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Government Roundup

November 18, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 46

o-Nitrotoluene has been added to the Toxics Release Inventory. This means that companies will have to report their releases of the chemical to EPA every year.

Ellen D. Williams has been nominated to become director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Since 2010, Williams has been chief scientist at BP and is on leave from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology.

A bipartisan bill to reform the federal law governing the manufacture of chemicals will be revised before it moves through Congress, say two of the measure’s main cosponsors. Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said last week they are negotiating in private to improve S. 1009, a bill to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Apples that are genetically engineered to not turn brown would be cleared for normal commercial distribution under a proposed ruling by USDA. The agency has concluded that Arctic apples are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk. USDA will accept public comment until Dec. 9.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press has launched a preprint server for biology papers. Called bioRxiv, the site is modeled after the arXiv preprint server for physics, mathematics, and computer science. Authors can post results immediately online and receive feedback from the scientific community before they submit articles to journals.

NIH has rejected a petition by a coalition of consumer and medical groups to override patents held by Abbott Laboratories (now AbbVie). Approval of the petition would have allowed other companies to make generic copies of the HIV drug Norvir before its patents begin to expire in 2014.


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