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Daily Archives: September 12, 2015

Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies

CRS – Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies. Francis X. McCarthy, Analyst in Emergency Management Policy; Jared T. Brown, Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy. May 19, 2015.
“The principles of disaster management assume a leadership role by the local, tribal, and state governments with the federal government providing coordinated supplemental resources and assistance, if requested and approved. The immediate response to a disaster is guided by the National Response Framework (NRF), which details roles and responsibilities at various levels of government, along with cooperation from the private and nonprofit sectors, for differing incidents and support functions. A declaration of a major disaster or emergency under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, as amended, must, in almost all cases, be requested by the governor of a state or the chief executive of an affected Indian tribal government, who at that point has declared that the situation is beyond the capacity of the state or tribe to respond. The governor/chief also determines which parts of the state/tribal territory they will request assistance for and suggests the types of assistance programs that may be needed. The President considers the request, in consultation with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and makes the initial decisions on the areas to be included as well as the programs that are implemented. The majority of federal aid is made available from FEMA under the authority of the Stafford Act. In addition to that assistance, other disaster aid is made available, in some instances, through programs of the Small Business Administration (which provides disaster loans to both businesses and homeowners), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (in the form of Community Development Block Grant funds being made available for unmet disaster needs). While the disaster response and recovery process is fundamentally a relationship between the federal government and the requesting state or tribal government, there are roles for congressional offices to play in providing information to the federal response and recovery teams in their respective states and districts. Congressional offices also serve as a valuable source of accurate and timely information to their constituents.”

GAO Report – Hazardous Waste Cleanup

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Numbers of Contaminated Federal Sites, Estimated Costs, and EPA’s Oversight Role, GAO-15-830T: Published: Sep 11, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 2015. “he Departments of Agriculture (USDA), the Interior, Defense (DOD), and Energy (DOE) have identified thousands of contaminated and potentially contaminated sites on land they manage but do not have a complete… Continue Reading

GPO to issue RFP for archival digitization of Federal Register

Via FedBizOpps: “The Library of Congress intends to issue a request for proposal (RFP) on or about October 1, 2015 for the provision of preservation digitization services adhering to federal agency digitization guidelines on behalf of FEDLINK customer, U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO / GPOV). Scope. GPO is undertaking an effort to digitize Federal Register… Continue Reading

Pew Survey – Americans believe GMOs unsafe

“The debate over the safety of genetically modified foods has put state lawmakers who favor requiring labeling of these products at odds with counterparts in Congress who oppose it. Americans’ concerns about GM foods are providing the backdrop: A majority of them believe such foods are generally unsafe to eat.The House last month passed a… Continue Reading

EFF Provides Evidence to Courts on Telecoms Collection of Metadata

“This week EFF presented evidence in two of its NSA cases confirming the participation of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T in the NSA’s mass telephone records collection under the Patriot Act.  This is important because, despite broad public acknowledgement, the government is still claiming that it can dismiss our cases because it has never confirmed… Continue Reading

Which Colleges Help Poor Students Most?

ProPublica study – Debt by Degrees Which Colleges Help Poor Students Most? by Sisi Wei and Annie Waldman, ProPublica, Sept. 12, 2015 “New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows in unprecedented detail how much federal student loan debt college students from low-income families are being saddled with. Use this interactive database to search… Continue Reading