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Senators ask hard questions about the US’s plans to respond to the 3-11 tsunami debris

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On Thursday May 17, 2012 the Senate Commerce Committee, Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee, held an oversight meeting on Stemming the Tide: The U.S. Response to Tsunami Generated Marine Debris. Senators Begich, Snowe and Cantwell asked questions of NOAA and the USCG.

A Storify compilation of tweets about the hearing can be seen at

http://storify.com/WillNuckols/senate-commerce-committee-laments-lack-of-plans-to

Storify summary of 3-11 Tsunami Debris Hearing Tweets

Link to the Storify recap at http://sfy.co/xnj

http://sfy.co/xnj

The full video of the hearing is available on the Senate Commerce website at http://commerce.senate.gov

 

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

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Written by Will Nuckols

May 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

House Republicans broadly support amendment to block President’s efforts to make federal ocean agencies more efficient

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On Wednesday afternoon on the floor of the House of Representatives Representative Bill Flores, (R-TX), introduced an amendment to H.R. 5326 the FY2013 appropriations bill for those agencies in Commerce, Justice, Science budget block. The Amendment would block the expenditure of any funds provided by the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriations bill for FY2013 to be used for the implementation of the “National Ocean Policy,” thereby blocking the coordination of the multitude of laws passed by Congress in a more efficient manner.

While the vote in the House of Representatives occurred largely along party lines, it is a mistake to characterize the issue as one which Democrats understand more clearly than Republicans. A handful of Republicans, including the House Natural Resources Committee chair Rep. Doc Hastings from Washington, are seemingly perpetually confused about the meaning of the National Ocean Policy, the Executive Order which created it and the policies that it espouses.

Flores Amendment to block funding for National Ocean Policy presented on the House floor 10May2012

However, this lack of understanding has not been consistent in the Republican Party. In the prior Administration President Bush (43) called for a Presidential Commission to examine America’s policies regarding our oceans and coasts, and that group’s report, dovetailed remarkably well with the Pew Ocean Commission, Chaired by Leon Panetta, which released its own report shortly before President Bush’s Commission released its findings. None of the findings in either Commission’s reports support a call from current Republicans in the House to further frustrate coordination and collaboration among the dozens of federal agencies involved in implementing the laws passed by Congress which impact our oceans and coasts.

The Flores amendment passed on a 246-174 vote, largely along party lines. A detailed listing of the vote is listed below.

The text of the amendment language is:

“At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

    Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547 (75 Fed. Reg. 43023, relating to the stewardship of oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes).”

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 234(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

—- AYES    246 —

Adams
Aderholt
Akin
Alexander
Altmire
Amash
Amodei
Austria
Barletta
Barrow
Bartlett
Barton (TX)
Benishek
Berg
Bilbray
Bilirakis
Bishop (NY)
Black
Blackburn
Bonner
Bono Mack
Boren
Boustany
Brady (TX)
Brooks
Broun (GA)
Buchanan
Bucshon
Buerkle
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Calvert
Camp
Campbell
Canseco
Cantor
Capito
Carter
Cassidy
Chabot
Chaffetz
Coble
Coffman (CO)
Cole
Conaway
Cravaack
Crawford
Crenshaw
Critz
Cuellar
Culberson
Davis (KY)
Denham
Dent
DesJarlais
Diaz-Balart
Dreier
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Ellmers
Emerson
Farenthold
Fincher
Flake
Fleischmann
Fleming
Flores
Forbes
Fortenberry
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Gardner
Garrett
Gerlach
Gibbs
Gibson
Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (MO)
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Griffin (AR)
Griffith (VA)
Grimm
Guinta
Guthrie
Hall
Hanna
Harper
Harris
Hartzler
Hastings (WA)
Heck
Hensarling
Herger
Herrera Beutler
Hochul
Holden
Huelskamp
Huizenga (MI)
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurt
Issa
Jenkins
Johnson (IL)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
Jordan
Kelly
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kinzinger (IL)
Kissell
Kline
Labrador
Lamborn
Lance
Landry
Lankford
Latham
Latta
Lewis (CA)
LoBiondo
Long
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lummis
Lungren, Daniel E.
Mack
Manzullo
Marchant
Marino
Matheson
McCarthy (CA)
McCaul
McClintock
McCotter
McHenry
McKeon
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
Meehan
Mica
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Mulvaney
Murphy (PA)
Myrick
Neugebauer
Noem
Nugent
Nunes
Nunnelee
Olson
Owens
Palazzo
Paul
Paulsen
Pearce
Pence
Peterson
Petri
Pitts
Platts
Poe (TX)
Pompeo
Posey
Price (GA)
Quayle
Rahall
Reed
Rehberg
Reichert
Renacci
Ribble
Rigell
Rivera
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Rokita
Rooney
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross (AR)
Ross (FL)
Royce
Runyan
Ryan (WI)
Scalise
Schilling
Schock
Schweikert
Scott (SC)
Scott, Austin
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shimkus
Shuler
Shuster
Simpson
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Southerland
Stivers
Stutzman
Sullivan
Terry
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tipton
Turner (NY)
Turner (OH)
Upton
Walberg
Walden
Walsh (IL)
Webster
West
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Wolf
Womack
Woodall
Yoder
Young (AK)
Young (FL)
Young (IN)

