July 24, 2019 Policy Column: Energy and Scientific Integrity

Written By: Laura Szymanski, UW graduate student, the Geological Society of America’s (GSA’s) Science Policy Fellow, and the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU’s) Voices for Science member

Energy Legislation:  On 16 July 2019, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed several energy-related bills including, S. 1052, the Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technologies Act, which would direct the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy to create a program for the development of advanced separation technology to extract and recover rare earth elements and minerals from coal and coal byproducts and S. 1685, the Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act of 2019, which would direct the DOE to establish a program for the capture of carbon dioxide produced during the generation of natural gas-generated power.  A full list of the bills passed through this committee is available here.  For these bills to advance, these bills will need to pass a vote of the full Senate.  Contact Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Ron Johnson to voice your support or opposition.  On 23 July 2019, the full House passed several bills on suspension including, H.R. 36, Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019, and H.R. 1665, the Building Blocks of STEM Act.  For these bills to advance, the respective companion bills in the Senate, S. 1067 will need to pass the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of which Sen. Tammy Baldwin is a member and S. 737 will need to pass the full Senate.

Scientific Integrity: On 17 July 2019, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology and Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a Hearing on Scientific Integrity in Federal Agencies to discuss H.R. 1709, the Scientific Integrity Act.  This bill would ensure transparency and strong scientific integrity standards at America’s science agencies by protecting federal scientists and research from the distorting influence of political and special interests.  Sen. Brian Schatz introduced a companion bill, S. 775, in the Senate which has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of which Sen. Ron Johnson is a member.