(Science and) Conservation Friday #7

Note: Friday was a little busier than expected so this is a Monday edition of Conservation Friday.

Missed last week so I had got to browse through 400+ pieces of legislation from the past two weeks. I do it so you don’t have to (and love it)!

Sci/Enviro (Explained)

H.R.1203 : To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to disapprove a permit after it has been issued by the Secretary of the Army under section 404 of such Act.
What: Removes authority/clarifies the role of the EPA in administering the FWPCA.

H.R.1207 : Healthy Fisheries through Better Science Act.
What: Amends the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Importance: Magnuson sets out rules for responsible fishing (basically – I know that  lot of my fisheries friends would have a lot more to say on the issue). Magnuson is a big deal in the fisheries world, so any time that it comes up for reauthorization or amends are proposed, people pay attention.

H.R.1214 : National Forest Small Tracts Act Amendments Act of 2015.
What: Gives the Secretary of Agriculture more authority manage land in the National Forest System.

H.R.1275 : Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act.
What: Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategic action plan to assist health professionals in preparing for and responding to the public health effects of climate change, and for other purposes.
Importance: Any sort of legislation introduced to address climate change is a big deal (though nothing will come of it). This is important though because it represents a shift from the focus being on how we should prevent it to how we should deal with it.

H.R.1276 : Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act.
What: Would amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a coastal climate change adaptation planning and response program, and for other purposes.
Importance: Similar to H.R. 1275, the focus is more on adapting to climate change.

H.R.1277 : Ocean Acidification Research Partnerships Act.
What: To provide for ocean acidification collaborative research grant opportunities.
Importance: OA is a big deal, especially when you consider how much of the planet is covered by water.

H.R.1278 : Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2015.
What: Would authorize the EPA to establish a program of awarding grants to owners or operators of water systems to increase resiliency or adaptability of the systems to any ongoing or forecasted changes to the hydrologic conditions of a region of the United States.
Importance: There is a theme here: Climate change is happening. We need to find ways to adapt to it.

H.R.1284 : Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2015.
What: Would direct the EPA to take certain actions related to pesticides that may affect pollinators.
Importance: Pollinators (most notably bees) are in trouble. The “smoking-gun” of a stressor has not been identified (nor is it likely that one disturbance is the singular cause) but now the gov’t is getting involved by trying to take steps that could reduce the impact of humans on pollinators.

Sci/Enviro (Introduced)

H.R.1162 : Science Prize Competitions Act.

H.R.1320 : To amend the Clean Air Act with respect to exceptional event demonstrations, and for other purposes.

H.R.1327 : To amend the Clean Air Act to delay the review and revision of the national ambient air quality standards for ozone.

H.R.1335 : To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen, and for other purposes.

S.631 : A bill to exempt National Forest System land in the State of Alaska from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

S.653 : Water Resources Research Amendments Act of 2015

S.659 : A bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes.

S.721 : A bill to amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to facilitate the establishment of additional or expanded public target ranges in certain States.

S.722 : A bill to extend the date after which interest earned on obligations held in the wildlife restoration fund may be available for apportionment.

S.736 : A bill to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require disclosure to States of the basis of determinations under such Act, to ensure use of information provided by State, tribal, and county governments in decisionmaking under such Act, and for other purposes.

Random Leg

H.R.1164 : We Are Watching You Act of 2015.
What: Personally, I think this bill should be renamed. The way it reads one would think that this bill is being proposed to let the public know that the gov’t is watching them. Actually, it’s to prevent such monitoring that was brought to light concerning the NSA, Verizon, etc.

H.R.1172 : Distillery Excise Tax Reform Act of 2015.
What: Reducing taxes on small distilleries -> greater profit margin -> more small, local distilleries.

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