This site contains information from January 2009-December 2014. Click HERE to go the CURRENT website.

Blog Entries from June 2009

Secretary Locke Announces $167 Million in Recovery Act Funding for 50 Coastal Restoration Projects

Workers and Lubchenco pose in front of earthmoving equipment. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 50 habitat restoration projects that will restore damaged wetlands, shellfish beds, coral reefs and reopen fish passages that boost the health and resiliency of our nation’s coastal and Great Lakes communities. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was provided $167 million for marine and coastal habitat restoration. "These Recovery Act projects will put Americans to work while restoring our coasts and combating climate change,” Locke said. (More)

Census Bureau Opens First 2010 Census Data Capture Center

Acting Census Bureau Director Thomas Mesenbourg (third from left) is shown with ceremonial scissors. Also shown (L to R) are Ken Asbury of Lockheed Martin, James Sheaffer of CSC, and Rick Ruiz of Lockheed Martin. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau opened one of three data capture centers that will process the 2010 Census questionnaires as they are mailed back by households across the nation. The 236,500-square-foot facility will bring more than 2,500 jobs to Baltimore County, Md. “Processing the 2010 Census questionnaires accurately and safely at the data capture centers is a crucial step to a successful census,” said Census Bureau Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg.“The data from each form processed at the facility will help provide a complete count of the nation's population and a new portrait of America.” (More) (2010 Census Web site)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Colombian President Uribe

Locke and Uribe shake hands across the conference table. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between President Uribe and Secretary Locke. Locke and Uribe discussed the importance of trade and commercial relations between the United States and the Republic of Colombia and the strides Colombia has made in improving security conditions, reducing violence and enhancing economic opportunities for its citizens under President Uribe’s leadership and the need for continued progress in these areas. (More)

Nanosoccer Robots Ready to Compete in Upcoming RoboCup Games

YouTube video clip of nanosoccer. Click to view 2008 video.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be serving up “soccer under glass”—the glass of a microscope lens—when nanosoccer makes its second appearance at the RoboCup games at the international competition in Graz, Austria, from June 29 to July 5, 2009. Nanosoccer is a Lilliputian event where computer-driven “nanobots” the size of dust mites challenge one another on fields no bigger than a grain of rice. Viewed under a microscope, the nanobots are operated by remote control and move in response to changing magnetic fields or electrical signals transmitted across the microsized arena. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Urges NALEO Officials to Make Your Voices Heard

United States Census 2010 logo. Click to go to Web site.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Blank urged attendees of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) annual conference to help facilitate “equal access so everyone will participate in the 2010 Census.” “The Census is at the core of our democracy. It is not partisan, it is American—and it belongs to everyone living in America. It is about opportunity, equality and full representation, regardless of economic status, race or ethnic origin, “ Blank said at the annual conference entitled “Latinos and Census 2010: On the Brink of the Count.” (More) (NPR-Blank Interview)

NOAA Observes Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Advises 'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!'

Image of jagged lightning bolts. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is sponsoring National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, to help the public learn how to recognize and avoid the dangers of lightning. Violent summer storms can form quickly and stretch for hundreds of miles and can produce deadly lightning capable of striking up to 10 miles away. Each year in the United States more than 400 people are struck by lightning. “Lightning is extremely dangerous,” says John Jensenius, National Weather Service lightning safety expert. “The best advice is, ‘When thunder roars, go indoors.’” (More) (Lightning Safety Brochure-PDF)

Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke Announce Expansion of Manufacturing Initiative in Ohio

Ohio Gov. Strickland, Vice President Biden, Secretary Locke seated at table. Click for larger image.

White House Photo

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the expansion of the National Innovation Marketplace program, an initiative that will help revitalize supply chains and equip manufacturers to use emerging technology and find new market opportunities. Locke joined Biden, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and Auto Recovery Director Ed Montgomery at the vice president’s fifth meeting of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to innovation in American manufacturing. (More) (White House Press Release) (Middle Class Task Force Web Site)

Census Bureau Reports World's Older Population Projected to Triple by 2050

Census Bureau seal.

The world's 65-and-older population is projected to triple by midcentury, from 516 million in 2009 to 1.53 billion in 2050, according to the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau. In contrast, the population under 15 is expected to increase by only 6 percent during the same period, from 1.83 billion to 1.93 billion. These figures come from the world population estimates and projections released today through the Census Bureau's International Data Base. This latest update includes projections by age, including people 100 and older, for 227 countries and areas. (More)

Secretary Locke Kicks Off President Obama's 'United We Serve' Initiative with Visit to Homeless Shelter

Secretary Locke is shown reading to children with Rep. Harry Mitchell. Photo courtesy Tracy Hayes. Click for larger image.

