Geoscientists Flock to Capitol Hill
1 October 2009
Congress currently has a litany of issues on its docket that are intimately connected to the geosciences, including energy, environment, and climate. In response, Capitol Hill was recently bombarded by geoscientists offering their expertise during the second annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (Geo- CVD) on 15-16 September 2009. AGU joined forces with nine other geoscience societies, bringing in nearly 60 geoscientists from across the country. Twenty-two AGU members from twelve states participated in this year's event.
All Geo-CVD participants were invited to attend the US Geological Survey (USGS) Coalition's annual reception on Capitol Hill on Monday, 14 September, which was organized by AGU and the Seismological Society of America. At the reception, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) received the Coalition's annual Leadership Award in honor of their continuing commitment to the USGS. Senator Feinstein is the Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations' Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, which is tasked with allocating funds to the USGS. Senator Murkowski is the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. AGU also hosted a workshop on 15 September for all scientists partaking in Geo-CVD. The workshop addressed how to communicate with legislators, an overview of the Federal budget, and a panel session with representatives from NOAA, NSF, USGS, and DOE.
Finally, after much preparation, the geoscientists met with their state delegations as well as various House and Senate committees. Among the participants were Dr. Eric Betterton, from the University of Arizona and Chair of AGU's Committee on Public Affairs (COPA), who met with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Several hurricane researchers, including Dr. Bill Dewar from Florida State University, Dr. Hilary Stockdon from the USGS, and Dr. Sytske Kimball from the University of South Alabama met with the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss a current and relevant bill, S. 1485, the National Hurricane Research Initiative Act of 2009. And Dr. Chris Konrad from the Nature Conservancy had a day jam-packed with eight Congressional visits and met in-person with three Members of Congress: Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
Throughout the year, AGU scientists participate in several Congressional events, including exhibitions, briefings, and CVD. AGU's next CVD is the Science- Engineering-Technology CVD (SET-CVD) on 28-29 April 2010. If you are interested in participating in any Congressional events with AGU, please contact Kaitlin Chell at email@example.com.