BIO pauses all political donations – plus, big biofuels news

January 12, 2021
In the wake of last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol and democracy, BIO will put all political donations on hold while reassessing criteria for determining which candidates to financially support. Keep reading for the details. We also have biofuels news from the U.S…
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In the wake of last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol and democracy, BIO will put all political donations on hold while reassessing criteria for determining which candidates to financially support. Keep reading for the details. We also have biofuels news from the U.S. Supreme Court and several states, and a recap of yesterday’s WuXi Global Forum during JPM Week. (826 words, 4 minutes, 7 seconds)

 

Standing up for democracy and science, BIO pauses all political donations

 
 

Yesterday, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath released a new statement condemning the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol and announcing that all political donations by BIO would be put on hold as the organization reassesses its criteria for determining which candidates it will financially support. 

Watch her statement.

Read our blog post explaining the statement—and why science and democracy go hand in hand.

 
 
 
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Biofuels in the news, from the U.S. Supreme Court to the states

 
 

BIO expects efforts to tackle climate change will heat up this year, and sustainable fuels provide a readily available solution. Right now, the sustainable fuels sector relies on the Renewable Fuel Standard but a more stable, predictable policy is needed. Here’s what to watch.

For those who are new here, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires oil refineries to mix a certain percentage of biofuel in U.S. transportation fuel—but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can issue waivers to small refineries. (Breaking: EPA is expected to grant new waivers this week, reports Reuters.)

The Trump administration’s EPA issued an unprecedented number of these waivers—prompting the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that the EPA “overstepped” on some exemptions and saying they need to reconsider some of them. (More background here and here.) 

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case in April, reports Reuters—contributing to more uncertainty in sustainable fuels policy.

However, with Democrats in control of Congress, there could be an opportunity to pass a national low-carbon fuel standard, “a cornerstone” of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis action plan, we previously reported

We might see more state low-carbon fuel standards, too, adding to existing standards in California and Oregon

In New York, the state assembly is set to take up legislation to establish a statewide standard. Opening the legislative session yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted plans to become “a leader in the growing green energy economy.”

In Washington State, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a low-carbon fuel standard in his 2021-2023 budget proposal. A bill has been pre-filed in the state legislature. 

Gene’s Genius: It appears Washington State will soon join California and Oregon in addressing transportation pollution through a low carbon fuel standard. Much work needs to be done, but BIO continues to engage with lawmakers to illustrate the public health and economic benefits that will result from a clean fuel policy. We are also optimistic that New York will seriously consider similar legislation, especially as the state looks to become a leader in the growing green economy. – Gene Harrington, Director of State Advocacy and Government Affairs, Food and Agriculture

 

More Agriculture and Environment News:

Reuters: China to approve further domestic GMO corn, soy crop varieties
“The move comes after China last year approved three domestically designed GMO crops as safe, the first in a decade, in a fresh push towards commercial planting of GMO crops in the world’s top soybean importer and a major corn buyer.”

 
 
 
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Lessons from COVID-19 on accelerating innovation and helping patients

 
 

BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath joined global experts during the WuXi Global Forum 2021—a key event during JPM Week—to discuss how the biotechnology industry was able to accelerate innovation and get breakthroughs to patients. Read the full recap, and a few highlights below. 


 
BIO's Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath spoke at the WuXi Global Forum during JPM Week 2021.
 

The pandemic posed “almost every challenge imaginable” for the biotech industry, said Dr. Michelle. 

However, it was “remarkable to see how the industry rose to the challenge” with unprecedented collaboration and speed to deliver new solutions to patients. In one year, the industry launched 838 programs targeting COVID-19. (See the progress at BIO’s COVID-19 Therapeutic Development Tracker.)

In discussing the role of collaborating and data sharing, Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Association (BIO’s sister association in the UK) noted the importance of intellectual property. 

Without IP protections, it would have been “very difficult to do this at the pace and scale that we’ve seen.” 

“We now know what science can deliver when we have a concerted and focused effort to get there,” said Dr. Michelle. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” 

“Science is not the stumbling block—it’s collaboration, short market access, contact with regulators and regulatory flexibility that doesn’t compromise on safety or efficacy but is rapid in its response and adaptation, collaboration on clinical trial networks,” she said. 

Luckily, “these are problems we can fix.” Read the whole thing for five things to do.

 

More Health Care News:

The New York Times: Alzheimer’s drug shows promise in small trial
“[A]n experimental Alzheimer’s drug slowed the rate at which patients lost the ability to think and care for themselves, the drug maker Eli Lilly announced on Monday." 

 
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President Trump’s Tuesday: Heading to Alamo to visit the U.S.-Mexico border wall

President-elect Biden’s Tuesday: He’s planning a “go-big” stimulus plan, reports Bloomberg.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Yesterday, House Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach President Trump on “incitement of insurrection” and plan to vote on Wednesday, per CNN. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding a plan to fix “significant failures” in the vaccine rollout, reports POLITICO.

 
 
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