Factory Farms Take Federal Money, Refuse Disclosure of Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday announced plans to expand a program with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that uses tax money to help factory farms capture their methane pollution and burn it for energy. Before EPA and USDA spend more money on factory farms, the very least these facilities can do is agree to tell us how much they are polluting. Big Agriculture has successfully fought an attempt to measure the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from these large factories, known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). With these giant livestock operations in position to reap financial rewards from climate change policies, the public needs to know what they are emitting in order to measure progress and ensure accountability.

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Pollution and Justice 101

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be conducting a webinar to instruct the public on how to use the pollution information in the agency's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to support environmental justice efforts. In addition to teaching the basics about TRI, the webinar will feature real life examples of how communities have used TRI to address environmental justice concerns. We have encouraged EPA to reach out to the public and publicize the data and tools the agency provides; this webinar is an excellent opportunity for any citizen or public interest group to learn about a very valuable advocacy tool at their disposal.

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EPA's Pollution Right-to-Know Program Revived From 10-year Coma

After more than ten years in deep freeze, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now proposing steps to revitalize the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) – the bedrock public right-to-know program that tracks toxic pollution from thousands of businesses. Two recent EPA proposals would expand the number of chemicals reported to the program. This would be the first expansion since 1999. The proposals are small but important steps forward. However, EPA must do much more to boost the usefulness of this vital program.

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EPA Moves to Expand Greenhouse Gas Registry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed several changes to its greenhouse gas (GHG) registry, a new mandatory program requiring thousands of facilities economy-wide to monitor and report their emissions of global warming gases. EPA is proposing to add oil and natural gas facilities and facilities that inject carbon dioxide (CO2) underground for storage, along with other facilities. EPA also wants to collect additional data from all covered businesses to get a better understanding of emissions at the corporate level and within whole industry sectors, not just by facility. Overall the changes would strengthen the registry and provide the agency and the public with crucial additional information needed to design policies to mitigate climate change and hold polluters accountable.

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Bit by Bit, EPA Opening Up Toxics Program

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is taking another small step increasing transparency by providing free access to a key database that lists every chemical in commerce. Well…almost every chemical. Of the more than 84,000 chemicals on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory, the identities of almost 17,000 are kept secret because the manufacturers allege the information is confidential business information (CBI). Such CBI claims are widely abused by manufacturers, and with the EPA's acquiescence, large amounts of information are inappropriately withheld from the public. 

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Millions Protected From Toxic Terrorism, Congress Must Act to Protect More

More than 40 million Americans are no longer at risk from a poisonous cloud of gas released from a terrorist attack on water treatment plants thanks to process changes at the plants, according to data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The data, painstakingly compiled and analyzed by the Center for American Progress (CAP), reveal that 554 water treatment facilities across the country have converted to safer chemical processes since 1999. However, millions more remain at risk and the Senate is poised to take on this issue. 

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EPA Seeking Citizen Watchdogs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a new telephone hotline for citizens to report suspicious or unusual activities involving natural gas drilling. The "Eyes on Drilling Tipline" allows anyone to report activities such as dumping and other "illegal or suspicious hauling and/or disposal activities." Vigilant citizens can call the new toll-free number, 1-877-919-4EPA, or email eyesondrilling@epa.gov.

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EPA Seeking Comment on Disclosing Pesticide Ingredients

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will begin accepting public comments on its proposal to require pesticide manufacturers to label pesticide ingredients. Currently, pesticide makers must label the "active" ingredients in a pesticide, but they are not required to identify the so called inert ingredients. "Inerts" often are toxic or otherwise harmful substances in their own right.

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More Public Participation at EPA

The EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) is expanding public participation this month, launching a new online discussion forum on the EPA's blog and planning a "video town hall discussion" to discuss the Superfund.

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New Web Tools Help Public Track Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new feature on its website that uses several new interactive Web technologies that let users track the emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from coal-fired power plants. SO2 is a pollutant that causes acid rain and harm to public health. EPA's Acid Rain Program (ARP) has been tracking quarterly SO2 emissions from covered power plants since 1995. The new features are a welcome tool for helping the public and government officials track pollution, hold polluting facilities accountable, and ensure that policies to reduce pollution are working.

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