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US News Roundup: 17-23 July


The latest research and policy news from the US

In depth: Senior Democrat senators published a $25-billion plan that aims to ensure all United States citizens can get access to a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19.

Full story: Democrats seek bipartisan vaccine push amid data battles


Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Ozone regulation under fire for sidelining science

The Trump administration and Environmental Protection Agency have come under fire from Democrat politicians over an EPA proposal to retain the existing 2015 air quality standards for ozone instead of adopting more stringent ones in its five-year review. A dedicated independent panel of scientific experts was disbanded during the proposal review process. “Instead of trusting our nation’s leading scientists…the Trump EPA has decided to do what it does best–put politics over public health,” said Senator Tom Carper. The EPA defended its proposal, saying it was based on “careful review and consideration of the most current available scientific evidence and risk and exposure information”.

Chief technology officer set for defence research post

Michael Kratsios, chief technology officer of the United States, has been nominated by the Department of Defense to serve as acting under secretary of defense for research and engineering. Kratsios has been chief technology officer since 2017, spearheading national efforts on artificial intelligence, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles and commercial drones. He has also played a key role in the expansion of 5G, the DoD said.

DoE seeks views on energy storage roadmap

The Department of Energy published a roadmap for innovation in energy storage technologies and is seeking feedback. The plan specifically covers the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which is intended to accelerate the development, commercialisation and use of energy storage technologies. It aims to create a domestic manufacturing base and supply chain that is “independent of foreign sources of critical materials”, the DoE said.