Transparency


A Failure of US Biosecurity: How Federal Regulators Helped a Japanese Beetle Cross the Border

Christy Leppanen, Ph.D., , UCS

With a partial government shutdown now in its 3rd week, many Americans are learning the hard way about the wide range of functions their federal government normally serves. One of those little-known functions is preventing the spread of invasive plants, insects, and other species that threaten native ecosystems and valuable natural resources, costing the United States an estimated $120 billion every year. Just last week, the shutdown forced conference organizers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to cancel an annual meeting of 300 scientists working to coordinate research and find solutions. Even before the shutdown, however, USDA regulators had failed to fully live up to their obligations—designated by law—to protect US resources from invasive species.

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What’s Hiding in Your Electric Bill? How Utility Customers Finance Risky Investments

, Senior Energy Analyst

Utilities are expected to make investments that are prudent and in the public interest; in return, they get to recover those costs plus a profit. All the utility investments, operating costs, and profits get pooled together and are reflected in customer utility bills. Expenditures that aren’t “prudent” and “in the public interest” (two key terms in the industry) don’t get to be recovered. But many utilities have found a way to get around guidelines and force customers to finance fossil fuel infrastructure, lobbying, and power plants that aren’t even built yet. Read more >

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Cartoon: Justin Bilicki

5 Tips for Working in the Trump Administration Like an Absolute Pro

, Energy analyst

Are you a new political appointee looking to join your administration peers in governing by deregulatory splash? Does the idea of winning the title of Best Worst Rule-Maker of Them All make you want to jump to the front to assume the mantle of dismantle? Would you be interested in throwing logic, scholarship, and ethics out the window in favor of the unbridled thrill of flying by the seat of no pants?

If yes, then read on, because the below five tips have been systematically shown to plummet Trump appointees from hero to zero in under one rulemaking flat.

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Justin Bilicki
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EPA office building with agency flag

The EPA Should Not Restrict The Science They Use To Protect Us

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

On Tuesday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency is holding their only hearing on their proposed rule that would restrict the science that the agency is allowed to consider in developing health and safety protections. My colleagues and I have written extensively about this proposal. On Tuesday, I will have the opportunity to speak directly to the agency about this proposal. I will have five minutes. Here is what I intend to say. Read more >

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Photo: Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0 (Flickr)

Pruitt’s Science Advisors Urge Him to Let Them Review His So-Called Transparency Initiative

, Lead science and policy analyst

One week after issuing its letters on EPA’s spring and fall regulatory agendas, the SAB posted a letter to Administrator Pruitt urging him to charge the SAB with reviewing the flawed restricted science rule before taking further action on the proposed rule due to the very important scientific considerations needed for transparency at the agency. This is a strong statement coming from the Administrator’s very own science advisors, 18 of whom were hand-selected by Pruitt himself. Read more >

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