New EPA policy bars grant recipients from key advisory panels
Some leading university researchers "are being purged" from key EPA advisory panels under a rule announced by Administrator Scott Pruitt that bars membership by scientists at the same time they receive EPA grant money, says Science magazine. "It marks a major change in who can serve on the committees, which help steer EPA research and regulations by providing input on scientific questions."
Stabenow says Trump should withdraw Clovis nomination
The senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said in a letter to supporters that she opposes the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the USDA's chief scientist, "and I call on President Trump to withdraw it immediately," reported Hill Heat, which covers global warming. Stabenow is the first member of the agriculture committee to formally oppose Clovis, a co-chair of Trump's presidential campaign and his chief political liaison at the USDA.
Food industry tries to shape food policy, says nonprofit group
A series of emails obtained under a state freedom of information law suggest major food companies have a "roadmap for dealing with scientific challenges," says the leader of the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know in a Bloomberg story. The emails by current and former Coca-Cola executives suggest actions such as enlisting outside organizations to question dietary advice that was contrary to their business interests.
Jacobson to step down after 44 years at CSPI
After 44 years as president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson is stepping down. During his long tenure, Jacobson not only helped develop nutrition labels, he “has also had a hand in halting the marketing of many sugar-filled foods to children, reducing salt levels in packaged foods, and banning transfats,” says NPR.
Top Senate Democrat calls for withdrawal of ‘wildly unqualified’ USDA nominee
President Trump should withdraw the nomination of “wildly unqualified” Sam Clovis for USDA chief scientist “as a gesture to the American people that this administration is serious about rooting out the most hateful voices in our society,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement with Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
Perdue: Trump and I believe in Clovis
If there was any question of backing for Sam Clovis, nominated to be USDA chief scientist, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, "I fully support the nomination" and "the president has confidence in his abilities." Perdue brushed aside questions whether Clovis, a college professor, has the credentials for the job.
Trump fills two USDA executive slots, one with his campaign co-chair
Sam Clovis, co-chair of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and a Tea Party activist from Iowa, is the president's choice to run USDA's research and economics agencies, said the White House, in a selection criticized for weeks before it was announced. Trump tabbed Indiana state agriculture director Ted McKinney for the newly created post of agriculture undersecretary for trade.
EPA and Interior overhaul scientific advisory boards to favor industry
In a move meant to stem government regulation, the EPA is cutting academic scientists from its scientific review board and replacing them with industry representatives, while the Interior Department prepares for a review of the scientists on its own advisory council.
When it comes to DC protests, farmers could be the role models
The March for Science, set for Saturday in Washington, may command attention for one reason: "It’s pretty rare for people in any occupation to march on their field’s behalf," says FiveThirtyEight in an examination of public protest. "When scientists travel from across the country to ask their government for respect and funding, the group they will most closely be emulating is farmers."
Trump’s budget targets NASA’s climate monitoring
The Trump administration’s proposed budget would cancel four NASA climate science missions, which would have measured the flow of carbon dioxide and tracked long-term weather patterns. “Long before President Trump was elected, climate researchers have warned that the nation’s climate monitoring capabilities — which include satellites as well as air- and surface-based instruments — were less than adequate and faced data collection gaps and other uncertainties,” reports The New York Times.
Scientists plan march on Washington, but some think they should stay in the lab
Inspired by the Million Woman March on Washington, D.C., scientists are planning their own march to urge policymakers to base their rules on sound research. “There's been a lot of concern about the fate of science under President Trump. His appointees include climate change skeptics; he's met with an anti-vaccination campaigner. He regularly cites false numbers on things like voter fraud and crime rates, while his surrogates defend the use of "alternative facts," says NPR.
A leading arbiter of ‘good science’ tilts toward industry
"At a time when public mistrust of science runs high, and non-experts are hard-pressed to separate fact from industry-sponsored spin, Sense About Science, a charity based in London with an affiliate in New York, presents itself as a trustworthy arbiter," says Liza Gross in FERN’s latest story, "Seeding For Science,” which was co-produced with The Intercept.
Lowest Sierra Nevada snowpack in 500 years, scientists say
Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada last winter "was the lowest it has been in more than 500 years," the Los Angeles Times reports, citing research published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Snowpack is a primary source of water for California.
‘Agriculture’ is the missing word in science museums
"You're not likely to find the word 'agriculture' in any science museum even though many exhibits relate to agricultural content or practices," says U-Florida, summarizing a study by assistant professor Katie Stofer of 29 science museums with an annual budget of at least $10 million and than 200,000 visitors.
US, British science panels issue paper on climate change
Says a story at Feedstuffs, "The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the U.K., released a joint publication Feb. 27 in Washington, D.C., that...
An update for Nutrition Facts this week?
The administration may announce later this week the first update to the Nutrition Facts labels that appear on food packages, said Politico's Morning Ag newsletter.