Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the organizers for the 4th International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans, which will take place in Washington, DC, June 4-8.  The Symposium is an intense mix of science and the policies likely to become increasingly dependent on the knowledge developed and presented.  From energy to sustainable fishing to warm water “blobs” to polar transit and national security these issues impact everyone and everything.  If you need a correspondent or someone to work with your team please let me know; more about the agenda for further Updates.
*  The Coast Guard announced last week its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze impacts of six new polar icebreakers, part of the CG’s Polar Icebreaker Program.  This starts the public “scoping process,” the effort to determine the full range of issues to include in the EIS.  Potential environmental stressors include acoustic (underwater acoustic transmissions, vessel noise, icebreaking noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise), and physical (vessel movement, aircraft or in-air device movement, in-water device movement, icebreaking, and marine expended materials).  Polar regions are becoming increasingly important to U.S. national interests. Changing polar environments could lead to increased commercial ship, cruise ship, and naval surface ship operations, as well as increased exploration for oil and other resources, particularly in the Arctic.  Homeport will likely be Seattle.  Public meetings will be held in May in Alaska.  Written comments are due by June 25.
*  The Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board meets for two days in mid-May in Baltimore.  The Board provides independent advice to the government on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international satellite navigation services.  Currently, there are 25 members representing U.S. industry, academia, and international organizations.  The meeting agenda includes an update on U.S. Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Policy and Global Positioning System (GPS) modernization; current and planned GPS capabilities and services while assessing future PNT architecture alternatives with a focus on affordability; and emerging trends and requirements for PNT services, including backup services for terrestrial, maritime, aviation, and space users.
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