Working 9 to 5: Upgraded Overtime Rule Could Help Restore 40-Hour Work Week for Millions of Americans

Last week, the White House announced a long-anticipated new rule that upgrades Americans' access to overtime pay. Worker advocates, economists, and unions have been working with the Obama administration and U.S. Department of Labor for years to modernize the rules on overtime, and thanks to their efforts, millions of salaried employees will be paid for the work they do beyond the standard 40 hours per week.

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Rachel Carson Was Right: World Health Organization on Pesticides and Cancer

In 1962, Rachel Carson published a groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, that rang the alarm about the health and environmental impacts of rampant pesticide use – on our crops, lawns, and gardens. Two of those toxic chemicals – DDT and lindane – were the subject of a recent World Health Organization review. The agency found that they pose cancer risks to humans, highlighting the need for more effective public protections against dangerous pesticides.

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Pennsylvania Residents Near Fracking Sites Report Health Problems

Last week, Food & Water Watch released the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s log of health complaints from communities living near fracking sites. The logs include many of the health complaints that critiques have linked to fracking for years – and the state’s inadequate response. 

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A Victory for Americans' Safety: Senate Rejects Proposal that Would Have Crippled the National Weather Service

As a college undergraduate, I majored in meteorology. When you walk into your first college meteorology class, you ask your classmates two questions: 1) Which weather event made you want to be a meteorologist? 2) Do you want to be a broadcast meteorologist or work for the National Weather Service (NWS)? While Americans usually hear a tornado or winter storm warning from meteorologists on television or radio, it is the unseen and unheard professionals at the National Weather Service who issue the warnings. But Sen. John Thune (R-SD) recently introduced a bill with a provision that would have cut weather service jobs and made it harder for the agency to alert the public when hazards arise. Following strong criticism and opposition, the Senate tabled this part of the bill.

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Does EPA's New Finding on Airplane Emissions Clear the United States for Takeoff on Climate Change Standards?

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed finding that linked airplane emissions to climate change and adverse public health effects, setting the stage for future standards on aircraft emissions. In the past few years, the EPA has moved forward with regulating greenhouse gases from electricity and transportation, which make up 60 percent of all climate change pollution in the U.S. Will it push one more rule through?   

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Dysfunction Junction: Another Industry-backed Effort to Delay Crucial Safeguards and Cripple the Regulatory Process

 

Effective public safeguards protect all of us from toxic chemicals, air pollution, water contamination, and unsafe food. Streamlining the process of strengthening and updating these standards would help us fight new and emerging dangers. But earlier this year, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) quietly introduced a resolution that would inject Congress into the federal regulatory review process and slam the brakes on a rulemaking system that is already fraught with delays that put people's lives and health at risk.

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Once Again, Benefits of Public Standards and Safeguards Far Outweigh Costs

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued an annual report to Congress that finds the benefits of major standards and safeguards far outweigh their costs. It serves as yet another indicator of the value of public protections and the positive impacts they have on Americans' everyday lives.

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Map Displays Five Years of Oil Pipeline Spills

On June 14, a natural gas pipeline ruptured and burst into flames near Cuero, Texas, releasing an estimated 165,000 pounds of toxic volatile organic compounds into the air. Nearby residents evacuated their homes, but no one was injured. Still, the accident serves as another reminder of the dangers of transporting natural gas and other hazardous materials.

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Time for Three Strikes and You're Out for Banks?

On May 20, five of the biggest banks in the world pleaded guilty to charges of interest rate manipulation and agreed to pay $2.8 billion in fines for the felonies they committed. Two of the banks, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup, are U.S.-based. Each has a long rap sheet of recent settlements for their corporate misdeeds, and each has paid large fines and settlements -- nearly $35 billion in the case of JP Morgan Chase. But otherwise, these businesses go on with no reduction of rights or privileges and with no decision makers being sent to prison.

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"I Am Suffocating Under a Pile of Student Loan Debt"

Student loan debt is now the largest contributor to our country’s overall debt burden. The total amount of student loan debt is now more than $1.2 trillion, and on average, students graduate with $30,000 of debt, which can take 20 years or more to pay off.

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