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Posts Tagged ‘USDA’

Beet Still My Heart: A Valentine Message for the USDA

When I was a little kid, I loved those candy “conversation hearts” we exchanged on Valentine’s Day. I always wanted the ones that said “Be Mine” and (most exciting) “Kiss Me”. Those little treats are still fun—though they look a bit different today, emblazoned as they are with previously unknown sentiments including “Text Me” and “LOL”. But this Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking less about heart-shaped candy, and more about my actual heart (and yours), and what they need to beat long into the future. Read More

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A Hole in the Regulation of GMOs that Kudzu Could Fit Through

A little-noticed, almost nonchalant, article in the Columbus Dispatch last week portends substantial environmental and economic mischief. Read More

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Fait Accompli—USDA Decision on Herbicide-Resistant Crops Betrays Farmers and the Public

On Friday, January 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This clears the way for approval of engineered soybeans and corn resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, pending a final EIS and pesticide tolerances from EPA. Read More

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Lumps of Coal in the House-Passed Farm Bill

There’s an old and well honored legislative strategy of tucking otherwise unacceptable and noxious proposals into must-pass bills. The hope is that House and Senate members, seeking compromise on a final piece of legislation, may be so relieved to get a deal on the big-ticket items that some of the smaller bits can get through, too. Read More

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Francesca Grifo Leaves UCS to Oversee Scientific Integrity at EPA

UCS’s Francesca Grifo, who has advocated for strong scientific integrity standards within government since 2005, started today as the EPA’s scientific integrity officer. She is charged with implementing the EPA’s scientific integrity policy. It’s a big win for the agency, and will hopefully spark a renewed commitment to scientific integrity within the federal government. Read More

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USDA to Tackle 2,4-D-Resistant Engineered Crops Without Needed Regulations

It is encouraging that USDA will produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for crops resistant to 2,4-D or dicamba. These crops, through the herbicides they are designed to use, have potential to cause substantial environmental and human harm, especially due to drift and volatility. Weed scientists have projected dramatically increased use of these herbicides, and herbicides in general, if these crops are approved. Read More

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Freedom to Tweet: Grading Social Media Policies in the Federal Government

Social media can transform debates, inform discussions and, as we saw with the Arab spring, help spread democracy. And information and science have a key role to play in democracy (hence the new Center for Science and Democracy here at UCS). Scientists working for government agencies such as NASA, NOAA, the EPA, and the FDA have a lot to contribute to discussions about the science-based challenges we face. Unfortunately, agency policies combined with a culture of timidity are often constraining individual government scientists from jumping into social media. Read More

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Congress Does Something Right — For Federal Scientists

Today, Congress did something good for the American public and good for science. After a 14-year struggle, the House and Senate approved a bipartisan whistleblower protection bill that will make a difference to all federal workers, but that should be especially welcomed by federal scientists. Read More

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USDA Says Organic Farming Worth $3.5 Billion…Happy Food Day!

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that the nation’s certified organic farmers enjoyed sales of more than $3.5 billion in 2011. On this second annual Food Day—a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, sustainable food—it seems fitting to highlight this “good news” story that hasn’t received much attention. Read More

Categories: Food and Agriculture  

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Senate Does the Right Thing for Whistleblowers – So Close to a Win-Win-Win

At last, a bit of good news and a glimmer of hope from Congress. Last Tuesday evening (May 8), the Senate unanimously approved S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Read More

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