[govinfo] GovInfo News -- 12-19-06

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 13:18:30 -0500

- Fee-for-service taking hold for e-gov: OMB
- Federal Biologist Faces Firing For Emailing Environmentalists
- Bush Signs India Nuke Bill, Sort Of
- NASA Launches Google Collaboration

Patrice McDermott, Director
202-332-OPEN (6736)


12/18/06 -- 04:31 PM
By Jason Miller,

The Office of Management and Budget today released a report 
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/egov/documents/expanding_egov_2006.pdf > 
detailing agency progress and regression in implementing and institutionalizing 
the tenets of e-government.
Since 2004, OMB said, agency contributions have decreased from $244 million to 
$156 million, which is what is expected for 2007 if Congress passes the eight 
remaining agency spending bills. Meanwhile, the fee-for-service model is 
expected to increase to $300 million in 2007 from $91 million in 2005.

"As the agencies complete their milestones and become operational, the 
initiatives continue moving toward a fee-for-service model-thereby eliminating 
the need for direct agency funding for specific initiatives," said Karen Evans, 
OMB's administrator for e-government and IT in the report.


Reclamation Cites "Subversive" Behavior in Revealing Agency Misdeeds


[PEER News Release] Washington, DC - The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has 
proposed to fire a biologist after finding emails he had sent to 
environmentalists and to other agencies, according to documents released today 
by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In its letter of 
proposed termination, the agency alleged the "subversive" activity of 
communicating with "environmental organizations which are opposed to 
Reclamation generally and adversarial in nature" justifies immediate removal.

Charles (Rex) Wahl, a GS-12 Environmental Specialist, has been on paid 
administrative leave for the past three months while the agency continues to 
ponder his fate. Shortly after Wahl was notified of his proposed firing on 
September 18th, the Bureau of Reclamation also dismissed his wife Cherie from a 
temporary clerk-typist position.

Ironically, Wahl's main duty in Reclamation's Yuma Area Office was to keep 
stakeholders, including environmentalists, abreast of agency "actions and 
initiatives" as required under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In 
addition to his contact with environmentalists, Wahl is also charged with 
revealing "administratively controlled information" to other federal agencies.
Wahl's disclosures concern an array of proposed Reclamation projects on the 
Lower Colorado River. He also revealed that Reclamation had falsified material 
in a permit it submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, Wahl 
suggested to environmentalists that they obtain certain agency reports through 
the Freedom of Information Act.



By Ken Herman | Monday, December 18, 2006, 06:06 PM
Window on Washington News Blog

President Bush today signed into law the landmark measure allowing U.S. 
companies to sell nuclear technology to India for civilian use purposes.

But the signature came with a "signing statement," a format the Bush 
administration often uses to try to make sure laws will be interpreted the way 
the president wants them interpreted.

Bush used a signing statement today to note his unspecified exceptions to a 
section of the bill he said "purports to establish U.S. policy with respect to 
various international affairs matters."

"My approval of the act does not constitute my adoption of the statements of 
policy as U.S. foreign policy. Given the Constitution's commitment to the 
presidency of the authority to conduct the nation's foreign affairs, the 
executive branch shall construe such policy statements as advisory," Bush said 
in the statement.

The signing statement also addresses a portion of the measure that Bush said 
could be construed to bar him from approving the transfer of nuclear material 
to India if the transfer would violate guidelines set by the Nuclear Suppliers 
Group. That section also will be deemed "advisory," and not binding, Bush said.


- NASA LAUNCHES GOOGLE COLLABORATION --Web Giant Will Make Images From Space 
Agency's Missions Accessible to Public
Gov Exec http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1206/121806tdpm2.htm ; FCW "Google 
Mars, anyone?" http://www.fcw.com/article97149-12-18-06-Web ; and GCN 
Washington Post Staff Writer
By Marc Kaufman

Tuesday, December 19, 2006; A27

NASA, seeking to give the public easy access to its massive trove of images and 
data about Earth and outer space, has entered into a formal agreement with 
Google to post material from the agency's many missions on the Internet. As the 
technology improves and the collaboration grows, officials said, viewers could 
one day be treated to live video from the moon, Mars and elsewhere.
The agreement was announced at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. 
Google had previously announced plans to build a 1 million-square-foot facility 
at the research park. But while Google will be the first major online 
collaborator with NASA, the agency said that the images are not exclusive and 
that it is working on similar projects with other Internet portals. [underline 

"NASA has collected and processed more information about our planet and 
universe than any other entity in the history of humanity," said Chris C. Kemp, 
director of strategic business development at Ames. "Even though this 
information was collected for the benefit of everyone, and much is in the 
public domain, the vast majority of this information is scattered and difficult 
for non-experts to access and to understand."
Under the arrangement, Ames will provide Google with its weather forecasting 
information, three-dimensional maps of the moon and Mars, and real-time 
tracking of the international space station and space shuttle flights. It is 
the kind of public-private cooperation encouraged by the National Aeronautics 
and Space Act, NASA officials said.

Ames chief S. Pete Wardon said that NASA has also converted video from the 
Apollo missions to the moon into digital form, and in the future those images 
could also be available for viewing online.
Under the agreement, he said, Google will use NASA images on its Google Earth 
Web site and will financially support some related projects at the agency. He 
said some collaborations are already under way -- in particular, a 
global-imaging project called the Global Connection, with National Geographic 
magazine and Carnegie Mellon University -- and more will begin in the next six 
"The data already exists, from dozens of human and robotic missions," Wardon 
said. "The taxpayers have already paid for the data, and it should be 



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