Six U.S. policies informed by science

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Most federal policies incorporate a mix of law, facts and the best judgment of those calling the shots. Some are also required to take into account the latest science. Here are six policies and programs that are rooted in science and that some experts say could change under President Trump.

~ Justin Worland (@JustinWorland)

Pandemic Response

In the next global pandemic, which experts agree is a question of “when” and not “if” the directors of the CDC and NIH will be responsible for leading a coordinated response that relies on cutting-edge research, public-health policy and cooperative international relations. Public-health experts have questioned how Trump would respond to pandemics, citing his past comments questioning the advice of CDC and government scientists.

Endangered Species Act

The 1973 law protects land inhabited by endangered species regardless of economic considerations.
Some Republicans in Congress have called for an overhaul of the law, and Trump’s choice to run the Department of the Interior, which implements the law, has supported such a move in the past.

Protected Waterways

The EPA determined the waterways that have a significant effect on water quality downstream and set restrictions to safeguard them in 2015. The rule drew ire from Republicans who said it would hamper business, and Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to undo the measure.

Vaccine Programs

An advisory body at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appointed by the Health and Human Services chief—issues immunization recommendations for the entire country using the best available science. Some experts worry that those guidelines could change under Trump, who has linked vaccines to autism and met with anti-vaccine advocates, including Robert Kennedy Jr. and Andrew Wakefield, before taking office.

Carbon Emissions

The controversial Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, was the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate-change agenda. It followed an extensive EPA study that concluded that greenhouse gases threaten human health. Trump officials have begun discussions about how to eliminate the rule, including whether or not they can reverse the EPA’s scientific conclusion—known as an endangerment finding— that linked carbon emissions to health problems.

Fuel-Economy Standard

The Department of Transportation and the EPA use a data-driven approach to set fuel-economy standards for consumer vehicles— which affect how much people pay to fill up their tanks. The formula takes into account a variety of goals, including energy independence, vehicle safety and reduction of environmental impact. The Trump transition team promised to review the policy, noting that its creators did not intend for it to be used to combat global warming.

Time – Asia, 13 February 2017


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