11 March 2013
AGU Science Policy Alert 13-12
Although stalled budget negotiations and sequestration have seemed to dominate the political agenda, Congress has been hard at work on other legislative matters addressing everything from climate change and environmental protection to the open access of publicly funded scientific research. Each year many bills and resolutions are introduced in both the House and Senate that get referred to committee and it can be hard to know what to keep your eye on. Here are just a few of the earth and space science related measures to watch in 2013.
H.R. 708 Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013
Introduced by Representative Michael Doyle (D-PA) and three cosponsors on 14 February 2013, the resolution aims to make all published articles on publicly funded scientific research freely available online for anyone to read and build upon. Specifically, any U.S. Government agencies with annual extramural research expenditures over $100 million would be required to make manuscripts of articles on research funded by that agency accessible and reusable on the web after a certain period of time.
H.R.761 National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013
Sponsored by Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV) and thirty-seven cosponsors, the act would open up national forests and lands to the mining of minerals and mineral materials that are of strategic and critical importance to the U.S. and limit the mining permit review process to thirty months. The definition of ‘strategic and critical minerals’ is broad, containing anything necessary for national defense and security requirements, the Nation’s energy infrastructure (pipelines, electrical power generation, etc.), to support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, housing, telecommunications, healthcare, and transportation infrastructure.
S.332 Climate Protection Act of 2013
Introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on 14 February 2013, the act seeks to address climate disruptions, reduce carbon pollution, enhance the use of clean energy, and promote resilience in the infrastructure of the United States. It specifically would put a tax on carbon outputs, end fracking’s exemption from the Safe Water Drinking Act, invest in energy efficiency and sustainability and end subsidies for fossil fuels while extending renewable energy tax incentives. To read a summary of the act from Rep. Sanders’ page, click here.
S.7 Extreme Weather Prevention and Resilience Act
Sponsored by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) with twenty-one cosponsors, the resolution is an expression of the senate’s belief that Congress should be improving the resiliency of United States to extreme weather events and preventing the worsening of weather conditions. This would mean promoting investment in community protection against disasters like drought, flood, wildfire, and sea-level rise while making investment in clean energy infrastructure and promoting the development of clean energy technology.