Monthly Archives: August 2014

EPA Accused of Muzzling Independant Advisors


WASHINGTON (AP) - Journalist and scientific organizations accused the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday of attempting to muzzle its independent scientific advisers by directing them to funnel all outside requests for information through agency officials.

In a letter Tuesday, groups representing journalists and scientists urged the EPA to allow advisory board members to talk directly to news reporters, Congress and other outside groups without first asking for permission from EPA officials. An April memo from the EPA's chief of staff said that "unsolicited contacts" need to be "appropriately managed" and that committee members should refrain from directly responding to requests about committees' efforts to advise the agency.
The scientific advisory board's office had asked the EPA to clarify the communications policy for board members, who are government employees.
"The new policy only reinforces any perception that the agency prioritizes message control over the ability of scientists who advise the agency to share their expertise with the public," the groups wrote.
The EPA relies on independent advisory boards to weigh complex scientific information and to advise the agency on policy, such as setting new standards for air pollutants. Recently, Republicans in Congress have been critical of the scientific advisory board overseeing the review of the ground-level ozone standard, saying it failed to evaluate the consequences of recommending a tougher limit.
The chair of that panel, H. Christopher Frey, said in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday in which he stressed he was offering his personal opinion, that he found the tone of the EPA memo to be unnecessary.
Frey, a distinguished university professor in North Carolina State University's environmental engineering department, said that many of the scientists that serve on the committees are national and internationally-renowned experts and [...]

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    Glenda wipeout of fishpens to trigger price hikes of bangus, tilapia – BFAR

Glenda wipeout of fishpens to trigger price hikes of bangus, tilapia – BFAR

Consumers must take advantage of the cheap bangus and tilapia while they last as prices are expected to increase in the coming days.

In an interview aired on GMA News “24 Oras” Wednesday, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez said prices of bangus and tilapia were projected to go up by as much as P30 per kilo due to the expected lower supply caused by the destruction of most fishpens in Laguna De Bay and Taal Lake after the onslaught of Typhoon Glenda.

“Eighty percent of those structures you can no longer find, and the remaining 20 percent of the structures nandun pa pero wala nang laman,” Perez said.

Asked about how much fish remains in the Laguna De Bay and Taal Lake fishpens, Perez answered: “Hundred percent walang natira sa fishpen.”

Peres said even the 10-hectare bangus and tilapia farms in Bataan, Bulacan and Pampanga were destroyed by the typhoon.

Perez said the damage could result in limited supply which would lead to higher prices. Perez said that it usually took four to seven months to raise bangus and tilapia before they can be harvested.

“I'm projecting a relative increase in price...Hindi naman dodoble ang price, siguro mga P20 to P30 increase per kilo,” Perez said.

Fish cage owners in Laguna De Bay are set to meet with the officials of BFAR on Thursday to discuss how to address the looming supply shortage. Majority of the supply of bangus and tilapia in Metro Manila comes from Laguna De Bay.

Just recently, bangus from Laguna De Bay were washed to the Pasig River to the delight of nearby residents.  This happened after Typhoon Glenda destroyed the fishpens in the lake.

According to the “24 Oras” report, the supply of [...]