—- NOES    174 —

Ackerman
Andrews
Baca
Baldwin
Bass (CA)
Bass (NH)
Becerra
Berkley
Berman
Biggert
Bishop (GA)
Blumenauer
Bonamici
Boswell
Brady (PA)
Braley (IA)
Brown (FL)
Butterfield
Capps
Capuano
Cardoza
Carnahan
Carney
Carson (IN)
Castor (FL)
Chandler
Chu
Cicilline
Clarke (MI)
Clarke (NY)
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Cohen
Connolly (VA)
Conyers
Cooper
Costa
Costello
Courtney
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeGette
DeLauro
Deutch
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Dold
Doyle
Edwards
Ellison
Engel
Eshoo
Farr
Fattah
Fitzpatrick
Frank (MA)
Fudge
Garamendi
Gonzalez
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Hahn
Hanabusa
Hastings (FL)
Hayworth
Heinrich
Higgins
Himes
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Hirono
Holt
Honda
Hoyer
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Jones
Kaptur
Keating
Kildee
Kind
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
LaTourette
Lee (CA)
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lipinski
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Lowey
Luján
Lynch
Maloney
Markey
Matsui
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNerney
Meeks
Michaud
Miller (NC)
Miller, George
Moore
Moran
Murphy (CT)
Nadler
Neal
Olver
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor (AZ)
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Peters
Pingree (ME)
Polis
Price (NC)
Quigley
Rangel
Reyes
Richardson
Richmond
Rothman (NJ)
Roybal-Allard
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schrader
Schwartz
Scott (VA)
Scott, David
Serrano
Sewell
Sherman
Sires
Smith (WA)
Speier
Stark
Stearns
Sutton
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Tonko
Towns
Tsongas
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Visclosky
Walz (MN)
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watt
Waxman
Woolsey
Yarmuth

—- NOT VOTING    11 —

Bachmann
Bachus
Bishop (UT)
Donnelly (IN)
Filner
Kucinich
Napolitano
Schmidt
Slaughter
Welch
Wilson (FL)

Dead baby seal raises questions about efforts to address lost fishing gear in the U.S.

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On April 8, 2012 the Seattle Times ran an article titled Lost fishing gear becoming big threat to Puget Sound marine life highlighting the recent discovery of the dead body of a seal pup entangled in lost fishing gear.

