Interior Agency Split to Devote Attention to Safety and Environment

The Interior Department announced yesterday that it will split into two parts the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the troubled agency that has been blamed for not doing enough to prevent the explosion and ensuing oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Second Coal Ash Proposal Added During White House Review

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans for a single, environmentally-protective proposal to regulate coal ash were changed during a six-month review at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). An internal administration document released Friday shows the significant edits made to EPA’s original draft.

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New Recovery Act Memo Comes as Recipients Improve Reporting

On Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a new guidance on Recovery Act recipient reporting.  The memo expands on several earlier memos on the same topic, but it lays out more concrete steps for agencies to follow.

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FDA Reviewing Policy for Conflicts on Advisory Panels

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tweaking the way it treats advisory committee members who have financial conflicts of interest. FDA will require more detailed information on the financial interests of members who have been granted waivers to serve on committees despite a potential conflict, according to draft guidance released Wednesday.

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Rhyme Time: EPA to Take on BPA

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled an action plan for addressing bisphenol-A (BPA), a common chemical found in a variety of hard plastics and the lining of food can containers.

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What Happened to Obama’s Commitment to Scientific Integrity?

Today, March 9, is the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s scientific integrity memo which instructed his staff to produce within 120 days recommendations for ensuring independence of federal scientists and limiting political interference in their work. 365 days later, we’re still waiting.

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On Food Additive Safety, FDA Just Watches the GRAS Grow

A February Government Accountability Office report released today chides the Food and Drug Administration for failing to ensure the safety of common food additives. By law, manufacturers may assign additives a "generally recognized as safe," or GRAS, designation, a process that the FDA neither monitors nor verifies in most cases, according to the GAO.

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Senate Bill Threatens Greenhouse Gas Limits

Congress’s push to kneecap greenhouse gas regulation got a little stronger today when Sen. John Rockefeller (D- coal WV) introduced a bill that would delay for two additional years any EPA regulation of stationary sources like power plants and oil refineries.

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Recovery Act Data Shows Recipients Are Learning

Earlier today, the Recovery Board released the list of Recovery Act recipients who did not file during the second reporting period.   According to the Board, recipients of 1,036 Recovery Act awards failed to file during this quarter, which was from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2009. That number represents a whopping 76 percent decline from the first reporting cycle, which saw 4,359 missing award reports, and is less than one percent of all the award reports. Equally good news is that of the 1,036 missing reports, only 389 were from "repeat offenders," or recipients who failed to file in both quarters.

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Bringing Sound Advice to Congress

Restore OTAMany moons ago, Congress relied on facts, science, and other evidence to guide its thinking and make decisions. One repository for such information was the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), an arm of Congress created in 1972 to enlighten lawmakers on new technological applications and emerging issues and, if appropriate, recommend ways to harness science and technology for the public good.

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