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The Commerce Blog

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)

Climate Effects of Atmospheric Haze Better Understood, NOAA Researchers Report

Image of hazy sky at sunset. Click for larger image.

Scientists have used a new approach to sharpen the understanding of one of the most uncertain of mankind’s influences on climate—the effects of atmospheric “haze,” the tiny airborne particles from pollution, biomass burning, and other sources. The new observations-based study led by Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms that the particles (“aerosols”) have the net effect of cooling the planet—in agreement with previous understanding—but arrives at the answer in a completely new way that is more straightforward, and has narrowed the uncertainties of the estimate. (More)

Secretary Locke Joins Virginia First Lady Holton and Richmond Mayor Jones to Promote Department of Education Initiative

Students and officials watch President's broadcast speech. Click for larger image.

As children across America went back to school today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, joined by First Lady of Virginia, Anne Holton and Mayor Dwight C. Jones, visited the Linwood Holton Elementary School in Richmond, Va., to participate in “We Are What We Learn,” a U.S. Department of Education initiative launched to challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. Locke, Holton and Jones joined students to watch a live broadcast of President Obama’s national education address. (Video of President’s Address) (Remarks)

NOAA Administrator Lubchenco, Head of U.S. Delegation, Concludes World Climate Conference-3 in Geneva, Delivers Closing Statement

Lubchenco on podium. Click for larger image.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator, led a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, Aug. 31-Sept. 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change (Closing Delegation Statement) (Sept. 3 Lubchenco Statement)

Labor Day 2009 Stats from the Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing a “Labor Day” on one day or another, and Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the many statistics associated with the annual observance of Labor Day. (More)

NIST Deploys Experts to Assist In California Fires

Image of tree and house afire. Click for larger image.

File photo

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has sent two experts to California to assist in collecting data on structural fire damage in the ongoing Los Angeles Basin fires, also known as the “Station” fire. This fire is a Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire, a type that is growing more prevalent as housing developments push into former wilderness areas. Fire researchers are working to understand WUI fire behavior and the effectiveness of current strategies for best reducing risks from such fires. (More)

Secretary Locke Discusses Goals for a Clean Energy Economy with Governors Granholm and Doyle

Locke and participants at clean energy forum. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Executive Director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers Ed Montgomery, and Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow joined Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) and Jim Doyle (D-Wisc.) in hosting a Clean Energy Economy Forum with local and regional stakeholders in Saginaw, Mich. The group discussed the administration’s vision for a comprehensive energy plan to jump-start the American clean energy sector and create millions of new jobs developing technologies that will cut pollution while producing alternative sources of energy. (More)

Secretary Locke Talks Health Insurance Reform with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC's "Closing Bell"

Image of video screenshot. Click for interview.

CNBC Video

Secretary Gary Locke appeared on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” to talk about why health insurance reform is critical for American businesses. Continuing the discussion from his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week, Locke stressed that the status quo will prevent companies from growing, result in more Americans losing their health coverage and cripple the U.S. economy in the long term. Rising health care costs have put U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and contributed to flat wages, as more and more revenues are going toward the cost of health care. Reform is critical and will result in greater efficiency and smarter delivery of care, Locke said. (Video)