Seal pup named Sandy

A Seattle Times article highlights a "Seal pup is rescued and rehabilitated only to later drown when entangled in derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound, WA" but fails to look deeper at the bigger questions about how we are doing with cleaning up these persistent threats to marine mammals, fish, birds and even divers. (photo - Seattle Times)

“The death of a rescued seal pup, trapped in an underwater tangle of fishing line, shows the deadly toll of lost fishing gear. Old fishing nets, crab pots, lines and hooks ensnare and kill more than half a million sea creatures in Puget Sound every year, according to the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative” the Seattle Times article states, followed by a sad story of a seal pup which was rescued, rehabilitated by the Progressive Animal Welfare Society’s Wildlife Center for five months, and then returned to the wild only to drown when entangled in lost fishing gear.

While startling to see any marine mammal senselessly lost not to a natural predator, but from human’s impacts on the marine environment, perhaps equally disturbing is what is not covered in the article – the bigger picture view of the problem of derelict fishing gear in the United States and waning efforts to address legacy gear – the persistent monofilament lines in the water – in particular.

What’s not in the news article:

  • The dramatic reduction in federal funding, and accordingly the level of effort, removing new or legacy derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound
  • The inherent difficulties in maintaining a long-term cleanup effort when most funding sources are geared toward pilot project projects or demonstration projects (the Northwest Straits Commission has done a great job, but if they have serious challenges maintaining a program even given their tremendous successes, how will other regions do in the long run?)
  • The unknown factor of how much derelict fishing gear lies below 100 feet, the diver depth cut off for this type of work due to OSHA restrictions (unless you are the military, who came to remove a few nets a few years ago as they are not affected by OSHA regs – they did those dives as training missions)
  • The harm that volunteers have put themselves in working at depths where “volunteering” was the only way to get around OSHA regs (as one theory goes that volunteers are not subject to OSHA regs as they don’t accept pay for their dives – a legal premise that has never been run to ground) on projects identified by the SeaDoc Society mentioned in the article who asked for federal help, but none came when a squid seiner sank with her nets deployed (luckily no one has been injured on that net recovery project but it is one heck of a scary cleanup)
  •  The lack of federal guidelines to address this type of diving (a workshop was held bringing multiple state, federal and tribal agencies together but there was no follow-up or transfer of procedures or policies between groups)
  •  A serious look at where “scientific diving” ends and “working diver” circumstances, and required training, begins and the related implications on derelict fishing gear cleanup programs

The issues surrounding cleaning up derelict fishing gear are numerous, the expertise is thin, and some of the best folks who worked on the topic have had to move on to other work due to funding limitations – a tragic brain-drain for the field.

Ghost fishing gear’s impacts are serious – and have been quantified in some instances (although the numbers are possibly lower than reality as the mortality and evidence of the mortality occurs so quickly), and while efforts to stop the introduction of new fishing nets has made some headway (disposal dumpsters at some docks, nets-to-energy projects at some others) I know of no national, or even regional plan to address legacy derelict nets comprehensively in the U.S.

Puget Sound, largely through the good work of the Northwest Straits Commission, comes as close as any to seriously working a cleanup plan, but as the article shows through the death of one high-profile seal, even Puget Sound isn’t safe for fish, waterfowl (there’s a big bird impact from lost monofilament nets too) and marine mammals.

Looking at reductions in the level of effort for derelict fishing net removal in two regions in the U.S. where the threat from nets is already well understood – Puget Sound and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands  – it appears that lost fishing gear recovery as a national priority has slipped over the past several years, even though it appears listed as a priority in government documents.

It is welcome news that the media hasn’t forgotten about the problem, but it is sad that it took the loss of another seal pup to get people’s attention.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/


University of Hawaii takes the lead on researching issues surrounding the debris in the Pacific coming from the 3-11 Tsunami disaster in Japan

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A storify compilation of the live tweets from the meeting begins to tell the story of the range of issues that need to be considered when governments, academia and industries think about the debris at sea coming from the March 11, 2011 tsunami that rocked the coast of Japan.

