Regulatory News: Year in Review

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We feature our top news posts from 2012.

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With the regulatory stories of 2012 coming to an end, The Regulatory Review would like to take this opportunity to reflect back on what has been a year of significant regulatory developments in the United States and throughout the world.  Over three days this week, we will present the top 50 essay of the past twelve months on The Regulatory Review, based on the number of unique page views.  Today we feature, in alphabetical order by author, the top news stories from among our top overall posts.

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by Elizabeth Hein, Staff (February 15)
Prescription pills.jpg Potentially stalling the merger of two giants in the long-term pharmaceutical services industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued an antitrust complaint objecting to Omnicare’s impending merger with PharMerica Corporation.
by James Hobbs, Staff (July 25)
gas fume.jpg Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently issued a hazard alert related to drilling workers’ inhalation of silica dust, a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” through sand.
by Vanessa Kurzweil, Staff (February 8)
Doctor and female patient.jpg In the face of criticism over the administration’s decision to require employers to provide health coverage for contraception, advisors to President Obama signaled yesterday that the administration continues to “work with” religious organizations that object to the impending requirement.
by Vanessa Kurzweil, Staff (February 28)
radioactive materials.jpg Current U.S. policy for the management of used nuclear reactor fuel and radioactive waste is “damaging” and “costly,” according to a recent report issued by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) to the Department of Energy (DOE).
by Vanessa Kurzweil, Staff (July 5)
Citizenship and Immigration.jpg Two recently introduced bills in the United States Senate are designed to slow the “brain drain” of foreign-born scientists and engineers who return to their native countries after receiving graduate training in the US.
by Vanessa Kurzweil, Staff (July 24)
factory air pollution.jpg Late last month, a federal appeals court denied or dismissed all challenges to four greenhouse gas regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In its opinion, a panel of three judges concluded that the EPA acted within its authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) in issuing the four regulations.
by Joel Mallord, Staff (February 14)
Solar panel installation.jpg Homeowners may find it more difficult to obtain loans from their local governments for energy saving home improvements under a proposed rule issued by the federal agency responsible for managing government-sponsored lending institutions, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
by Alisa Melekhina, Staff (April 19)
In its decision in Mayo Collaborative Serv. v. Prometheus Labs, the Supreme Court last month clarified U.S. legal principles balancing the importance of encouraging scientific exploration through the patent system with the need to prevent patentees from “improperly [tying] up laws of nature.” The court has previously held that laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter under §101 of the Patent Act. However, applications of laws of nature may qualify for patent protection.
by Margaret Miceli, Staff (January 31)
Privacy.jpg Three days after Google announced its new privacy policy, at least two members of Congress called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether the policy violates the terms of a consent agreement between the FTC and Google that bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations.
by Sean Moloney, Staff (May 2)
orchestra.jpg In a new executive order issued yesterday, President Obama has directed the head of his administration’s regulatory review office to increase “international regulatory cooperation” among U.S. agencies and their foreign counterparts as a way to promote U.S. trade policy.
by Ram Narayan, Staff (August 8)
fracking sand.jpg A small bean grown in the Indian subcontinent has become a prized international commodity since the rise of American hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Guar gum plays a crucial role in the fracking process. Its dispersibility in water and mineral oil assists in pushing fracking fluid through solid rock to reach petrochemical deposits in the earth’s crust.
by Sebastian Rowland (February 1)
School lunch.jpg First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week new standards for school lunches as part of a national effort to fight childhood obesity. The standards constitute the first major update to school lunch guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in fifteen years.
by Sebastian Rowland, Staff (April 10)
epa smoke emissions carbon factory.jpg The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week proposed the first Clean Air Act standard governing carbon emissions for new power plants. The rule would cap the emissions of any new fossil-fuel-based power plants at 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of energy.
by Sebastian Rowland, Staff (May 29)
gas well drill.jpg Earlier this month, the EPA released a draft version of a guidance document that agency officials hope to use to make decisions about issuing permits for fracking operations that use diesel fluid.