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California vies for new space industry

August 28, 2013 7:52 am | by Mihir Zaveri, Associated Press | News | Comments

As several new private ventures to take people on trips to space come closer to becoming reality, California lawmakers are racing other states to woo the new space companies with cushy incentives. They are debating a bill now in Sacramento that would insulate manufacturers of spaceships and parts suppliers from liability should travelers get injured or killed on a voyage, except in cases such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

A new approach to making climate treaties work

August 21, 2013 7:58 am | by Rob Jordan, Stanford University | News | Comments

Why can’t global leaders agree on a broad, effective climate change pact? More than 20 years after they began, international negotiations based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have resulted in only one legally binding treaty. That agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, has not been ratified by the U.S., historically the world’s largest carbon emitter. 

Calif. coastal panel takes up offshore fracking

August 15, 2013 3:27 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

California regulators on Thursday were set to take up offshore fracking after revelations that the practice had quietly occurred off the coast since the late 1990s. The California Coastal Commission added the issue at the last minute to its agenda during its monthly meeting. 

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Re-imagining National Labs in today's innovation economy

July 31, 2013 9:23 am | News | Comments

The National Laboratories are a tremendous R&D resource, but their operations are still based on a decades-old management model that no longer meets the needs of our modern innovation ecosystem. This study presents a series of concrete proposals for Congress and the Administration that can ensure the Laboratories better meet their mission and produce useful technologies that benefit the American economy.

FDA proposes rules for safer imported foods

July 26, 2013 5:14 pm | by MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Chances are that about 15% of the food you eat—more if your diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables and cheese—comes from abroad, and the government is taking steps now to make it safer. New rules proposed Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would make U.S. food importers responsible for ensuring that their foreign suppliers are handling and processing food safely.

EU, U.S. to extend cooperation on measurements, standards

July 25, 2013 8:08 am | News | Comments

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week agreed to expand their current scientific cooperation to include new areas of research, such as energy, health care and clinical measurements, and food safety and nutrition.

China's online population rises to 519 million

July 17, 2013 10:04 am | News | Comments

China's population of Internet users has grown to 591 million, driven by a 20% rise over the past year in the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices, an industry group reported Wednesday. The rise of Web use has driven the growth of new Chinese industries from online shopping and microblogs to online video.

Experts say U.S. spy alliance will survive Snowden

July 16, 2013 9:34 am | by Nick Perry and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press | News | Comments

American information is so valuable, experts say, that no amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch their collaborative spying arrangement: the Five Eyes. Revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, they say, are unlikely to stop or even slow the global growth of secret-hunting—an increasingly critical factor in the security and prosperity of nations.

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For Obama's climate plan, devil is in the details

July 15, 2013 10:24 pm | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press | News | Comments

Three weeks after giving an ambitious speech to outline his climate change proposal, President Obama begins the arduous task of executing it. His plan is a complicated mix of rulemaking and federal permitting that's tough to encapsulate in a neat sales pitch—and may be even tougher to put into action.

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

June 27, 2013 2:11 pm | by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State University | News | Comments

Theoretically, hydropower can step in when wind turbines go still, but barriers to this non-polluting resource serving as a backup are largely policy- and regulation-based, according to recent research. Hydroelectric dams are controlled by guide curves that account for drinking water and droughts. They cannot simply release water to meet some electricity demand or hold back water when electricity is in low demand.

Obama's climate plan takes aim at coal plants

June 25, 2013 5:28 pm | by JONATHAN FAHEY - AP Energy Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

America is slowly moving toward cleaner sources of energy and using less of it overall. President Barack Obama's plan to fight climate change will accelerate those trends. The plan aims to reduce power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide, increase America's reliance on natural gas and renewables and make trucks, homes and businesses more efficient.

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

June 25, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

Theoretically, hydropower can step in when wind turbines go still, but barriers to this non-polluting resource serving as a backup are largely policy- and regulation-based, according to Penn State Univ. researchers. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recently examined the feasibility of producing 20% of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030. 

Power plant limits at center of president's climate plan

June 25, 2013 6:50 am | by Johs Lederman and Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University, Barack Obama is expected to announce he's issuing a presidential memorandum to launch the first-ever federal regulations on carbon dioxide emitted by existing power plants, moving to curb the gases blamed for global warming despite adamant opposition from Republicans and some energy producers.