View the story “U of Hawaii hosts meeting on marine debris from the 3-11-11 tsunami” on Storify]

You can also follow the ongoing story about the 3-11 tsunami debris threat at the newly launched
http://311tsunamidebris.org website

materials at sea immediately following the 3-11 tsunami disaster in Japan

materials at sea immediately following the 3-11 tsunami disaster in Japan

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

 

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Follow Will on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

Written by Will Nuckols

February 28, 2012 at 10:47 am

If you are tracking FY2013 ocean and coastal related budget hearings, there’s a lot to cover

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image of U.S. Currency by William Nuckols

Do you know where the "ocean budget" dollars are located? Look widely, as many agencies impact the oceans and coasts of the U.S.
**more fy2013 hearings connected to agencies which have an impact on ocean policy issues will be added as they become available. Return to this page for updates

NOAA has dropped its FY2013 budget last week, when the President sent his full budget request  to the Hill for consideration by the House and Senate. This year’s NOAA budget request is approximately $5.1 billion. But that’s far from the only money in the oceans and coastal arena in the federal budget.

The National Ocean Council (NOC) structure includes dozens of agencies and the Executive Office of the President. Sensibly, it is not until you look across that broad collection of agency budget proposals and the reaction from the Hill to them will you get an understanding of the scale of the “ocean and coastal budget.”

Here are a few of the ocean related Congressional budget hearings that have occurred or are coming up over the next  months which provide the trail of breadcrumbs those interested in ocean and coastal issues will want to be following:

(Hearings which have already occurred will have links to archived video where available.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of the Interior – Secretary

Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:30 PM in 2359 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Ken Salazar, Secretary, Department of the Interior (Biography)(Testimony); David Hayes, Deputy Secretary (Biography); Pamela Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary – Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition (Biography)
Opening statements: Chairman Rogers / Chairman Simpson
Video recording: Part I / Part II

Friday, February 17, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of Agriculture – Secretary

Friday, February 17, 2012 10:00 AM in 2362-A Rayburn
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Honorable Thomas Vilsack, Secretary- Department of Agriculture; Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary-Department of Agriculture; Dr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist-Department of Agriculture; Michael Young, Budget Officer-Department of Agriculture

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

House Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Joint Hearing
The title of the hearing is “The FY 2013 EPA Budget.”
10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Opening Statement of Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield

Opening Statement of Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus

Opening Statement of Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton

Witness List
: Ms. Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Witness Testimony
the hearing will be live broadcast on the Committee’s website.  It is also being carried on CSPAN.

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of Energy – Secretary

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 2:00 PM in 2359 Rayburn
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary, Department of Energy

House Natural Resources Committee hearing
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight Hearing on “FY 2013 budget requests from the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management”
10:00 AM   in 1324 Longworth House Office Building
Witness:
Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
Robert Abbey, Director, Bureau of Land Management

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing (POSTPONED – new date TBD)
Budget Hearing – Department of Commerce, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:00 AM in H-309 Capitol
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator
(This hearing will not be webcast.)

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of State – Secretary of State

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:00 AM in 2359 Rayburn
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Witness: The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Department of State

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Environmental Protection Agency – Administrator

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 1:00 PM in 2359 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Lisa Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; Barbara Bennett, Chief Financial Officer, Environmental Protection Agency

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Office of Science and Technology Policy. Director

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 2:00 PM in H-309 Capitol
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
(This hearing will not be webcast).

Thursday March 1, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Fish and Wildlife Service – Director

Thursday, March 1, 2012 9:30 AM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Dan Ashe, Director, Fish and Wildlife Service; Chris Nolin, Budget Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tuesday March 6, 2012

House Appropriations Budget Hearing
U.S. Coast Guard – Commandant

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM in B-318 Rayburn
Homeland Security

Witness:  Robert Papp, Jr., Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

House Appropriations Budget Hearing – National Science Foundation
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM in H-309, the Capitol
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Witness
: The Honorable Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation
(This hearing will not be webcast by the Committee)

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – U.S. Geological Survey

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 1:00 PM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witness: Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director, USGS

House Natural Resources Committee hearing
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Oversight Hearing on “Spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request for these Agencies.”
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM in 1334 Longworth House Office Building
WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:
Witnesses TBD.

