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Government Roundup

March 30, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 13

U.S. engineering schools, in a letter to President Obama last week, pledged to educate a generation of students to meet challenges specific to the 21st century. More than 120 universities vowed to graduate at least 20 students per year prepared to solve difficult problems.

Disclosure of chemical ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and Indian lands is required under a March 20 Department of the Interior rule. Drawing fire from industry and environmental groups, the rule requires disclosure to FracFocus, the nation’s voluntary, industry-backed fracking chemical disclosure registry.

Continental Carbon has agreed to install pollution control technology to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides at plants in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas. The deal with EPA requires Continental, a major carbon black producer, to pay a fine of $650,000 and spend $550,000 on environmental improvements.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s director, A. Paul Alivisatos, is stepping down after six years to resume research, according to lab officials. Alivisatos is a chemist and an expert on nanocrystals with biomedical and renewable energy applications.

Internal reforms are under way at EPA’s Science Advisory Board, which is the target of legislation pending in Congress. The board of external advisers is moving to recruit larger and more diverse panels for its reviews, to live-stream board reviews, and to forge a closer liaison with state scientists and Congress.


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