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Posts Tagged ‘science-based decision making’

The Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force: Still a Chance for Science to Inform Fracking Policy

When news broke last month that the state of Colorado would be creating a blue-ribbon task force to study the impacts and inform regulation of hydraulic fracturing in the state, I wrote about the opportunity for science. In a state that has been ground zero in the fracking debate in many ways, this is a chance, I wrote, for Colorado to take a step back and consider how science can better inform oil and gas development there. Unfortunately, yesterday’s announcement of the task force membership shows this has yet to be the case. Read More

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The Endangered Species Act under Attack: Science, Politics, and the Real Meaning of Transparency

The cartoon below has never been more appropriate. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is attacked by political interests with some regularity, but the current proposal from the House Natural Resources Committee threatens to halt much of the science-based work that the law has enabled. Read More

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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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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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Talking Turkey: Saying “No Thanks” to the Poultry Rule This Thanksgiving

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to appreciate the foulness of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed Poultry Rule. Many critics, including the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, of which UCS is a member, have pointed out that the rule ignores evidence pertaining to human health and worker safety. Others have argued it is inhumane. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a report released earlier this year, found that the proposed rule is based on limited scientific data and inadequate evaluation of USDA pilot projects. Read More

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A Celebration of Carl Sagan: The Man, the Legacy, and the Unanswered Question

Yesterday, I was fortunate to attend “A Celebration of Carl Sagan” at the Library of Congress. Hosted by Emmy award-winner and science-supporter Seth MacFarlane, the event welcomed The Seth MacFarlane Collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive to the library and included 13 esteemed speakers all of whom had personal connections to the man being honored. Each speaker had different stories to tell, but many concluded their talk with the same unanswered question. Read More

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Convenient Science for Hire: the American Council on Science and Health Puts the Cart before the Horse

In business and politics, it is a good thing to have science on your side. Scientific study informs and enlightens our decision making on everything from food to energy to health. But what happens when the science is inconvenient to your business model? Read More

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Fracking and My Community’s Socioeconomic Stability: Will My Boomtown Go Bust?

with Susan Christopherson, Ph.D. Professor, Cornell University, Department of City and Regional Planning

The U.S. conversation surrounding recent oil and gas development through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and newer technologies like horizontal drilling frequently centers around risks to the environment—to water and air—and to public health. At the national level, these risks are juxtaposed against the promise of jobs and energy independence. Read More

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