Wednesday March 7, 2012

House Budget Committee, Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
Budget Hearing – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Assistant Secretary, Chief of Engineers

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:00 PM in 2362-B Rayburn
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: The Honorable Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Maj. Gen. Merdith “Bo” Temple, Chief of Engineers (Acting), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(This hearing will not be webcast)

Budget Hearing – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement – Directors
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 1:00 PM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witness: Tommy Beaudreau, Director, BOEM; Rear Admiral James Watson, Director, BSEE

House Natural Resources Committee hearing
Committee on Natural Resources Oversight Hearing on “The Council on Environmental Quality’s FY 2013 Funding Request and the Effects on NEPA, National Ocean Policy and Other Federal Environmental Policy Initiatives”
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:00 AM in 1324 Longworth House Office Building
Witness: Nancy Sutley, Chairwoman, Council on Environmental Quality

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Oversight Hearing
Priorities, Plans, and Progress of the Nation’s Space Program
Mar 07 2012 10:00 AM
Russell Senate Office Building – 253
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following upcoming hearing on priorities, plans, and progress of the nation’s space program.
Please note the hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website.

House Appropriations Budget Hearing – Department of Agriculture
Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:00 AM in 2362-A Rayburn
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Mr. Harris Sherman, Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture; Mr. Dave White,Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture; Mr. Michael Young, Budget Officer, Department of Agriculture.
(This hearing will not be webcast.)

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following upcoming hearing on the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal for the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The President’s FY2013 Budget Proposals for the Coast Guard and NOAA

Mar 07 2012 2:30 PM Russell Senate Office Building – 253
Witness List:
The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard

House Appropriations Budget Hearing
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:00 AM in 2358-A Rayburn
Homeland Security

Witnesses:
Craig Fugate, Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency
(This hearing will not be webcast)

Thursday March 8, 2012

House Budget Hearing – National Park Service – Director
Thursday, March 8, 2012 9:30 AM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witness: Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

House Natural Resources Committee Hearing – FY13 Budget for DOI’s BOEM and BSSE
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
March 8, 2012 9:30 AM

1334 Longworth House Office Building
Oversight Hearing on “Effect of the President’s FY 2013 Budget and Legislative Proposals for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on Private Sector Job Creation, Domestic Energy Production, Safety and Deficit Reduction
Witnesses:
Tommy Beaudreau, Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
James Watson, Director, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

House Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing
Department of Transportation – Secretary

Thursday, March 8, 2012 9:30 AM in 2358-A Rayburn
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable Ray LaHood, Secretary, Department of Transportation
House Appropriations Committee
Budget Hearing – National Park Service 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 1:00 PM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee

Witness: Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service(Biography); Bruce Sheaffer, Comptroller, National Park Service(Biography); Peggy O’Dell, Deputy Director, National Park Service(Biography)
(This hearing will not be webcast)
Senate Appropriations Committee
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (Chairman Mikulski)
March 28, 2012
Time and Location: 2:00 p.m., Dirksen 124
Agenda: a review of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Witnesses: The Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Senate Appropriations Committee
Energy and Water Development Subcommittee (Chairman Feinstein)
March 28, 2012
Time and Location: 2:30 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: A review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 funding request and budget justification for the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.
Witnesses:
Major General Merdith (Bo) Temple
Acting Commanding General
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary
U.S. Army (Civil Works)
The Honorable Anne Castle
Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
U.S. Department of the Interior
The Honorable Michael L. Connor
Commissioner
Bureau of Reclamation
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Senate Appropriations Committee
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (Chairman Kohl)
March 29, 2012
Time and Location: 2:00 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for the Department of Agriculture
Witness: The Honorable Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, Department of Agriculture(USDA)
Accompanied by:
Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Dr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist, Department of Agriculture, Mr. Michael Young, Budget Officer, Department of Agriculture

**more fy2013 hearings connected to agencies which have an impact on ocean policy issues will be added as they become available.  Return to this page for updates.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert

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Dirksen 124

13,0000 gallons spilled by Shell on Sunday. In the Gulf of Mexico, spills remain an all too common occurence.

