AGU Scientists Rock Capitol Hill
13 May 2010
AGU Science Policy Alert 10-12
Earth and space sciences may not always make national headlines, but they are woven in to a multitude of national policies that affect people both in the United States and abroad, including energy, environment, hazards, and climate. Because of these important policy issues, Capitol Hill was flooded with Earth and space scientists who were offering their expertise during the 15th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (SET-CVD) on 28-29 April. AGU joined forces with dozens of other scientific and engineering societies, bringing in nearly 300 scientists and engineers from across the country. Twenty-nine AGU members from 16 states participated in this year's event—the highest number ever.
Corina Cerovski-Darriau of the American Geological
Institute works with a group of scientists from California
The event began with a workshop on 28 April at AGU headquarters for all Earth and space scientists participating in SET-CVD. The workshop addressed how to communicate with legislators, an overview of the Federal budget, and a panel of representatives from NASA, NSF, USGS, and DOE. Participants also had the opportunity to engage with several Congressional Science Fellows, currently working as staff in various Congressional offices.
TLS scan of Reps. Ralph Hall (TX) and David Wu (OR)
(image credit: David Phillips, UNAVCO)
All SET-CVD participants were then invited to attend the LaserFest exhibition and reception with legislators and their staff, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser. Two exhibitors demonstrated LiDAR projects — Chris Crosby, from Open Topography in San Diego, California, and David Phillips from UNAVCO in Boulder, Colorado, discussed the practical applications of LiDAR and even scanned several members of the House of Representatives!
(L-R): Charna Meth, Consortium for Ocean Leadership;
Keir Becker, Univ. of Miami; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
(R-FL);Kristine Harper, Florida State Univ.; Ron Doel,
Florida State Univ.
The scientists kicked off the next day with a breakfast on Capitol Hill, at which Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) spoke and encouraged the scientists to run for public office. Finally, after much preparation, the scientists met with their state delegations as well as various House and Senate committees. Among AGU's 29 participants were oceanographers Piers Chapman, Steve DiMarco, and Ruth Mullins from Texas A&M, who met with their Representative, Chet Edwards (D-TX), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Subcommittee on Energy and Water. A group of scientists from the University of Miami and Florida State University, including Keir Becker, Kristine Harper, and Ron Doel, had the chance to meet Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL), whose districts include those universities. All the participants had the opportunity to discuss with legislators and their staff the value of steady federal budget increases in science research and development, and show how the investment positively impacts their communities.
Throughout the year, AGU scientists participate in several Congressional events, including exhibitions, briefings, and CVD. AGU’s next CVD is the Geosciences CVD (Geo-CVD) on 21-22 September 2010. If you are interested in participating in any Congressional events with AGU, please contact Kaitlin Chell at email@example.com.