skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Panel Reviews EPA Rule Changes for Scientific Studies

play audio
Play

Monday, January 20, 2020   

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- An independent panel of scientists convenes this week to review rule changes proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Critics say the changes could weaken protections of waterways across the country, restrict the use of scientific studies needed to create environmental regulations, and lower fuel-economy standards, among other changes.

Retired EPA scientist Chris Zarba said the panel is tasked with helping the agency make scientifically sound decisions.

"So, the Science Advisory Board is an independent panel of scientists," Zarba said. "Typically, the Science Advisory Board will hire 200-300 in a year to do different projects, and they review the agency's science and make recommendations so that the agency can ensure its science is sound and they can make informed decisions."

The public can submit comments through the end of May, before the board issues its final report. Zarba added the EPA isn't legally required to follow the board's suggestions. But, he said if the agency ignores the independent review, that raises red flags.

Zarba sees one of the rule changes, called "Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science," as the most troubling. He explained when environmental accidents happen - like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan - scientists collect data from local residents.

"What typically happens is scientists and researchers will go to those communities, they'll measure the water concentrations, the drinking water concentrations, they'll measure the tissue and the blood samples from the residents," he said.

Zarba said people typically allow their data to be used in studies under certain conditions.

"When those people that were exposed give the scientists and the researchers permission to use their data, they typically signed a confidentiality agreement, saying that you can use my data, you can use my information, but you can't share my name and my address and my phone number," he explained.

The rule change would mandate the data could not be used to set federal standards unless these identifying details are made publicly available, raising privacy concerns.

Zarba argues names and addresses aren't necessary for analyzing how a chemical or compound affects the body. He believes the rule change was designed to scrub data from the standard-setting process.

"Which means that the vast majority of the most powerful data goes away," he said.

The EPA maintains if the public is likely to bear the cost of complying with the agency's regulations, it should have access to all data from the scientific studies pivotal to any action taken.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
North Carolina has received more than 105,000 contacts to its 988 system via call, chat and text in the past 12 months. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

North Carolina must increase its crisis response capacity for long-term success, according to a new report by the mental-health policy group …


Health and Wellness

play sound

In response to an alarmingly high number of suicides among construction workers, Michigan's construction leaders have taken measures to tackle mental …

Environment

play sound

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $271,000 in grants for environmental education projects across the state. The programs will …


Organizers say the Swingman Classic is the closest a modern-day fan can get to the historic Negro Leagues. (Danny Hooks/Adobe Stock)

play sound

Major League Baseball's All-Star week kicks off tonight at Globe Life Field in Arlington with the Swingman Classic featuring 50 student athletes from …

Health and Wellness

play sound

New York doctors are advising people how to stay healthy in the summer heat. Temperatures across the state will reach the high 80s and mid-90s in …

Along with extreme temperatures and public health-related states of emergency, a new Virginia law prevents utility shutoffs on Fridays, weekends and the day before or during state holidays. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new Virginia law protects residents from utility shutoffs in extreme weather. The law prevents utility company shutoffs when temperatures are at …

Social Issues

play sound

Minnesotans this month have a chance to share their thoughts on how the state should distribute home energy rebates. With federal incentives coming …

Social Issues

play sound

New Mexico teachers educating young people about climate change don't want them to feel hopeless - and they've developed an educational curriculum to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021