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Court: 'Pay-to-delay' generic drugs can be illegal

June 17, 2013 4:31 pm | by JESSE J. HOLLAND - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Deals between pharmaceutical corporations and their generic drug competitors, which government officials say keep cheaper forms of medicine off the market, can sometimes be illegal and therefore can be challenged in court, the Supreme Court said Monday. The justices voted 5-3 to allow the government to inspect and challenge what it calls "pay-for-delay" deals or "reverse payment settlements."

“One giant leap” toward a NASA Armstrong center?

June 11, 2013 7:25 am | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Neil Armstrong's name is attached to a lunar crater, an asteroid, more than a dozen schools and a museum, but not a single NASA facility is christened in honor of the man whose "giant leap" made him the first to walk on the moon. All that could soon change on the fringes of the Mojave Desert, where leaders at the space agency's top flight research center are mulling a name change.

Agilent announces compliance with RoHS directive

June 10, 2013 4:25 pm | News | Comments

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced that the majority of its electronic test and measurement products are now designed for compliance with the European Union’s restrictions on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. Commonly referred to as RoHS, the European directive bans the sale of equipment containing more than the agreed level of lead, mercury, cadmium and other substances.

U.S. intelligence chief backs Internet spy program

June 8, 2013 11:53 pm | by JIM KUHNHENN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The top U.S. intelligence official stressed Saturday that a previously undisclosed program for tapping into Internet usage is authorized by Congress, falls under strict supervision of a secret court and cannot intentionally target an American citizen. He decried the revelation of that and another intelligence-gathering program as reckless.

Cyber experts say calling out China may be working

June 5, 2013 5:51 pm | by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press | News | Comments

After years of quiet and largely unsuccessful diplomacy, the U.S. has brought its persistent computer-hacking problems with China into the open, delivering a steady drumbeat of reports accusing Beijing's government and military of computer-based attacks against America. Officials say the new strategy may be having some impact.

U.S. defense programs target of China cyber threat

May 29, 2013 1:20 pm | by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press | News | Comments

While officials have been warning for years about China's cyber espionage efforts aimed at U.S. military and high-tech programs, the breadth of new revelations about the extent of cyberattacks will increase pressure on American leaders to take more strident action against Beijing to stem the persistent breaches.

Retiring coal-fired plants in Nevada passes Senate

May 22, 2013 5:09 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Nevada Senate has endorsed NV Energy Inc.'s plan to retire its coal-fired plants and pave the way for the state's biggest electrical utility to transition to more renewable sources. After several revisions, SB123 was approved unanimously Wednesday and now moves to the Assembly.

EPA methane report further divides fracking camps

April 28, 2013 5:11 pm | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production. This shift has major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists, which is whether the recent boom in fracking helps or hurts the fight against climate change.

U.N. chemicals summit expected to adopt new controls

April 27, 2013 1:42 pm | by JOHN HEILPRIN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

At the start of a major conference to regulate chemical and hazardous waste safety, top officials voiced optimism Saturday that delegates will approve new international controls on several industrial compounds and agree to clamp down on some cross-border pollution.

IAEA: Japan nuke cleanup may take more than 40 yrs

April 22, 2013 11:59 am | by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press | News | Comments

A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant and urged its operator to improve plant stability. Damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is so complex that it is "impossible" to predict how long the cleanup may last.

U.S. officials concerned about Japan's plan to reprocess nuclear fuel

April 22, 2013 11:56 am | News | Comments

Some U.S. government officials and experts have strong concerns about Japan's plan to operate a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori to retract plutonium while most of the nation's reactors remain shut down, a member of the government's Japan Atomic Energy Commission said Monday. Japan possesses a large amount of plutonium but prospects for consuming it remain unclear as most of Japan's nuclear reactors are idled.

China's struggle to measure economy clouds outlook

April 16, 2013 9:32 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

After China reported quarterly economic growth of 7.7% this week, global markets reacted by falling, wiping out billions of dollars in stock. The reason? Growth came in under the 8% expected by forecasters. The plunge highlighted complaints about the possible inaccuracy of Beijing's official data and the intense, possibly excessive importance traders attach to a handful of Chinese economic indicators.

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