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Gretchen Goldman

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About the author: Gretchen Goldman is an analyst in the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS. Her current work looks at political and corporate interference in science policy. She holds a PhD and MS in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in atmospheric science from Cornell University. See Gretchen's full bio.

The EPA, Human Studies, and Getting the Science Right

A few months ago, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology took interest in a small piece of the tremendous amount of research—and funding of research—that EPA does on air pollution and its health effects. What were the lawmakers concerned about? Read More

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Second Chance: Will EPA’s New Ozone Standard Follow the Science?

This week the EPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) meets to discuss the science behind the national air pollution standard for ozone. The independent committee, which is comprised of air pollution and public health experts from a variety of institutions outside of the EPA, meets regularly to discuss the science on air pollution and health and to make recommendations to EPA on its air pollution rules. But this meeting in particular has greater interest from scientists, industry, and the public. Read More

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CVS, Tobacco, and Aligning Companies’ Actions with Their Sustainability Brands on Climate Change

This week I am at the GreenBiz Conference, an annual meeting of leaders in sustainable business, many from the world’s top companies. One of the discussion topics that keeps coming up is values—specifically, the need to align company operations with their corporate values around sustainability. But what does this mean in practice? Read More

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Alabama Scientists Drive 900 Miles to Fill Information Gaps in West Virginia Water Crisis

In the early morning hours of January 16th, environmental engineering assistant professor Andrew Whelton and his research team left their University of South Alabama laboratory and drove 873 miles north. The team of researchers, including graduate students Matt Connell, Jeff Gill, Keven Kelly, and LaKia McMillan and environmental engineering professor Kevin White carried with them a van full of equipment to test drinking water for West Virginia residents affected by the January 9 chemical spill. Read More

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Is the Water Safe? The West Virginia Chemical Spill and the Importance of Scientists’ Speaking to the Media

When news broke last week that West Virginia’s Elk River had been contaminated with the coal-processing chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), attention quickly turned to the scientists who could help the public understand what was at stake. With the spill just upstream of a treatment plant supplying water to 300,000 West Virginians, the questions were pressing: What was known about MCHM? Is my health and that of my family and pets at risk? Should I worry about the odor? These questions and many more arose from citizens, reporters, and decision makers. But as the event unfolded, we saw that scientists weren’t always given a chance to answer them. Read More

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Companies, Trade Groups, and Climate Change: Why We Need an SEC Rule on Corporate Political Disclosure

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. But the decision–which opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate political spending–isn’t just of interest to political and legal scholars. If you care about science-based policy, you also have a dog in this fight. Read More

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New UCS Report: Companies Can Anonymously Influence Climate Policy Through Their Business and Trade Associations

Today we release our new report, Tricks of the Trade: How Companies Influence Climate Policy Through Business and Trade Associations. In the report we found that many companies choose not to be transparent about their affiliations with trade and business associations, even when the information is publicly available. In addition, we found that when companies did choose to disclose their trade group board seats, many claimed to disagree with their associations’ positions on climate change, raising questions about who trade groups are actually representing on climate policy. Read More

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A Family History and a Nation’s Future Part 2: What 1896 Teaches Us About Democracy, Science, and Fair Elections

A few years ago, my grandmother gave me a gift. It was a hand-me-down, but a unique one. She gave me an original absentee ballot from the 1896 presidential election. I was excited not only that the 100-year-old document was still intact but also that it was from the 1896 election in particular—an important election in the history of our republic, but not just because of who won the presidency. Read More

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In Science and Democracy We Trust: A Family History and a Nation’s Future

Like many Americans, I spend the winter holidays with my family. I can trace my family history back many generations of Americans and this year I revisited some of that family history. Paging through scrapbooks with newspaper clippings and documents more than a hundred years old, I wondered what my ancestors might have hoped for when they came to this country. There is no doubt that what brought them here was the same as what brought so many others: The hope of a government of the people, by the people, for the people; and the hope of a place where innovation thrived and scientific progress was made. But how would our ancestors judge the government we have today? Read More

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How Disclosure Changed a Conversation on Fracking (And Why that Matters)

Last week, I moderated a session on fracking at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The event went as we planned with seven speakers presenting their work on unconventional oil and gas development, but after the formal talks when we opened a panel discussion with questions from the audience, something unexpected happened. Read More

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