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Environment

Government Roundup

August 4, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 31

Methane emissions from transmission and distribution lines would be reduced under several new Department of Energy initiatives. The agency says it will create energy efficiency standards for natural gas compressors, establish an R&D program on leak reduction, and examine ways to encourage companies and states to focus on infrastructure modernization.

Neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides linked to honeybee losses, were found in every stream tested throughout the midwestern U.S., a study by the U.S. Geological Survey reports (Environ. Pollut. 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.06.033). Pulses of neonicotinoids were observed with rainfall events during crop planting, suggesting seed treatments as the source.

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) legislation (H.R. 4007) was approved last week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. The CFATS bill, which the House passed last month, now heads to the full Senate for deliberation.

Pentachloro­phenol is a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen, the National Toxicology Program concluded. Pentachlorophenol is a preservative used in the treatment of utility poles and other wood products. People exposed to the chemical are also exposed to dioxins and furans, polychlorinated phenols, hexachlorobenzene, and other by-products formed during its synthesis.

Willie E. May, an organic analytical chemist, was nominated by President Barack Obama last week to lead the National Institute of Standards & Technology. May has worked in various roles at NIST since 1971 and has served as acting director since June.

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