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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Transparency Community Voices Concerns over Data.gov

Yesterday, a group of organizations, including OMB Watch, submitted concerns with the high-value datasets published on Data.gov in compliance with the requirements of the Open Government Directive (OGD) issued on Dec. 8. The OGD required that agencies submit at least three high value datasets within 45 days through Data.gov.   These groups outlined the major problems with the site and its implementation thus far.  I have summarized these issues below.

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What is the Obama Administration’s Record on Regulation?

Today at 3 p.m., OMB Watch will be webcasting a panel discussion titled, The Obama Administration and Public Protections: A First-Year Regulatory Assessment. The panel discussion will address whether regulatory agencies are being proactive on a number of important issues, such as workplace safety, consumer protections, and the environment.

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White House Meddling in EPA Rule on Air Pollution Monitors

Update (02/17/10): "Last-Minute Changes Will Improve Air Pollution Monitoring, EPA Says."

It’s looking more and more like the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) overruled the EPA in a decision to place more air pollution monitors near major roadways.

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Greenhouse Gases are Peachy Keen, 40 Senators Say

Yesterday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and a whopping 39 co-sponsors introduced a resolution that would disapprove the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions.

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FDA Calls BPA Risky, but Puts off Regulation

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration made its long-awaited announcement on the safety of bisphenol-A, a chemical ingredient in hard plastics, food can liners, and other common products. The verdict? “[R]ecent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. FDA also recognizes substantial uncertainties with respect to the overall interpretation of these studies and their potential implications for human health effects of BPA exposure.”

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