Soon, members of the House of Representatives will cast a vote that could affect every American family for years to come. The vote is on Trade Promotion Authority, or fast-track, legislation that would give not only the current President but also a future president the power to negotiate complicated trade deals and then submit them to Congress for an up-or-down vote. The Senate approved fast-track in late May, after a spirited debate that raised many concerns about the wisdom of this approach. Read More
June 3rd, 2015
May 29th, 2015
It is easy in the day-to-day work of science to miss the struggle now being waged in Washington over the role science plays in crafting health and safety protections for America. But that struggle is heating up and the outcome matters not only for the science community but for the country. The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, and our Steering Committee of eminent scientists and public servants, are asking you to join the fight in a Policy Forum article published in Science May 29th.
January 27th, 2015
Congress soon will be voting on whether to approve Trade Promotion Authority, or fast-track, a process that expedites approval of trade deals but at the expense of democratic discourse and public and congressional scrutiny and oversight.
December 12th, 2014
Earlier this month, when EPA proposed a new health-protective air quality standard for the pollutants that form “ozone,” some critics predictably pounced on it as another example of a long string of “job-killing EPA regulations.” Yet last week, we learned that the U.S. economy created about 320,000 new jobs in November, and average wages are starting to rise as the labor market tightens.
If you spot some dissonance here, you’re not alone. The claim that EPA regulations kill jobs is belied by the record. Read More
June 5th, 2014
There is no question that the announcement by Gina McCarthy, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, of a proposed rule to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants is one of the most controversial domestic policy actions taken by the Obama Administration. Read More
January 6th, 2014
December 17th, 2013
For years, UCS has been making the case that science should inform the work of federal agencies, and that agency policies and rules should not be subject to political and corporate interference. When President George W. Bush was in office, the extent of that interference was quite blatant. John Graham, then head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an obscure but powerful office within the Office of Management and Budget, did all he could to displace science and permit corporate pressure on the rulemaking process. Read More
September 10th, 2013
Remember the precautionary principle? It’s the approach that says that even when the science is uncertain about the harm a product or technology may cause, we should take steps to prevent the public and the environment from being exposed to that harm, until its safety can be demonstrated. It is the job of the business that wants to use or sell the product to prove that it is not harmful. Read More
September 4th, 2013
It’s after Labor Day. You’re thinking about getting the kids back to school, resuming your doctoral studies, or just gearing up after vacation for a busy September. The last thing you want to think about is the soup of hazardous chemicals you’re exposed to every day. For more than 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has largely pursued the “ignorance is bliss” approach. That wasn’t the agency’s fault. It’s been rendered virtually impotent by TSCA. Not the opera, the Toxic Substances Control Act. Read More
August 16th, 2013
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” – George Orwell
When I cited that quotation while speaking to a group of students last year, many of them had a hard time grasping what I was getting at. So let me be clear. Orwell, in his classic dystopian novel, 1984, described what it was like to live under a government that believed it could change facts, and make citizens believe them. It could, for example, proclaim that two plus two equaled five, and that would become the new reality. Read More