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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.

EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Comes to Agreement on Ozone Standard Recommendation

Today the EPA’s chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) agreed on a recommendation to Administrator McCarthy regarding an update to the ambient air pollution standard for ozone (To get up to speed on the ozone standard update process, see my previous post on the topic). The deliberation of the committee and the Ozone Review Panel exemplified the challenges of translating science to policy and it was clear that the scientific experts on the panel had differing opinions on how this should be done. Read More

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Of Manatees and Mandates: Celebrating Endangered Species Day

As a little girl, I really liked marine mammals, especially seals and manatees. They fascinated me. I learned all about them and their habitats. I knew the anatomical differences between a seal and a sea lion and I could describe the eating and migration patterns of manatees. I knew which species were endangered and which human activities threatened them. As an adult, I have almost certainly lost much of this detailed knowledge I had as a nine-year old. Nevertheless, I remain fascinated by them and continue to be concerned about their survival. Read More

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Fed Up about Food? New Film Highlights Concerns around Sugar, Science, and Democracy

Today, a new documentary entitled Fed Up premieres in 19 cities. Different from other films that detail the problems that plague our food system, Fed Up focuses on a single entity that is responsible for widespread health impacts in the United States: sugar. Read More

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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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