science

Rep. Will Hurd ‘honored’ to shave constituent’s head
Lisa Sanders, who lost her daughter in 2007 to a brain tumor, ‘braved the shave’ for cancer research fundraiser

Rep. Will Hurd shaves Lisa Sanders' head at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research on Tuesday. (Courtesy St. Baldrick's Foundation)

Rep. Will Hurd helped a hometown hero “brave the shave” Tuesday at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research.

The Texas Republican shaved the head of Lisa Sanders from Helotes, Texas, at a “46 Mommas” event hosted by St. Baldrick's Foundation — a volunteer- and donor-powered charity focused on curing childhood cancer, according to its website.

EPA approves use of bee-killing pesticide
Agency also suspends study of bee populations

Award winning bees at the Iowa 2018 State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa.  The EPA said Friday it was permitting the broader use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Just days after another federal agency suspended its periodical study of honey bee populations, the EPA greenlighted the wider use of a pesticide that environmental activists warn could further decimate the pollinators.

A major conservation group says it will take the agency to court over the decision.

Levin bill would put electric car chargers at national parks and forests
Transportation sector accounts for nearly a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., introduced a bill this week to make national parks and forests more electric car-friendly. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill filed Wednesday by Rep. Mike Levin would provide millions of dollars for the federal agencies governing U.S. national parks and forests to facilitate the installation of electric car charging stations to promote the use of zero-emissions vehicles on public lands.

Under the bill, which Levin has dubbed the “Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act,” The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service would also be required to obtain zero-emissions vehicles and shuttle buses to replace the gas-fueled fleets they use now.

Climate change takes back seat at presidential debate — again
But several candidates said they would prioritize recommitting the U.S. to the Paris climate accord

Climate change was lightly touched on during the second Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida. California Sen. Kamala Harris, right, and former Vice President Joe Biden, left, speak as Sen. Bernie Sanders looks on. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The second night of the Democratic candidates’ debate Thursday dedicated just as little time to climate change as the first, leaving activists once again frustrated and amplifying their calls for a session dedicated to the issue.

“Adding only a single measly minute to the climate discussion compared to the first night was grossly insufficient — voters need to understand where every candidate stands on the most pressing emergency of our time,” Kassie Siegel, climate director at the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said shortly after the debate. “That’s why we need a climate debate.”

Trump energy plan faces legal blitz over weaker emissions standards
Democratic state AGs join environmental groups saying they’ll sue the federal government over the rule

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Blue states and green groups are gearing up to sue the Trump administration over its new carbon emissions rule finalized Wednesday, which critics say fails to address climate change and the public health risks associated with pollution from the power sector.

The EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule rescinds the Obama administration’s ambitious Clean Power Plan and replaces it with less stringent guidelines for states and coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions.

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Lawmakers put funding ban on human embryo gene editing research in Ag. bill
The rider bars the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos

From left, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., attend a House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in Rayburn Building on July 25, 2018. By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language banning the funding of research involving the gene editing of human embryos, which has been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators did some soul searching Tuesday before deciding to include a policy rider in the fiscal 2020 Agriculture spending bill that would bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos.

By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language that had been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016 but was omitted in the draft bill approved on May 23 by the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Lawmakers fear that the FBI and TSA are misusing facial recognition tech
Law enforcement and national security agencies implementing new technology ‘without any real guard rails,’ top Democrat warns

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer instructs an international traveler to look into a camera as he uses facial recognition technology to screen a traveler entering the United States on February 27, 2018 at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida. Both Democrats and Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform grilled leaders of the FBI and Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday about whether they are running afoul of privacy and transparency laws in their use of facial recognition software. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Both Democrats and Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform grilled leaders of the FBI and Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday about how their use of facial recognition software conflicts with transparency and privacy laws.

“This technology is evolving extremely rapidly without any real guard rails,” Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings warned in his opening statement at Tuesday’s hearing, the panel’s second in less than a month on facial recognition. “Whether we are talking about commercial use or government use, there are real concerns about the risks that this technology poses to our civil rights and liberties and our right to privacy.”

Ex-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher joins ‘Craigslist of weed’ board
California Republican was a longtime champion of cannabis while in Congress

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has joined the board of a company dubbed the “Craigslist of weed.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has become a major shareholder and advisory board member of BudTrader, a California-based marijuana advertising website that has been christened the “Craigslist of Weed.

“I’m proud to announce I’ve joined [BudTrader] as a shareholder and advisory board member, so I may continue the fight for cannabis legalization on a national level,” the California Republican tweeted earlier this week.

Drug pricing legislation may not affect a new $2.1 million gene therapy drug
The blockbuster drug Zolgensma, which treats spinal muscular atrophy, is now the most expensive drug in the world

The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters is seen in White Oak, Md. The agency approved a $2.1 million Novartis therapy for spinal muscular atrophy Friday, making it the world’s most expensive drug. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The recent approval of a treatment poised to become the world’s most expensive drug comes as Congress debates measures meant to address high prices — yet so far what lawmakers are attempting might not impact cases like this $2.1 million therapy.

The FDA announced Friday it was approving Novartis AG’s gene therapy Zolgensma, a one-time treatment designed to help young children with spinal muscular atrophy. The agency’s announcement said the safety and effectiveness of the drug was based on clinical trials that yielded positive results for patients with the rare disease.