H.R. ____, the “Solar Fuels Innovation Act”;
H.R. ____, the “Electricity Storage Innovation Act”; and
H.R. ______, the “National Institute of Standards and Technology Campus Security Act” Read More
WASHINGTON – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs. The letter requests an explanation on why federal agency representation on ACCRES is necessary, why the Department of Commerce has not held an ACCRES meeting in over one year, and a schedule and timeline for the report required by the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. This inquiry is part of continued oversight efforts of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and follows previous letters sent to NOAA regarding the licensing of private space-based remote sensing systems.
“Congress specifically directed the Department of Commerce to consult with ACCRES because Congress needs to be fully informed when considering the possible update of the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act. However, given that fact that ACCRES has not met in over a year and that ACCRES existing membership was dissolved in April, 2016, it raises serious question(s) as to whether the Department will be able to consult with ACCRES and incorporate their feedback on the Section 202 report due November 25th, 2016, in a timely fashion, and without undue influence from federal agency representatives,” the letter states.
“It also raises the question of whether the Department of Commerce has purposefully not held ACCRES meetings, dissolved ACCRES, and planned to include federal agency representation so that ACCRES is not able to provide substantive consultation on the Section 202 report,” the letter continues.
Section 202 of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which was signed into law last November, requires the Secretary of Commerce to consult with heads of appropriate federal agencies and its Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) to submit a report on statutory updates necessary to license private remote sensing space systems. Under the current statutory authorities, the Department of Commerce licenses private sector parties to operate private remote sensing space systems. This authority has not been updated since the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act.
On Feb. 17, Chairman Smith sent a letter to Secretary Pritzker requesting information on whether the Department of Commerce is considering changing the composition of members of ACCRES.
On June 6, Chairman Smith sent a letter to Secretary Pritzker following press reports that satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe was still awaiting a license approval almost three years after submitting its initial request. The letter requested communications and documentation confirming DigitalGlobe’s application date, a timeline of the application review process, names of NOAA employees involved in the application approval process, and an explanation of why NOAA has so drastically prolonged and delayed the process.
Today’s letter can be found HERE. Read More
WASHINGTON – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today issued the following statement in response to the withdrawal of the U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General’s subpoena targeting the work of more than 100 academic institutions, scientists and nonprofit organizations that question the administration’s climate change agenda.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General’s decision to withdraw his subpoena confirms what my committee has known all along -- these legal actions were conceived and driven by environmental groups with an extreme political agenda and no actual regard for the rule of law. Companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists deserve the ability to pursue research free from intimidation and threat of prosecution. The Committee will continue to conduct vigorous oversight to ensure the preservation of scientific freedom and the First Amendment rights of all Americans.”
On June 20, 17 Republicans from the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee sent letters to 17 state attorneys general reiterating the Committee’s request for documents related to coordinated efforts of state attorneys general and environmental groups to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, scientists and scholars of their First Amendment rights and their ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution.
On May 18, 13 Republican Members of the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee sent letters to 17 state attorneys general and environmental activist organizations requesting documents related to coordinated efforts of state attorneys general and environmental groups to criminalize scientific dissent.
June 20 letter(s) to attorneys general can be found HERE.
May 18 letter(s) to the attorneys general can be found HERE.
May 18 letter(s) to environmental organizations can be found HERE. Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today 17 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting that travel warnings be raised for countries where the Zika virus is widespread.
The Committee held a hearing last month on ways to combat the spread of the Zika virus. At the hearing, expert witnesses testified that so far all Zika cases in the continental United States had been attributed to travel-associated exposure to the virus. Witnesses also testified that stricter travel advisories should be implemented and all non-essential travel to areas with high levels of infection should be avoided.
The letter states, “If Americans continue to believe it is safe to travel to countries where the Zika virus is rampant, more will return home with infections. This increases the risks for all of us, whether we travel abroad or not, because if a mosquito bites a person who has carried Zika into the U.S., that mosquito can infect every other person it bites.”
In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This declaration is reserved for a situation that is “serious, unusual or unexpected; carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border; and may require immediate international action.” Since then, 150 prominent individuals with scientific, academic and other public health backgrounds sent a letter to the WHO Director asserting the “Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before.”
“Despite these concerns, and the fact that there still remains much about the Zika virus that deserves study, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued only Level Two travel alerts, which advise travelers only to ‘practice enhanced precautions.’ It has not issued any Level Three warnings to ‘avoid nonessential travel,’ as it did with the Ebola virus in West Africa.”
U.S. residents need their government to provide accurate information about the potential risks of travelling to countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Martinique, Honduras and others with high levels of the Zika virus.
Today’s letter can be found HERE. Read More