Photo courtesy Tracy Hayes, A New Leaf

In an effort to inspire Americans to serve their communities, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited a homeless shelter in Mesa, Ariz. as part of the President’s summer service initiative, ‘United We Serve,’ focusing on four key areas: energy and the environment, health care, education and community renewal. Locke joined other senior officials in the Obama administration, including fellow Cabinet members and the First Lady, who participated in service projects on Monday in communities across the country. Locke is shown with Ariz. Rep. Harry E. Mitchell, reading to children at the shelter. The initiative will continue through the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11th. (President Obama’s Video on ‘United We Serve’)

NOAA Forecasts Predicts large "Dead Zone" for Gulf of Mexico this Summer

Image of mouth of Mississippi River showing nutrient run-off. Click for data visualization.

A team of NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University, and the University of Michigan is forecasting that the “dead zone” off the coast of Louisiana and Texas in the Gulf of Mexico this summer could be one of the largest on record. The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where seasonal oxygen levels drop too low to support most life in bottom and near-bottom waters. The mouth of the Mississippi River (imaged here) is an example of how nutrient run-off creates plankton blooms. (More) (NOAA Visualization)

Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate David Kappos as Patent and Trademark Director

Photo of Kappos.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate David Kappos, an experienced patent professional with more than 20 years of experience, as the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). “The United States Patent and Trademark Office faces significant challenges, and it needs an experienced leader like David at the helm,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “He will be a strong voice for patent reform and I have tasked him to reduce dramatically the unacceptably long time the office takes to review patent applications.” (More)

NIST Releases Report on Smart Grid Development

NIST logo.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology today released for public review a report* that identifies issues and proposes priorities for developing technical standards and an architecture for a U.S. Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is a planned nationwide network that will use 21st century information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely, while allowing increased use of renewable power sources. The nearly 300-page report, developed and delivered to NIST by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is available on the NIST Smart Grid Web site. (More)

Locke Announces First Indian Company to Receive Express Lane Status for U.S.-Indian Trade

Secretary Locke speaking from podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced an important step forward in the strategic partnership between the United States and India during remarks to the U.S.-India Business Council’s 34th Anniversary “Synergies Summit.” General Electric India (GE India) has been tapped as the first Indian company to qualify as a validated end-user (VEU) in India, allowing the company to enter a pre-approved, export express lane as a trusted end user. That the VEU program was opened for India is an indication of the increased importance of the U.S.-India bilateral and commercial relationship. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Administration's New Initiative to Aid American Businesses

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a new Obama Administration initiative designed to streamline government bureaucracy and bring services and solutions directly to businesses and entrepreneurs creating and sustaining jobs. Locke made his announcement at the Detroit Economic Club’s National Summit. The new initiative will be launched this summer in the Detroit area. Responding both to President Obama’s call to make government more responsive and a once-in-a-generation economic crisis, Locke initiated the effort after seeing how complicated it can be to navigate the alphabet soup of Commerce agencies and programs. (More) (Remarks)

Report Released on National, Regional Impacts of Global Climate Change

Image of washed-out highway by flood waters. Click for larger image.

A new report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” compiles years of scientific research and takes into account new data not available during the preparation of previous large national and global assessments. It was produced by a consortium of experts from13 U.S. government science agencies and from several major universities and research institutes. A product of the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program, the definitive 190-page report, produced under NOAA’s leadership, is written in plain language to better inform members of the public and policymakers. (More) (Report Information)

Secretary Locke Meets with Korea's Minister of Knowledge Economy, Signs Memorandum of Understanding

Secretary Locke and Minister Lee are pictured signing document with U.S. and South Korean flags in background. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on commercial cooperation with Korea’s Minister of Knowledge Economy Mr. Lee Youn Ho at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between the Secretary and Minister Lee. Secretary Locke and Minister Lee confirmed the importance of further strengthening the U.S.-Korea commercial relationship and continuing to deepen cooperation on trade and investment issues. (More)

NIST Seeks Proposals for $20 Million Recovery Act Program

NIST seal. Click to go to NIST home page.

