This week, all eyes have been on Washington, D.C., as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of sexual assault, both testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We looked into the best practices for interviewing victims of sexual assault, Kavanaugh's flippant responses to female senators, and what the research says about false sexual assault allegations.
But there's plenty more to report on, and our small newsroom has been working, as always, to keep up with key other developments around the country. Here are a few more stories we've been watching this week.
The EPA Is Getting Rid of the Office of the Science Adviser
Though the decision hasn't been publicly announced, an anonymous source told the New York Times that the Environmental Protection Agency plans to eliminate the position of a science adviser whose role is to make sure sound science is used throughout the agency. Under the Trump administration, a spate of events—including the proposal of a controversial "secret science" rule—has led to concerns that the EPA and other government agencies are seeking to limit the use of scientific research in their policy-making. An EPA spokesman told the Times that the decision to get rid of this position would "eliminate redundancies."
In the Carolinas, Flooding Continues as Recovery Begins
Though it's been two weeks since Hurricane Florence made landfall, widespread flooding has continued across parts of North and South Carolina. The death toll from the storm now stands at 48, including an 85-year-old man who died on Tuesday from an infection in a wound he suffered while attempting to clean up his property after the storm, the Associated Press reports. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has estimated agricultural losses due to the storm at over $1.1 billion, compared to just $400 million after 2016's Hurricane Matthew.
Yellowstone Grizzlies Are Back on the Endangered Species List—for Now
In a victory for conservationists, a federal judge on Monday ordered that the protections provided under the Endangered Species Act be restored to grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone area. This news came as a sport hunt of Yellowstone grizzlies loomed for the first time in more than 40 years. The re-designation of the bears as endangered effectively cancels the hunt.
But as is so often the case with environmental fights, though a battle was won, the war continues: Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) on Wednesday introduced legislation to delist the bears. The Flathead Beacon reports that Democrats and conservation advocates called this and other new pushes from Republicans to change the Endangered Species Act itself "a wildlife extinction package."