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Gretchen Goldman

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About the author: Gretchen Goldman is a lead analyst in the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS. 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. Follow her on Twitter at @GretchenTG.

Ozone in Houston: Combatting Misinformation and Protecting Public Health

As I’ve been following, the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of updating the national ambient air quality standard for ozone pollution. The standard is likely to be strengthened below the current standard of 75 ppb, due to the compelling scientific evidence linking ozone to adverse health impacts at this concentration. The EPA has proposed a standard between 65 and 70 ppb, narrowing the range advised by its independent science committee of 60-70 ppb, and the agency will issue a final rule by October. Read More

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New Report Illuminates the American Chemistry Council’s Efforts to Undermine the Chemical Policies that Protect Us

I always assumed that if chemicals were in use, they were safe. As a child, I’d play in the grass despite pesticide warning signs and never thought about my water bottle’s material. If there was evidence that the chemicals were harmful, we wouldn’t be allowed to use them, right? This is, of course, how it should work. But the reality is that special interests can get in the way of public health protections when it comes to our chemical policies. My new report shows just how harmful that influence can be. Read More

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Why We Need an Executive Order on Political Spending: An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

You’ve had a great week. With the Affordable Care Act upheld and nationwide marriage equality now the law, you must feel like celebrating. But wait!  Why not carry this momentum and take another step that would increase the equality and well-being of Americans?  I’m talking about an executive order asking government contractors to disclose their political spending. Read More

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Is Fracking Safe Now? What the EPA’s Fracking and Drinking Water Study Really Says

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited (and heavily scrutinized) report on drinking water impacts from hydraulic fracturing. The report has made headlines, but anyone following the science around fracking impacts shouldn’t be surprised by the results—that hydraulic fracturing has had adverse effects on drinking water sources in several cases, and that risk for future contamination of drinking water exists through several pathways.  Yet, yesterday’s headlines read very differently. Read More

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Will Shell Leave ALEC? An Executive Hints At An Exit

Ask and you shell receive? (Sorry. Had to take that one.) It may be so. Last week, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden hinted that the company may leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by not renewing its membership, according to an interview with the Guardian. The statement comes after increasing pressure on Shell to leave the climate-misinformation-spreading lobbying organization. Read More

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Peabody Energy, the EPA Clean Power Plan, and Corporate Consistency on Climate Change

I’ve talked a lot here about companies’ positions on climate change and how they do or don’t agree with other statements and actions companies take—from alignment with their trade group’s position, to looking at how they talk about their own climate risks, to taking a broader look at all company actions to help or inhibit progress on addressing climate change. Read More

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Chevron, Exxon, Phillips 66 React to UCS’ Stormy Seas, Rising Risks Report

Last month, my colleague Christina Carlson and I released our report, Stormy Seas, Rising Risks: What Investors Should Know About Climate Change Impacts at Oil Refineries. The report analyzed the risk that five companies—Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero—face from sea level rise and storm surge, and compared that to what risk companies did and did not disclose to their investors. Read More

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Fracking in Colorado: Did the Oil and Gas Taskforce Finish Its Tasks?

When Colorado officials announced that they would set up a blue-ribbon taskforce charged with making informed recommendations on oil and gas development in the state, there were high hopes. In fact, I commended the state for establishing a strong procedure and promising mechanism for informed decision-making for fracking in Colorado. What an opportunity, I thought, for a science-informed decision in an otherwise science-lacking debate. Now that the commission has issued recommendations, it’s worth revisiting what happened. Did the taskforce succeed? Let’s walk through its moves. Read More

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More Than Scientists, Mauna Loa, and Better Climate Communication

At UCS when we are thinking about the best way to communicate new scientific results, my colleague Aaron Huertas often asks me, “How do the results make you feel?” As he wrote, the exercise can be helpful in bringing scientific findings back to human emotions and why the results might matter to others. A new campaign called More Than Scientists seeks to enact this effect on a broader scale and I was happy to take part in it. Read More

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Where Is the FDA on Social Media and Science?

Last week, we released an update to Grading Government Transparency, a report we first released in 2013. The report assesses the media policies and social media policies of 17 government agencies. How much could policy have changed in only two years? A Washington cynic might assume “not much.” But actually, we found significant improvement when it comes to social media at federal agencies. Read More

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