In this issue:
ADVANCE YOUR CAREER AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! APPLY FOR AN ASME
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FELLOWSHIP!
ASME is currently accepting applications for participation in its Federal Government Fellowship Program through which ASME members provide engineering and technical expertise to policy-makers in Congress (Congressional Fellowships) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (ASME Foundation “Swanson” Fellowship). Federal Fellows provide a valuable public service to the nation while at the same time providing engineers with a unique opportunity to participate directly in the public policy making process.
Persons interested in serving as a 2011-2012 Congressional Fellow would spend one year in Washington, DC working with the staff of a congressional committee, U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative. Congressional Fellowships are designed to demonstrate the value of engineering-government interaction, bring technical backgrounds and external perspectives to the decision making process in Congress and provide a unique public policy learning experience to the Fellow. Because of the limited number of Congressional Fellowships available, the process is very competitive. The following credentials are encouraged: at least five years of professional experience; an advanced engineering degree; professional engineer registration; and, some public policy experience.
The ASME Foundation “Swanson” Fellowship was established in 2010 in recognition of Dr. John A. Swanson, an internationally recognized authority and innovator in the application of finite element methods to engineering. The Swanson Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for an experienced engineer to serve as a Federal Fellow in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where her/his broad, multi-disciplinary background would be applied to finding solutions to technical issues. The Swanson Fellow will confer with public policy professionals to make practical contributions on the most effective use of engineering in federal decision making. Swanson Fellow applicants should be established engineering researchers/practitioners with an advanced degree in engineering plus approximately ten years of R&D product development experience in an academic setting or in industry. Entrepreneurial experience, R&D commercialization and some understanding of working with federal agencies are also desirable.
ASME Fellows will be awarded a stipend of $60,000 for the one year Fellowship.
ASME Federal Fellows typically serve from September through August, but a January through December term is sometimes an option. Applications are accepted annually from December 1st through March 31st. All Fellows must be U.S. citizens and ASME members at the time of application. Federal employees are not eligible.
To apply for the Congressional Fellowship or the Swanson Fellowship, fill out the online application at: https://secure.asme.org/fedgovfellows/appform.cfm
and provide the requested materials. The application deadline is March 31, 2011.
For additional information about the ASME
Federal Government Fellowship Program
or contact Kathryn Holmes, Director,
ASME Government Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org
ADMINISTRATION DELAYS INTRODUCTION OF 2012 BUDGET BY ONE WEEK
The Obama Administration announced recently that its proposed fiscal year (FY) 2012 federal budget request, traditionally unveiled the first Monday of February, will be delayed by one week to the week of February 14th. Publicly, the Administration attributed the delay to the recent confirmation of Jacob Lew to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The confirmation of Lew, who previously served as OMB Director in the Clinton Administration, was delayed by six weeks because a hold placed on the nominee by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Senator Landrieu’s hold was primarily related to the Obama Administration’s six-month moratorium on offshore drilling put into place after last spring’s Gulf Horizon oil spill, and not directly to Mr. Lew himself.
While the federal budget request outlines the Administration’s domestic priorities for the fiscal year, it must be approved by Congress before it can become law. Emboldened by the turnover in Congress from the recent election, new Congressional leaders in the House of Representatives have called for a reduction in the FY 2012 federal budget by $100 billion, which would bring the discretionary budget back down to FY 2008 levels, and, likely, translate into substantial cuts for science and engineering programs.
As soon as more information becomes available about the date of the FY 2012 budget request’s release, it will be reported in subsequent issues of Capitol Update.
For more information on the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request,
please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Overview/
EPA ISSUES NEXT ROUND GHG LIMITS FOR POWER PLANTS AND REFINERIES
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards under the Clean Air Act for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries, which are the industrial sources which emit nearly 40 percent of the GHG emissions in the U.S.
“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.”
Under the existing authority of the “Clean Air Act,” the EPA issued an endangerment finding against carbon dioxide in 2009, and announced a gradual phase-in of pollution limits for “stationary sources” of carbon emissions, often referred to as the “tailoring rule.” Several states, local governments and environmental organizations had recently filed suit against the EPA over the agency’s failure to update the pollution standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries. Under the new agreement, EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011 and will issue final standards in May 2012 and November 2012, respectively. Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been incensed by the agency’s finding and timetable. Incoming Chairman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-MI) has called on his colleagues to band together to revoke the EPA’s authority to limit GHGs until all lawsuits against the EPA have been decided. Earlier this year, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a resolution that would deny the EPA the authority to regulate carbon dioxide that was defeated. Also this year, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) also introduced a bill that would delay the EPA’s implementation of the “tailoring rule” for two years to allow Congress to legislate a more palatable solution, at least in the eyes of its supporters. The measure was not brought to the floor for a vote prior to the Senate’s adjournment.
