deadline. Feinstein reaffirmed her confidence in the 2012 goal, saying states may procrastinate if they are given additional years. The bill, however, does allow states to apply for waivers to extend the deadline to January 1, 2014.
Indiana State Secretary Todd Rokita noted that in assembling the voter database required by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252), his state needed every extra day provided by that law’s waiver. Although he supported the bill’s 2012 deadline, he argued that fulfilling S. 3212’s provisions will likely be the same and that the waiver to 2014 is important.
Dickson and Lewis, on the other hand, both urged that presidential years be avoided as implementation years.
Feinstein concluded the hearing by indicating that she and Ranking Member Robert Bennett (R-UT) plan to modify some aspects of the bill to address some concerns raised.
Quick status reports to keep you up to date on recent S&T bills and hearings.
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources’ National Parks Subcommittee held a field hearing on July 21 on the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of all species within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in order to assess what the program has accomplished, what is left to be done, how the data been used and new ways to use it, as well as whether the program should be expanded to include other National Parks.
- The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a bill (H.R. 6575) sponsored by committee leaders to standardize and eliminate various levels of classification of administration documents. The bill would require the National Archives and Records Administration to introduce regulations limiting the classifications on agency documents and calls for audits by agency inspectors general to ensure compliance.
- A modified version of a bill to encourage adoption of a nationwide system of electronic medical records (H.R. 6357) passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA) announced his intentions to push his own health information technology bill as well.
- Shortly before leaving for the August recess Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Executive Order Integrity Act of 2008 (S. 3405). The bill would require that any modification, waiver, suspension or withdrawal of an Executive Order by the President must first be published in the Federal Register.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a program solicitation for the Minerva Initiative launched earlier this year in conjunction with the Department of Defense. The Minerva project will support basic research in social and behavioral sciences to meet specific national security interests. Interested institutions may file letters of intent to NSF by September 30, full proposals are due October 30.
- EPA has released for public comment proposed regulations to govern the sequestration of carbon dioxide. The rule would create a new class of injection wells under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act's Underground Injection Control program.
- NOAA has released a draft of “Global Climate Change in the United States” for public review until August 14.
- The Climate Change Science Program has released “Aerosol properties and their impacts on climate” for public comment through 25 August 2008.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) draft Education Strategic Plan is available for public review until August 29.
Science Professionals: Master's Education for a Competitive World (ISBN-10: 0-309-12424-7)
Diffusion and Use of Genomic Innovations in Health and Medicine: Workshop Summary (ISBN-10:0-309-11676-7)
Improving the Quality of Cancer Clinical Trials: Workshop Summary (ISBN-10: 0-309-11668-6)
Antivirals for Pandemic Influenza: Guidance on Developing a Distribution and Dispensing Program (ISBN-10: 0-309-11866-2)
Innovation in Global Industries: U.S. Firms Competing in a New World (ISBN-10: 0-309-11631-7)
U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems
Association of Academic Health Centers
HIPAA Creating Barriers to Research and Discovery
Tapping America's Potential
Gaining Momentum, Losing Ground
Association of American Universities and the Council on Governmental Relations
Restrictions on Research Awards: Troublesome Clauses 2007/2008
What’s Driving Food Prices
U.S. Climate Change Science Program
Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008
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AAAS Establishes New Center for Science Diplomacy
At a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee Research and Science Education Subcommittee, AAAS CEO Alan Leshner announced the founding of a new AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy. The center aims to provide a forum for interested parties to share information and explore collaborative opportunities and will focus on identifying opportunities for science diplomacy to link societies where official relations are limited.
AAAS Comments on Dual Use Research
AAAS was among six organizations which jointly sent public comments this month to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity on its Draft Oversight Framework Development on dual use research. The term “dual use” has been used to describe research that is conducted with the aims of benefiting society, but could be explicitly misapplied for malicious purposes.
AAAS Internships for Students With Disabilities Expanding the Technical Workforce
This summer AAAS’ ENTRY POINT! program brought forty-five undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities to organizations such as NASA, Pfizer, IBM, and Lockheed Martin for paid internships in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business. Since 1994 ENTRY POINT! has placed 540 interns, more than 90% of which have gone on to careers in technical fields. Students with internships in the Washington area visited the office of their Member of Congress this month to spread knowledge about the program and the need for expanding opportunities for access to careers in STEM fields.
In a new study, researchers examined inherited factors associated with autism by mapping areas of DNA from members of families in which the parents share recent ancestry. They found that areas with the largest deletions of DNA are associated with characteristics of genes involved in learning. The researchers conclude that studying such families can be useful in looking at specific incarnations of autism, but caution that there may be other factors common to the more diverse set of autism-spectrum disorders.
E.M. Morrow, et al., “Identifying Autism Loci and Genes by Tracing Recent Shared Ancestry,” Science, 11 July 2008; Vol. 321. no. 5886, pp. 218-223.