Conservation

  • City of Dripping Springs (pop. 2000) requested a permit to discharge wastewater into Onion Creek; City of Austin wonders where they will get 1 million gallons of water and the council discusses water conservation, future development, and Austin’s role in the environmental regulation of the Edward’s Aquifer region (video link, see 7E)

Committee(s) on Science, Space, and Technology

  • The Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a complex piece of legislation (analysis here, though a bit out of date). President Obama is expected to sign it into law. This is like a federal right-to-try law; Texas has such a law on the books.
  • Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, appears to have committed to repealing the Endangered Species Act (link)
  • There is low diversity in Trump’s proposed cabinet (link)
  • Rick Perry’s nomination for Secretary of the Environment is criticized by the DNC spokesman: “he’s a climate change denier and doesn’t think that the federal government should ensure that every American has access to clear air, land, or water” (link)

City of Austin Development

  • Action: you can receive wind rather than fossil fuel energy through City of Austin Utilities for an additional $0.0075/KWH used, i.e., ~$2/month (link).
  • The Hill Country Alliance proposes a framework solution to the environmental cost of Austin’s growth, The Hill Country Endowment, which would bring money from urban areas to rural areas for conservation (video link, see item 7C). Env. Board requests a detailed resolution and agrees to work with HCA.

Climate Change

  • The American Geophysical Union is urging President-elect Trump to appoint a science advisor. Action: Sign the petition to bring science to the White House (link).
  • Scientists of the American Geophysical Union stood up to the anti-climate science platform presented by President-elect Trump this week during the AGU fall conference in San Francisco.
    • Scientists took to the street in protest, holding signs reading, “Science is not a liberal conspiracy,” “Ice has no agenda – it just melts.” (link)
    • CA Gov. Jerry Brown addressed the scientists at the conference, stating that “we’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight.” (watch here) (link)
  • 2,300+ scientists have issued an open letter to the Trump administration to “adhere to high standards of scientific integrity and independence.” (link) Action: Add your name to the letter (link).

Outreach / Professional Development

  • Conference: 2017 National Conference and Global Forum for Science, Policy, and the Environment. Action: Attend or follow on Facebook/Twitter January 24-26, 2017.

Science Communication / Miscellaneous

  • Great article by the Boston Globe summarizing why we should fund basic research.
  • Policy position papers from the Institute on Science for Global Policy – to increase science’s public value, we must improve communication.

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