FYI is an objective, authoritative digest of science policy developments in Washington impacting the physical science community.

State attorneys are using their subpoena power against ExxonMobil to investigate whether the company committed fraud by publicly contradicting its inside knowledge of risks that climate change poses to its business. Meanwhile, Rep. Lamar Smith is attempting to use his subpoena power as chairman of the House Science Committee to intervene in those investigations, claiming as legal justification a committee responsibility to defend scientific freedom. With a showdown looming in that battle, Senate Democrats are using the bully pulpit to condemn organizations that they allege conspire to undermine the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.

29 Jul 2016

House and Senate appropriators are seeking to reverse the administration’s proposed 3.1 percent discretionary funding cut to the National Institutes of Health and instead boost the agency’s budget by as much as $2 billion above current levels. Under their proposals, all NIH research institutes would see increases.

27 Jul 2016

Committee members and witnesses reflected on the feasibility of consent-based approaches to siting nuclear waste facilities and on whether scientific safety reviews and expanded nuclear R&D in the state could prove instrumental in securing public support for Yucca Mountain serving as a nuclear waste repository.

25 Jul 2016

In its research and development planning, the Defense Department is currently following a strategy referred to as the Third Offset, which focuses heavily on technological innovation and implementation. Congress, though, has pushed back on DOD’s Third Offset priorities, allocating higher than requested funding for early-stage research while looking to keep a tighter rein on special innovation initiatives personally backed by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

21 Jul 2016

Last week the House passed two bills which would establish new basic energy research initiatives at the Department of Energy, as well as a bill which would update policies for certain NIST programs and direct a comprehensive National Academies review of NIST laboratories.

19 Jul 2016