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"EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013 — Amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to revise the process of selecting members of the Science Advisory Board, guidelines for participation in Board advisory activities, and terms of office. (The Board provides scientific advice to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA].) Prohibits federally registered lobbyists from being appointed to the Board.
Revises the procedures for providing advice and comments to the Administrator by: (1) including risk or hazard assessments in the regulatory proposals and documents made available to the Board, and (2) requiring advice and comments to be included in the record regarding any such proposal and published in the Federal Register.
Revises the operation of Board member committees and investigative panels to: (1) require that they operate in accordance with the membership, participation, and policy requirements (including new requirements for public participation in advisory activities of the Board) contained in this Act; (2) deny them authority to make decisions on behalf of the Board; and (3) prohibit direct reporting to EPA.
Adds guidelines for the conduct of Board advisory activities, including concerning: (1) avoidance of making policy determinations or recommendations, (2) communication of uncertainties, (3) dissenting members' views, and (4) periodic reviews to ensure that such activities address the most important scientific issues affecting EPA."
The bill also requires SAB members to disclose financial relationships and interests (Sec. 2a-3D), relevant professional works (Sec. 2a-4), and that all materials used in SAB advisories to the EPA be also released to the public (Sec. 2e)." top
GoCrazy (1608235) writes "AT&T unveiled its new Next plan today, which allows you to pay a small monthly fee for the privilege of upgrading your phone every year without a down payment. It's an obvious response to T-Mobile's Jump plan, which costs $10 a month and allows for an upgrade every six months. Both plans sound like a great idea: you'll get a new phone much faster than before, without having to pay full price up front or resigning your contract every time.
The big differences with AT&T's Next plan are that it costs anywhere from $15 to $50 a month depending on which phone you buy, and also that it's an absolutely clear ripoff designed to cheat customers into paying full price for their phone without actually buying anything." Link to Original Source top
"Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" Inspires Solar-Powered Biochar-Byproduct Toilet
GoCrazy (1608235) writes "Despite our penchant for diposing waste into potable water for environmental engineers to clean, a University of Colorado Boulder team is designing a solar-powered, on-the-spot waste sanitizing toilet.
The self-contained, waterless toilet, designed and built using a $777,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has the capability of heating human waste to a high enough temperature to sterilize human waste and create biochar, a highly porous charcoal, said project principal investigator Karl Linden, professor of environmental engineering. The biochar has a one-two punch in that it can be used to both increase crop yields and sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
The University of Colorado submission is one of four winners in round 2 of the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge"."