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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Breaks Ground on Major San Diego-Area Recovery Act Project

Shown with shovels in their hands: NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Directo Director Tony Haymet, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, NOAA Chief of Staff Margaret Spring. Click for larger image.

Photo: Robert Monroe/Scripps

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Mayor Jerry Sanders led a groundbreaking ceremony in La Jolla, Calif., for two new buildings dedicated to ocean science on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The project is a major groundbreaking in California under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The buildings are supported by two federal agencies—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—and will feature state-of-the-art marine life tanks and cutting-edge science labs. (More) (Remarks)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on August 2009 Retail Sales

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for August 2009.Retail sales rose 2.7 percent in August, well above the increase of 2.0 percent private analysts had expected. Motor vehicle sales jumped 10.6 percent, while sales excluding motor vehicles increased 1.1 percent, and sales excluding motor vehicles and gasoline rose 0.6 percent. These data come after four straight quarterly declines in retail sales. (Statement) (Census Release)

NIST Submits Master Plan for Gaithersburg Campus

View of Gaithersburg campus. Click for larger image.

Courtesy HDR Architecture, Inc./Steve Hall
© Hedrich Blessing

Planned and potential expansions and new facilities across campus, the addition of 400-500 kilowatts in power from solar panels, and increasing already-heavy employee use of alternative transportation to a daily rate of 40 percent are among the highlights of an updated Master Plan for the Gaithersburg, Md., campus of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST has delivered its plan to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the central planning agency for federal land and buildings in the National Capital Region. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Hirschhorn as Under Secretary for Industry and Security

Bueau of Industry and Security logo.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate attorney Eric Hirschhorn to be the Under Secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Hirschhorn is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Winston & Strawn LLP. "Eric Hirschhorn has a wealth of experience working with export controls and I look forward to having him onboard as we implement President Obama's vision to reform the export control system and increase competitiveness of U.S. companies by facilitating the sale of our goods while protecting national security," Locke said. (More) (White House press release)

USPTO to Hold Live Online Chat for Independent Inventors

Photo of inventors with large-screen monitor.

File Photo

Senior officials of the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be available live online Wednesday, September 16, 2009 from 2 to 3 p.m. (EDT). They will be answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the online chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO Web site at 10 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 p.m. The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to promote and protect America’s independent inventor community. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Gallagher as Director of NIST

Portrait of Patrick Gallagher.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate physicist Patrick Gallagher to be the 14th director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher, 46, is currently the NIST deputy director. “NIST is a unique agency with a strong culture of world-class scientific achievement,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Pat Gallagher has come up through the ranks and his continued leadership will be critical to an agency that is central to the nation’s ability to innovate and compete in global markets.” (More) (White House Press Release) (Bio)

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Secretary Locke Statement on Census Bureau Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Report

Portrait of Secretary Locke.

The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that real median household income in the United States fell 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, coinciding with the recession that began in December 2007. Additionally, the number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 202 million in 2007 to 201 million in 2008. (More) (Census Bureau Release) (Full Report-PDF)

Secretary Locke Statement on July 2009 Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the July 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2.2 percent to $127.6 billion since June 2009. Imports increased 4.7 percent to $159.6 billion. (More) (Fact Sheet)

New NIST Trace Explosives Standard Slated for Homeland Security Duty

Bottle of SRM 2905 seen under blue crime scene light and spot of tagged SRM on test paper. Click for larger image.

To aid in searches for explosive materials and persons who have been in contact with them, Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with support from the Department of Homeland Security, has developed a new certified reference material, Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2905, Trace Particulate Explosives. Compatible with field and laboratory assay methods, the SRM will be helpful in calibrating, testing and developing standard best operating procedures for trace-explosives detectors. (More)

Deputy Secretary Hightower: 'Keep Trade Flowing Freely and Fairly Across Our Borders'

Portrait of Deputy Secretary Hightower.

In his first public speech as Deputy Secretary of Commerce to the Trade North America Conference in Detroit, Dennis F. Hightower identified four key trade priorities of the Commerce Department: visa reform, export controls review, intellectual property protection, and intergovernmental cooperation and trade promotion. Hightower also emphasized the need for enforcement of existing trade agreements among the three countries to ensure free and fair trade across the Canadian and Mexican borders, and to resist any impulses toward protectionism. (Remarks)