CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2489 on Monday, October 26, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 2489 was introduced on May 15, 2009, by Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, by unanimous consent, on September 30, 2009.
H.R. 2489 would authorize $100 million over the FY 2010 through 2019 for the Department of Interior to establish a new national land remote sensing outreach program within the U.S. Geological Survey. According to the legislation, the program's mission would be to "advance the availability, timely distribution, and widespread use of geospatial imagery for education, research, assessment, and monitoring purposes in each State and the lands of an Indian tribe."
H.R. 2489 would require the Secretary of Interior to:
• Support geospatial imagery sharing, and educational programs of each participating State and Indian tribe.
• Identify new geospatial imagery needs and infrastructure.
• Share and cooperate in the development of geospatial imagery applications in each participating State and Indian tribe.
• Cooperate with participating States and Indian tribes to encourage the expansion of geospatial imagery mapping courses at educational institutions.
• Encourage expansion of the knowledge and use of geospatial imagery products in the workforce.
• Encourage participating States and Indian tribes to build partnerships with local governments to identify unique research and development needs and geospatial imagery application pilot programs.
• Promote cooperation and sharing of expertise regarding geospatial imagery applications among participating States and Indian tribes.
• Provide a mechanism to enable the States and Indian tribes to transfer geospatial imagery and applications to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The bill authorizes the Secretary to provide grants to educational institutions, or to State, local, and tribal governments to carry out these requirements. The legislation would require grant recipients to provide matching funds and prohibits the federal share of any program from exceeding 75 percent. However, the Secretary would be authorized to waive the matching funds requirement if "the Secretary determines that the grantee has made a good faith effort to obtain the non-Federal contribution at the local level but is unable to do so." The program would sunset 10 years after enactment.
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), "Geospatial information is data referenced to a place--a set of geographic coordinates-which can often be gathered, manipulated, and displayed in real time." Google Earth and dashboard navigation systems are examples of two commercially popular uses of geospatial technology. Since 1998, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has participated in a program known as AmericaView. The program "focuses on satellite remote sensing data and technologies in support of applied research, K-16 education, workforce development, and technology transfer." The program is a partnership of the USGS and participating colleges and universities. According to Committee Report 111-309, AmericaView has programs operating in 36 States. While AmericaView has never been formally authorized, the project received roughly $3 million annually from FY 1998 through 2006, and approximately $1 million annually from FY 2007 through 2009. H.R. 2489 would formally authorize the program and raise the authorized appropriations limit to $10 million a year.
H.R. 2489 would authorize $10 million annually from FY 2010 through FY 2019. According to CBO, H.R. 2489 would "cost about $46 million over the 2010-2014 period."