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that it is establishing a financial assistance program to help selected institutions develop and implement a NIST measurement science and engineering fellowship program. The new program is funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. "Measurement science and engineering research is critical to fostering innovation," NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher said. "This fellowship program will create jobs and promote long-term investments in the nation's science infrastructure, which is important for future economic prosperity." (More)

FCC and Commerce's NTIA Offer Continuing Consumer Assistance for DTV Transition

DTV Converter Box Coupon logo. Click to go to Web site.

As the nation concludes its transition to digital television today, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration will continue providing consumer assistance after the June 12 transition. TV converter box coupons will be available to consumers who apply until July 31, while supplies last. In addition, the FCC is offering assistance over the phone and free in-home installation for consumers in most areas.

One Day Until DTV Transition

On the eve of an historic technological transition to digital television, the focus for the two federal agencies managing the switch is on helping Americans who are at risk of losing their TV signals. The digital TV (DTV) transition began over two decades ago as engineers set an ambitious technological goal: moving broadcast television into the digital age. Efficient digital technology would provide consumers with a better picture and sound and more channels, while at the same time clearing valuable airwaves to meet the explosive demand for advanced wireless services, including first-responder radio. (More) (6-10 C-SPAN White House video and Transcript)

NIST, DOD, Intelligence Agencies Join Forces to Secure U.S. Cyber Infrastructure

Image of computer keyboard keys.

Photo: Shutterstock

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), the Intelligence Community (IC), and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS), has released the first installment of a three-year effort to build a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Historically, information systems at civilian agencies have operated under different security controls than military and intelligence information systems. This ongoing effort is consistent with President Obama’s call for “integrating all cybersecurity policies for the government” in his May 29 speech on securing the U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on May 2009 Retail Trade Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the May 2009 U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales. Today’s report showed that U.S. nominal retail sales rose 0.5% in May. Motor vehicle and parts sales also rose 0.5% in May. Gasoline sales increased 3.6%, partly reflecting the renewed rise in prices, while other sales edged up 0.1%. “Today’s numbers reflect improving consumer confidence. The Recovery Act is making life a little easier for families and businesses, and there are early signs of progress across the country. But May sales are still below their first-quarter average, reminding us of how difficult the economic environment remains.” (More) (Report)

NOAA: U.S. Contiguous States Temperature Warmer Than Average for May

Map of U.S. states. Click for larger image.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the May 2009 temperature for the contiguous United States was above the long-term average, based on records going back to 1895, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centerin Asheville, N.C. The average May temperature of 62.5 degrees F was 1.4 degrees F above the 20th century average. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in May averaged 3.22 inches, which is 0.35 inch above the 1901-2000 average. (More)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the April 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services that showed that U.S. exports decreased by 2.3 percent to $121.1 billion since March 2009. Imports decreased 1.4 percent to $150.3 billion. Overall, the trade deficit grew 2.2 percent during the same time period. “Today’s numbers remind us just how challenging the world economic environment is.That’s why it’s important we continue supporting American businesses by removing trade barriers and encouraging other countries to resist protectionist impulses.” (More)

Secretary Locke Hosts Meeting of U.S. Travel and Tourism Board

Secretary Locke (center) with participants. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted his first meeting with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). Board members presented their recommendations regarding airport congestion, travel facilitation and the economic sustainability of the travel and tourism industry. “At Commerce, we’re working closely on tourism development with trade associations, destinations, and industry leaders,” Locke said. “We are tracking the industry because of its importance to the U.S. economy and understand the stress it is currently experiencing. I look forward to working with the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to restore growth to this important sector.” (More)

NOAA Partners with National Science Foundation, Universities and Other Organizations in VORTEX2 Research Project

Image of large tornado touching the ground. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is engaged in the largest and most ambitious attempt to study tornadoes in history and will involve more than 100 scientists and 40 research vehicles. The project, Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment2 (VORTEX2 or V2) will last for five weeks in May and June. Scientists will sample the environments of supercell thunderstorms that form over much of the U.S. but are more common in the central Great Plains known as “tornado alley.” This collaborative, nationwide research effort is jointly funded by NOAA, the National Science Foundation, 10 universities, and three nonprofit organizations. (More)

Dr. Rebecca Blank Sworn In as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Top Advisor to Secretary Locke

Photo of Under Secretary Rebecca Blank being sworn in by Director of Executive Services Denise A. Yaaag.

