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July 2013 Issue

Congresswoman Hahn Supports Port Security Grants
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that would save funding for the Port Security Grant Program, which has dropped significantly in recent years.

The federal Port Security Grant Program has helped port operators’ capability to prevent, detect and respond to chemical, biological, nuclear and other nonconventional attacks. However, funding for the program has dropped for the last three consecutive years to 25 percent of its funding level in 2009. This amendment would stabilize funding for the program at last year’s levels and ensure that the program receives no further cuts.

“U.S. ports continue to be one of our country’s most important economic engines that link our nation to the rest of the world and the global economy,” said Congresswoman Hahn. “The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone are responsible for 44 percent of all of the goods that come into this country and account for 20 percent of our nation’s GDP.”


Senate Hearing Outlines Plans from Department of the Interior
Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Interior, appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to discuss the activities of the Department of the Interior.

Jewell addressed the committee by saying that its bureaus act as “stewards of the nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, rivers, seashores, and national monuments and recreation areas.”

Nearly 500 million visits were made to lands under the department’s management last year. In 2011, communities saw economic benefits of around $49 billion as a result of visits to these areas, Jewell said.

In regards to onshore activity, she said that “the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held 31 oil and gas sales last year and is scheduled to hold more than 30 this year.”

The secretary said they are working to develop offshore resources as well. “The first two sales of the 2012-2017 Five Year Program were held in the Gulf of Mexico in November 2012 and March 2013, and resulted in over $1.3 billion dollars in industry investment and government revenue through bidding on 436 tracts,” said Jewell.

In the renewable energy sector, she said that “since 2009, BLM has authorized more than 12,000 megawatts of energy on public lands and waters, established a road map for responsible solar development in the West by designating energy zones, and flipped the switch on the first solar energy project to deliver power to the grid.”


House Committee Discusses Reorganization Of STEM Education Programs
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing to review President Barack Obama’s administration’s proposed consolidation and reorganization of federal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs. Testifying before the committee were John P. Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President; Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, assistant director of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation (NSF); and Leland D. Melvin, associate administrator for education at NASA.

The COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 required OSTP to establish a standing Committee on STEM Education to develop a five-year strategic plan to align federal STEM education programs under a coherent vision and set of goals, to coordinate federal STEM programs on an ongoing basis and to impose greater accountability on these programs. Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget request contained a proposal to restructure and consolidate federal STEM programs. This proposal would have the Department of Education take on the primary role of overseeing STEM instruction at the K-12 level, NSF take on primary responsibility for administering STEM education programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, and the Smithsonian Institution be primarily responsible for informal education and outreach.


Industry Experts Support Access To Offshore Oil and Gas Resources
Industry experts testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources to discuss the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, passage of which will make oil and gas exploration possible in regions of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

President of Spectrum Geo Inc. (Houston, Texas) Richie Miller stressed the need for energy security, pointing to the potential of the OCS. He stated, “In 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimated that the federal OCS is home to a mean of 88.6 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable reserves (UTRR) of oil and 398.4 trillion cubic feet of UTRR of natural gas.”

Job creation is a selling point of OCS development according to John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute.

“Especially along the Atlantic coast, developing energy resources safely and responsibly could bring new, well-paying jobs to states where our industry has not historically had a major offshore presence,” Felmy said.


Legislation to Expand Offshore Energy Leases
U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) have cosponsored the introduction of The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2013. The legislation would expand U.S. offshore energy production with a revised five-year leasing plan and provide revenue sharing. The bill would provide an alternative to President Barack Obama’s administration’s proposed 2012 to 2017 offshore oil and gas leasing plan, which excludes Virginia. It is similar to House legislation recently proposed by U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.). The legislation would provide revenue sharing (37.5 percent) to Virginia, using a similar formula to what Gulf Coast states currently collect. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has recently announced that it is continuing to move forward with a plan to offer a wind energy research lease to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.



2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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