Charise Johnson

Researcher, Center for Science & Democracy

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Charise Johnson is a research associate in the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She works primarily in partnership with justice-based groups, providing analysis that connects data-driven research with public health and community impacts. See Charise's full bio.

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The endangered margay. Photo: Proyecto Asis/Flickr

The Endangered Species Act is Itself Endangered

In the last two weeks, both the Senate and House have introduced bills proposing damaging amendments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the leading piece of science-based legislation used to protect and recover biodiversity in the United States. Notably, Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and long-time critic of the Act, released a discussion draft of the bill he’s been working on entitled, “the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018.” The changes to the Act would introduce more routes for political interference under the guise of increased transparency, while relegating science to an afterthought instead of the basis upon which Endangered Species Act decisions are made. An EPW hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning, where representatives from Wyoming, Colorado, and Virginia will testify before the committee on the proposed changes to the Act.

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Photo: Proyecto Asis
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The endangered marbled murrelet.

Keep Your Paws Off: Three Ways Congress is Preying on Endangered Species Protections

It seems there is a doggedly persistent contingent of lawmakers in Congress whose life goals include defunding, weakening, ignoring, and overhauling endangered species protections. Their tactics are varied: sidelining science in favor of industry interests, attaching harmful riders to “must-pass” spending bills, and introducing legislation whose insidious intentions are masked by semantics. Here is a quick rundown of current endangered species attacks. Read more >

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The Chevron Richmond refinery fire, August 6, 2012. Photo: Greg Kunit/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Flickr)

Contents Under Pressure: Speak Out Against EPA Proposed Chemical Facility Safety Rollbacks That Put Communities at Risk

Over the last year, we have written extensively on the actions that Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken to eliminate or weaken critical science-based protections, particularly on chemical facility safety. From the outset, Pruitt was determined to delay the implementation of updates to the Risk Management Plan(RMP) that called for the assessment of safer technologies, more accessible and quality information for communities near facilities, and improved emergency response coordination. Now with a new proposed rule, the saga continues as the EPA under Pruitt moves one step closer to eliminating hard-fought improvements to the RMP. Read more >

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Between Two Terns: A Conversation on Endangered Species and Social Justice

Endangered Species Day was introduced as a resolution by Congress in 2006 to encourage “the people of the United States to become educated about, and aware of, threats to species, success stories in species recovery, and the opportunity to promote species conservation worldwide.” This year, Endangered Species Day (May 18) began with a devastating school shooting. It really had me questioning how appropriate it would be to emphasize the importance of wildlife conservation while so many in the world and our nation seem to place little value on human lives. Read more >

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Damien Jones, the equity and justice outreach specialist for the Climate and Energy Program at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC.

Tell Secretary Alex Azar: We Need to Demand Equitable Gun Violence Research and Reform

It has been only six weeks since last I wrote about gun violence in America, following the Parkland shooting that took seventeen lives and impacted a nation. In that time there have been 22 more mass shootings, at least 10 of them at schools. The number of deaths by guns in 2018 is at 3,423, and we’re only 89 days into the year—that’s about 38 human lives lost per day. In that time, hundreds of thousands of people have voiced their outrage and concerns over our country’s inaction around gun violence, as we witnessed at last weekend’s March for Our Lives. Read more >

Ted Eytan
Damien Jones
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