EPA's Friday Afternoon Surprise, Drug Imports, Google's Self-Driving Car, H-1B visas
PREEMPTION BY THE EPA
On Friday afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a watershed document that provides a dangerous and misleading analysis of the Pebble Mine in Alaska. Not only does the report fail to recognize that Pebble will be state-of-the-art and one of the most modern, environmentally-friendly mines in the world, but the report also disregards the thousands of desperately needed Alaskan jobs that the mine would provide.
Serious implications await if the EPA preemptively denies Pebble’s permits, as this move would effectively give the EPA massive (and unconstitutional) powers. By allowing the EPA to deny Pebble, precedent would allow the agency to also kill any building project that has the potential to impact American waterways without ever going through the permitting process – and without the input from local, state, or other federal agencies. > Read the full comment on Resourcefulearth.org
DRUG IMPORTS - GREGORY CONKO
With the Senate set to vote on one of the few “must-pass” bills of the year, pharmaceutical industry critics are plotting ways to add poison pills to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. PDUFA, as it’s known in health policy circles, was first enacted in 1992 and has significantly sped up the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) drug-approval process, giving new hope to millions of patients suffering from debilitating and fatal diseases that a cure is on the way. It is arguably the most important piece of health care legislation you’ve never heard of.
GOOGLE'S SELF-DRIVING CAR - MARC SCRIBNER
This morning, CEI’s resident transportation policy junkies — General Counsel Sam Kazman and myself — had the opportunity to test-ride Google’s prototype self-driving car in downtown Washington, D.C. In October 2010, I wrote about the Google driverless car’s feat of secretly logging 140,000 miles on U.S. public roads without a single accident.
Google’s car uses a wide variety of sensors that detect pedestrians, objects, and infrastructure in real time. It is the sustained rapid collection of conditions data that allows the car to slow or stop suddenly if a pedestrian enters the street, a car suddenly changes lanes or pulls away from the curb, or a lane is closed for construction or an event.
IMMIGRATION - DAVID BIER
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow more Ph.Ds, scientists, and other high-skilled workers trained at U.S. universities to remain in America. The bill (S. 3185) would increase the H-1B visa quota by 55,000, but for some, the proposal doesn’t go far enough.