(Science and) Conservation Friday #6 – Why I’m doing this.

I now have been doing this for a couple months and it’s really the only consistent line of content that we have. Everyone here at the blog are going through some significant life changes. In the coming months, we will maintain our diversity across the professional spectrum; that diversity just might look a little different.

Looking at the stats for the blog, specifically these Friday posts, I’ve had to ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” It’s not an incredibly popular series of posts, most of the commentary I provide is dry, and it caters to a small portion of the scientific population. The truth is, I do it because It matters and because that last point really isn’t true. The series is named “Conservation Friday” while it should be called “Science Friday”, but you understand the conflict there. So, I’m re-branding to “(Science and) Conservation Friday”. This distinction is important because I try to cover all-things science policy and legislation in these segments. We here at the blog are all conservationists in some regard but I want to cover a broad swath of issues so that everyone understand how sciences plays in to the political process, no matter their specif field of research.

At the end of the day, this series will likely never be incredibly popular, and that’s fine. I think of it more as a reference site where people can come when they think they “remember heading somewhere about ‘X’ policy that may related to me in ‘Y’ way”. So here we go:

Sci/Enviro (explained)

H.R.1030 : To prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.
S.544 : A bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.
What: This is basically a reintroduction of a set of bills that was introduced last Congress that prevents the EPA using science from studies that are not open access and greatly prohibits the funding to enact the measure.
Importance: This is a similar argument made by those who create legislation concerning the Endangered Species Act and what data is used to make listing decisions. The problem is that lawmakers do not understand, or just ignore, the fact that most studies are not open access due to the journals, not the scientists. This issue is not going away and further reinforces the idea that scientists should be in advisory roles to explain the intricacies and politics (excuse the pun) of the field.

H.R.1020 : STEM Education Act of 2015
H.R.1081 : To assist coordination among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics efforts in the States, to strengthen the capacity of elementary schools, middle schools, and secondary schools to prepare students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and for other purposes.
Importance: There have been a significant number of STEM-related bills introduced already in this Congress. Perhaps this is a sign of changing attitudes?

H.R.1135 : To provide an immediate measure to control the spread of aquatic nuisance species from the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes basin and to inform long-term measures to prevent the Interbasin transfer of aquatic nuisance species.
S.589 : A bill to provide an immediate measure to control the spread of aquatic nuisance species from the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes basin and to inform long-term measures to prevent the Interbasin transfer of aquatic nuisance species.
What: While the text of the legislation is not yet available, the likely subject of the legislation is Asian carp.
Importance: Asian carp are a significant aquatic invasive threat. Government and academic labs around the country are developing tools and techniques to monitor the spread of these fish and prevent their spread.

Sci/Enviro (introduced)

H.R.1052 : To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Molalla River in the State of Oregon as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for other purposes.

H.R.1093 : To direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out a pilot program to work with municipalities that are seeking to develop and implement integrated plans to meet their wastewater and stormwater obligations under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and for other purposes.

H.R.1099 : To amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to provide certain exemptions relating to the taking of migratory game birds.
S.595 : A bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to prohibit baiting exemptions on certain land.

H.R.1029 : To amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, public participation, and for other purposes.

S.543 : A bill to amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, public participation, and for other purposes.

H.R.1138 : To establish certain wilderness areas in central Idaho and to authorize various land conveyances involving National Forest System land and Bureau of Land Management land in central Idaho, and for other purposes.

H.R.1140 : To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to establish a grant program to support the restoration of San Francisco Bay.

S.561 : A bill to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow the importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before the date on which the polar bear was determined to be a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

S.566 : A bill to reauthorize the Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998 through fiscal year 2018, and for other purposes.

S.577 : A bill to amend the Clean Air Act to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate for renewable fuel.

Random Leg

H.R.1013 : To decriminalize marijuana at the Federal level, to leave to the States a power to regulate marijuana that is similar to the power they have to regulate alcohol, and for other purposes.
H.R.1014 : To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the taxation of marijuana, and for other purposes.
Importance: As a visiting resident of D.C., this issue just came to a head locally yesterday as marijuana became legal in the district, admit heated threats from members of Congress to our local legislators that they (locals) could face federal charges for defying Congress’s anti-marijuana decree that was shoved into the budget bill. This is heated state issue; look for more on the national level.

H.R.1073 : To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to secure critical infrastructure against electromagnetic threats, and for other purposes.
Importance: I just personally think this is funny because there is a very real chance that the Department of Homeland Security will be closed by the end of the day due to a battle in Congress over funding.

S.557 : A bill to promote Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.
Importance: This is well-timed considering that Oklahoma is considering doing away with its A.P. program.

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