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Matthew Freeman | December 31, 2008

Shining a Light on CFLs

The Environmental Working Group is out with a new guide to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs), and they warn that not all CFLs are environmentally equal.   CFLs offer huge energy-consumption and length-of-use advantages over traditional incandescent bulbs, but they introduce one noteworthy environmental problem: each CFL has a tiny amount of mercury inside the […]

Matthew Freeman | December 29, 2008

Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Effort Takes Its Lumps

David Fahrenthold had a powerful article in Saturday’s Washington Post on the failures of Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. The lede: Government administrators in charge of an almost $6 billion cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay tried to conceal for years that their effort was failing — even issuing reports overstating their progress — to preserve the […]

Matthew Freeman | December 23, 2008

Obama Speaks Up for Science

It breaks no new ground to observe that the Bush Administration’s record on respecting science and scientists is dismal. Three examples tell the tale: The President’s 2001 decision to severely restrict federal support for stem cell research; The President’s embrace of Intelligent Design – the latest ruse for insinuating the religious doctrine of Creationism into […]

Margaret Clune Giblin | December 18, 2008

Pregnancy Don’ts: Drinking, Smoking . . . and Breathing?

From a developmental standpoint, the 280 or so days between conception and birth are among the most important in a person’s entire life. During this period, pregnant women are cautioned to avoid a wide variety of exposures that can inhibit fetal organ development and growth. However, a recent report highlights the risk posed by one […]

Shana Campbell Jones | December 17, 2008

A Weather Forecast for Climate Change Governance

Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived have forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions.                                                            — Thomas Jefferson   Last week, I […]

Rena Steinzor | December 12, 2008

Time for EPA to Ride in the Front Seat

President-elect Barack Obama seems close to naming Lisa Jackson, now head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson, or whoever ends up getting the appointment, will surely get a raft of advice from friends and closet enemies alike. Most of it will have to do with regulations […]

James Goodwin | December 9, 2008

Building a Better Risk Assessment Process

One of many areas in which the Bush Administration has sought to throw sand in the gears of the regulatory process is by tampering with the methods of risk assessment used by regulatory agencies as part of their process of gauging how much regulation, if any, is needed in a certain area.   More specifically, […]

Matt Shudtz | December 5, 2008

REACH-ing for a Better Policy on Toxics

Dan Rosenberg of NRDC has an excellent new post up on Switchboard that lays out some ideas for reforming U.S. chemical policies in the wake of the Bush Administration. The ideas include improving the risk assessment process EPA uses to develop its IRIS database, strengthening chemical security measures, re-invigorating right-to-know policies under the Toxic Release […]

James Goodwin | December 3, 2008

A Game of Inches or a Game of Feet?

Perhaps no other consequence of global climate change kindles the public’s fears like the prospect of catastrophic sea-level rise.  For years now, climate scientists have recognized the potential for increasing global surface temperatures to produce certain kinds of feedback loops that would accelerate the collapse of massive ice shelves in Greenland and Antarctica, leading to […]