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Science Policy Updates

Looking for highlights from this week in science policy? This page features selections from the AAAS Policy Alert, a weekly e-newsletter which provides an inside look at policies affecting science and technology and the S&T community to AAAS members. AAAS members may sign up to receive the alert on their AAAS Profile in the Contact Preferences Section.

 

Policy Alert

April 13, 2021

WHITE HOUSE PROPOSES LARGE R&D BOOSTS IN FY 2022

Last week, the Biden administration unveiled an outline of its FY 2022 budget request to Congress. The budget will propose major increases for several research agencies, with particular priorities including climate, energy, diversity and innovation. Agency figures include:

  • Nearly 20% increases for the NIH, NSF and Department of Agriculture research programs. Most of the NIH increase is for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency for health (ARPA-H), while NSF would also get a new technology directorate.
  • Large increases for low-carbon R&D and climate science across agencies and another new ARPA for climate technology.
  • New funding for manufacturing innovation and for broadening STEM participation.
  • Relatively smaller increases for the NASA program and for the Office of Science in the Department of Energy.

The annual budget request is in addition to the Biden administration’s earlier infrastructure proposal, which proposed billions more for NSF, research infrastructure, minority-serving institutions, pandemic preparedness and other topics.
 

EPA ADMINISTRATOR ISSUES DIRECTIVE ON RACISM, INEQUITIES IN EPA PRACTICES 

Last week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan issued a directive to EPA staff to “infuse equity and environmental justice principles and priorities into all EPA practices, policies, and programs.” The memo directs the agency to use the “full array of policy and legal tools at our disposal” to ensure vulnerable communities are front of mind when issuing permits for polluting facilities or cleaning up following disasters.
 

JAPAN TO RELEASE FUKUSHIMA WATER INTO PACIFIC OCEAN

The Japanese government announced that it will dispose the treated but still radioactive water stored in tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. The decision is based on findings of a government panel that deliberated for seven years about the best way to dispose of the water. Government officials stated they will support fisheries affected by the move.