Dr. Rebecca Blank was sworn in as the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs. Dr. Blank will oversee two of the nation’s preeminent statistical agencies: the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Affairs. She will also serve as the top economic advisor to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “In Dr. Blank we have the right person to handle a series of looming challenges,” Locke said. “She will help the Census Bureau conduct an accurate and complete count in the 2010 Census, and I’m relying on her to provide sound economic data and analysis to guide the nation through the worst economic crisis in 60 years.” (More) (Bio)

Secretary Locke Meets with Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Batbold

Secretary Lock And Minister Batbold seated in chairs by a fireplace. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Sukhbaatar Batbold at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between Minister Batbold and Secretary Locke. Secretary Locke and Minister Batbold pledged to continue to develop U.S.-Mongolian trade and economic relations."The Commerce Department looks forward to working with Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to further strengthen our commercial ties," Secretary Locke said. (More)

USPTO: Collegiate Inventors Competition Deadline Nears

Collegiate Inventors Competition logo.

The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a presenting sponsor of the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) reminds the public of the upcoming entry deadline. The CIC is a national competition designed to encourage college and graduate students to be active in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and creative invention. This prestigious challenge recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential to receive patent protection. Entries must be submitted on the official application form and be postmarked by June 16, 2009. (More)

Secretary Locke Urges Unprepared Consumers to Ensure At Least One Television is DTV-Ready for June 12 Switch

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke urged Americans who rely on over-the-air broadcasting–typically those who use older televisions with “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna–to take immediate action so that at least one television in their household continues working when the nationwide switch to digital television occurs one week from today. "With one week to go before the nation’s switch to digital broadcasting, I urge consumers who use an older television not on cable or satellite to take the necessary steps to ensure that they can continue receiving the news and information they rely on after June 12," Locke said. (More) (Apply for Coupon) (

NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers to Build Alaska Satellite Operations Facility

Illustration of COSPAS-SARSAT Symtem Overview. Click for larger image.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will construct a new NOAA satellite operations facility in Fairbanks, Alaska. The contract is valued at $11.7 million. NOAA will use $9 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and additional funding provided by the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 to complete this project. NOAA’s Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, will jointly manage the construction effort. (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim

Secretary Locke and Minister Lim shaking hands in front of their countries' flags. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between Minister Lim and Secretary Locke. Secretary Locke and Minister Lim expressed a commitment to strengthening an already robust bilateral commercial relationship, grounded in the extremely successful U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Since implementation of the FTA in January 2004, two-way trade between the United States and Singapore has increased 41 percent, with U.S. exports increasing nearly 74 percent over the same time period. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Grant to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Montana

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the State of Montana to capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide timber and wood businesses with the financing they need to become more competitive. This grant is the first awarded by the Commerce Department under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). (More) (

Secretary Locke Announces Availability of $27 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Help Midwestern Communities

AARA logo. Click to go to

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the availability of $27 million in grants for Midwestern communities. These grants, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), are available through the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The region targeted by the grants is coping with the downturn of the U.S. auto industry. The money will be available for communities and organizations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. (More) (Remarks) (

Internet Use Triples in Decade, Census Bureau Reports

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

New data from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau show that 62 percent of households reported using Internet access in the home in 2007, an increase from 18 percent in 1997. “These data give us a better understanding of who is using the Internet and from where,” said Thom File, a statistician with the Census Bureau. Among the states, Alaska and New Hampshire residents had among the highest rates of Internet use from any location (home, work or public access) for those 3 and older in 2007. Mississippi and West Virginia had among the lowest rates of Internet use at about 52 percent. (More)

NIST Delivers Updated Draft Standards for Electronic Voting Machines

Image of electronic voting machine.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) delivered to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) a draft revision to the 2005 federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) Version 1.0, specifying how electronic voting machines are built and tested. “The guidelines announced today are designed to further improve the quality and efficiency of the testing conducted on voting systems,” said John Wack, NIST voting team manager. “This enables improvements to be made sooner rather than later when the next full set of standards is finalized.” (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Mexico's Secretary of Economy Mateos

Secretary Mateos and Secretary Locke seated in front of fireplace talking. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between Secretary Ruiz and Secretary Locke.Secretary Locke and Secretary Ruiz highlighted the importance of our bilateral trade relationship and the need for continued cooperation in strengthening our competitiveness in the region and removing impediments to trade. (More)