Waiting Game on the Budget: Will the Cockroaches Prevail?

, sr. Washington rep., Center for Science & Democracy

As I am writing this blog, it is Friday afternoon, December 11. Congress should have passed the spending bills for government operations for the 2016 fiscal year by October 1. Instead, faced with the prospect of a government shutdown, lawmakers approved a short-term bill to fund the government until December 11. Today is the deadline for that funding bill. And yet we are still playing the waiting game. Read more >

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

, lead analyst, Center for Science and Democracy

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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Bad Policies Should Not Get a Free “Ride” on Spending Bills

, sr. Washington rep., Center for Science & Democracy

I try hard not to be cynical about Congress. I believe that in the House and Senate, many men and women of good will and their staffs work hard to advance policies that they believe will benefit the people they represent. Our elected representatives may disagree about what the best solutions are. But they are motivated by the desire to do good, not ill.

That sentiment is being tested as the House and Senate vote on a series of spending bills to pay for government agencies and other expenses in the coming fiscal year. Read more >

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A Change We Didn’t See Coming: Hydraulic Fracturing and Sand Mining in Wisconsin

, UCS Science Network

If someone had told me 10 years ago that the rural landscape just west of my home in Appleton would be stripped down and shipped to states throughout the country, I never would have believed it. In fact, no one here in Wisconsin could have imagined that there would ever be much industrial demand for the honey-colored Cambrian sandstones that crop out in a wide swath across the middle of the state. There were a few quarries that supplied sand for foundry molds, but since foundries can reuse sand many times, these local operations had little effect on the landscape. Wisconsin’s sandstones had only two major ‘uses’: acting as groundwater aquifers and defining the shape of the distinctive chimney rocks and castellated mounds of the state’s scenic, never-glaciated Driftless Area. Read more >

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White House, Finally, Releases Silica Rule

, program manager, Center for Science & Democracy

And now, for some good news. After more than two years of unnecessary delay, the White House Office of Management and Budget has finally allowed the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to move forward with a proposed rule to protect workers from exposure to silica dust. I hope this is a sign that the White House will allow federal agencies to develop science-based public protections that advance their public health missions. That said, the development of the silica rule has been a fiasco, and much of the blame for delay lies with the White House.

I have written about this several times, but to recap:

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