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Government Roundup

April 28, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 17

E-cigarettes would be subject to FDA regulation under a proposed rule announced last week. FDA currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco, but the agency wants to extend its authority to cover additional products, including electronic or e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, waterpipe or hookah tobacco, and nicotine gels.

Attorneys general from 13 states are against draft legislation recently released by Republicans in the House of Representatives to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. They oppose the draft’s provisions that would preempt state chemical laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a ruling against ExxonMobil that ordered the company to pay $105 million in damages for polluting New York City’s groundwater with the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether. The decision leaves intact a 2013 appellate court ruling that upheld the judgment.

Chinese officials say they will appeal a World Trade Organization ruling that the country illegally restricted trade in rare-earth minerals. China claims that the rules protect the environment, but its competitors say the restrictions help Chinese companies.

FDA’s drug review divisions vary widely in the time they take to approve new drugs, concludes a report from Manhattan Institute, a policy think tank. From 2004 to 2012, the time for approval of cancer and antiviral drugs was roughly twice as fast as average and three times as fast as drugs for neurological disorders.

EPA last week agreed with two oil industry petitioners and significantly lowered the amount of cellulosic ethanol required to be blended with gasoline in 2013 from 6 million gal to 810,185 gal. The change matches the level actually produced in the U.S.


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