EPA will accept public comment on these two agreements for 30 days following the publication of notice in the Federal Register. Additional information on the agreements is available at: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/ghgsettlement.html
On a related topic, effective January 2nd, developers of new power plants, refineries and other high-emitting industrial sources are required to have permits showing that they are using the best available technology to limit their GHG emissions. Emissions from small sources, such as farms and restaurants, are not covered by these GHG permitting requirements.
For more information about the aforementioned permits, go to: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html#dec10
Robert Rains handles public policy-related environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
DOE TO OFFER $74 MILLION FOR FUEL CELL R&D PROJECTS
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that it is now accepting applications for a total of up to $74 million to support the research and development (R&D) of fuel cells for stationary and transportation applications. The solicitations include up to $65 million over three years to fund R&D on fuel cell components, such as catalysts and membrane electrode assemblies, with the goal of reducing costs, improving durability and increasing the efficiency of fuel cell systems. The funding also includes up to $9 million to conduct independent cost analyses that will assess the progress of the technology under current research initiatives and help guide future fuel cell and hydrogen storage R&D efforts.
"The investments we're making today will help advance fuel cell technology in the United States," said DOE Secretary Steven Chu. "This is part of a broad effort to create American jobs, reduce carbon pollution and help ensure the U.S. stays competitive in the growing clean energy economy."
Vehicle fuel cells were the darling of the Bush Administration’s energy technology development portfolio. Secretary Chu sought to eliminate the fuel cell program in FY 2009, only to have Congress appropriate $168 million for it to continue under the umbrella of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The current Administration has continued to fund research into stationary fuel cells, as well as transportation.
Applications for the $65 million research and development program are due by March 3, 2011. Applications for the cost analysis solicitation are due on February 18, 2011. Funding for both programs is subject to Congressional appropriations.
More information and application requirements and instructions can be found at: https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/?doc=DE-FOA-0000360&agency=DOE
For more information on the Fuel Cell Technologies Program, visit www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/
Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ROUND OF NIST-ARRA FELLOWSHIPS ANNOUNCED
The National Institute of Standards and Technology's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (NIST-ARRA) Measurement Science and Engineering Fellowship Program has announced its third round of applications for undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and senior research positions.
Administered by the University of Maryland, NIST-ARRA fellowships provide financial assistance to increase the number of research and collaboration opportunities at NIST in the fields of measurement science and engineering, furthering the agency's mission to advance innovation. Fellows will work on projects with NIST scientists and engineers engaged in research programs housed at NIST's Gaithersburg, MD campus and the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, SC.
Fellowship opportunities range from part-time and summer fellowships for undergraduates to full-time opportunities for graduate students and positions for postdoctoral fellows or practicing scientists and engineers. The deadline for this round of applications is January 15, 2011. To learn more about the program and get instructions on how to apply, please visit: http://www.nistfellows.umd.edu/
Robert Rains handles public policy-related NIST issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
NASA SELECTS UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND TO HELP BUILD SCIENCE CAREERS
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corp. of Falls Church, VA, to administer a $1 million career development and educational program designed to address the critical shortage of U.S. minority students in science and engineering fields.
The NASA Astrobiology Institute's (NAI) Minority Institution Research Support (MIRS) program in Moffett Field, CA, is providing the funding for the four-year effort. The program will provide opportunities for up to four faculty members and eight students from minority-serving institutions to partner with astrobiology investigators.
"Providing new education opportunities for minority students will both enrich lives and answer a critical need for proficiency in science and engineering," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "But just as importantly, the program is an investment to cultivate imaginative thinking about the field of astrobiology."
The United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corp. will use its database of 14,000 registrants to develop an online community to provide webinars, virtual training and videoconferences, and provide outreach and recruitment for program participants. The program's objective is to engage more teachers from under-represented schools in astrobiology research and increase the number of students pursuing careers in astrobiology.
Founded in 1998, NAI is a partnership between NASA, 14 U.S. teams of universities and other organizations, and seven international consortia.
For information about the NASA Astrobiology Institute, visit
Paul Fakes handles public policy-related NASA issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Carl handles public policy-related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce issues for ASME. She can be reached at: email@example.com
THE ARTICLES CONTAINED IN CAPITOL UPDATE ARE NOT POSITIONS OF ASME OR ANY OF ITS SUB-ENTITIES, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY NOTED AS SUCH. THIS PUBLICATION IS DESIGNED TO INFORM ASME MEMBERS ABOUT ISSUES OF CONCERN BEING DEBATED AND DISCUSSED IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, IN THE STATES, AND IN THE FEDERAL AGENCIES.
EDITOR: Mary James Legatski, ASME Government Relations, 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 906, Washington, DC 20036-5104.