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Transocean Deepwater Nautilus Drilling Platform

"Equipment failure" at the Transocean Deepwater Nautilus Drilling Platform, operating for Shell Oil in the Gulf of Mexico 20 miles from the site of the Transocean/BP Macondo well blowout, spilled over 13,000 gallons of oil and drilling fluid into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday December 18, 2011

On Sunday December 18, 2011 there has been a reported release of 13,000 gallons of oil and drilling fluids into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, some mere 20 miles from the site of the BP / Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Once again the drill rig is a Transocean Deepwater series rig, similar to the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that was lost following loss of control of the wellhead.

While the driller, Transocean, is the same, the company they work for is different. In this case it isn’t BP, but rather Shell Oil, a company who extolled its safety programs and harshly criticized BP’s plans in the waves of criticism and finger pointing following the disaster at the Macondo well which spilled millions of gallons of oil and resulted in the loss of human lives.

Shell, which has been promoting its ability to operate safely, is the same company who is getting incrementally closer to achieving all the required permits for it to drill in the Arctic under conditions that some are too hazardous for any company to risk, given the sensitivity of the arctic environment and the questionable ability to address accidents including oil spills which could result from the drilling activity.

The fact that spill free drilling operations are not, in any real world conditions, possible continues to prove itself.

12/20/11 UPDATE: Shell reports that the fluid loss was synthetic drilling fluids, which they say are biodegradable. The fact that accidents, even in areas near the BP Macondo well spill which have heightened scrutiny, continue to occur, and the releases of materials are not gallons but tens of thousands of gallons, remains alarming.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert

 

 


Media begins coverage of the 3-11 tsunami debris en route to the U.S.

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The public’s attention is finally being drawn to the topic of the materials which ended in the ocean as a result of the tsunami.

photo of the russian ship Pallada

Photo of the Pallada docked during a visit to Seattle, WA. The Pallada's sailing leg from Hawaii to Russia was crucial in the initial documentation of the 3-11 tsunami debris field in the Pacific ocean disaster which hit Japan earlier this year - referred to by some as 3-11 tsunami debris. Which some minor coverage occurred in the month following the disaster it didn't grab attention in the same way that the current round of media coverage is generating. Major kudos to University of Hawaii researcher Nikolai A Maximenko who approached the Pallada for assistance and the Russian Captain who agreed to document the 3-11 tsunami debris as she sailed west from Hawaii.

The current cycle of coverage reached possibly its widest coverage through a single story in a piece that aired on October 24, 2011 on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams. That story covered the

information that was gathered by one of what we believe to be only two sources of direct observation of the 3-11 tsunami debris field.

Frustrated by a lack of a wider response to the potential threats that the 3-11 tsunami debris materials may generate, a handful of marine debris experts in Hawaii and Washington, DC (a group which includes myself) have come together to bring together resources of opportunity to begin the process of scoping out the scale of the problem.

One such opportunity presented itself when a Russian tall ship, the Pallada, was en route from San Francisco, California on her way home to Russia, and stopped over in Hawaii. While docked in HI, University of Hawaii researcher Nikolai A Maximenko, who thankfully peaks Russian, approached the Captain of the Pallada and asked if his crew could take photos and report back on the debris they might encounter as they sail west through the areas the ocean circulation models say should contain debris from the 3-11 tsunami debris.

Having found not just debris in general, but a small boat with registration on the stern tying it back to the site of the tsunami’s landfall in Japan there is little doubt that the debris was from the 3-11 disaster event. Closer to Hawaii than the University of Hawaii or NOAA models had predicted, the information from the vessel of opportunity should alert governments, industry, environmentalists and scientists that shockingly little is known about the 3-11 debris field.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert

Written by Will Nuckols

November 1, 2011 at 9:07 am