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Thanks to You, We Won The “Sound Science” Battle

Yesterday, I was feeling both cynical and depressed about the state of affairs in Washington. The farm bill had been approved, but certainly it wasn’t the ideal. While urging passing of the bill, our Food and Environment program, while appreciative of some of the progress it made, acknowledged its limitations and its unfulfilled potential. Many of us also are keenly aware that food stamp cuts of billions of dollars may compromise the well-being of tens of thousands of American families. 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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Federal Trade Commission Pushes Back Against Counterfeit Science

The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS was created because we believe scientific evidence matters—for public policy decisions, and for citizens making decisions every day about their health and well-being. At least as far as truth in advertising goes, it turns out we have a strong ally in the federal government: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Read More

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A Science-Informed Post-Sandy Resilience Plan, but Hoboken Faces Challenges Implementing It

Last August, Dawn Zimmer, mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, formally released the Hoboken Resiliency and Readiness Plan to address ongoing Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts. The plan marked an important milestone for the “Mile Square City” by establishing a strong set of science-informed policy objectives that would help protect citizens from future climate change impacts. Read More

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Who Is that Young Scientist with Michelle Obama at the State of the Union? It’s Joey Hudy

Prediction: this is going to be a pretty neat week for high-school student Joey Hudy. The young inventor will be one of at least six great Americans who will be sitting in the First Lady’s box during President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Hudy first made headlines two years ago at the White House Science Fair, where the president took personal interest in Hudy’s marshmallow cannon. Read More

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West Virginia Scientists to EPA, CDC: Allow Your Scientists to Speak

UPDATE: See responses below from CDC and EPA officials.

This morning, two dozen West Virginia scientists wrote to the CDC and EPA to urge the two agencies to give more freedom to their scientists to communicate with the press and public, especially during emergencies like the ongoing water contamination crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. Read More

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Scientific Advice for the New EPA Carbon Emissions Standards: Let’s Clear the Air

This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed new standards limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from new electricity generating power plants using coal or natural gas. Allegations of secrecy and political interference in science began to surface even before the proposal was released. So do these allegations have any merit? 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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How Sequestration Made Me a Citizen Scientist

Guest Bogger

Samuel Brinton, graduate student
Nuclear Engineering and the Technology and Policy Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

In the fall of 2011, I had just started my graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Technology and Policy Program. I undertook joint study in Nuclear Engineering and Technology Policy because as the son of a Three Mile Island community survivor, I understand that policy implications of misunderstood technologies can have drastic effects. Read More

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