The Tragic Recurrence of Debilitating Black Lung Disease

The negative health and environmental impacts of our nation’s continued reliance on coal as a fuel source for power plants appropriately receives significant attention in the media and in public policy debates. However, the health consequences for those working in underground coal mines have received much less attention.

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Fracking an Arid Landscape: New Report Examines Freshwater Availability near Gas Reserves

As governments around the world consider tapping into their shale gas reserves through fracking, a new report cautions them to consider a key factor: available freshwater. The World Resources Institute (WRI) found that 38 percent of shale resources lie beneath arid or water-stressed regions. These areas may face water shortages and disputes when fracking’s enormous thirst for water competes with other local uses.

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An Extreme Congressional Attack on Americans' Right to Breathe Healthy Air

Some conservative members of the Senate and House of Representatives introduced legislation this week bent on abolishing the 44-year-old health foundation for the Clean Air Act and eliminating Americans' right to breathe safe air. Senator John Thune (R-SD) co-sponsored the Senate bill with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and others. Representatives Pete Olson (R-TX) and Bob Latta (R-OH) co-sponsored the House bill.

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House Majority’s Last-Ditch Effort to Undermine Public Protections, Award Corporate Giveaways

With only a few workdays remaining in the current congressional session, House leaders have yet to address many important proposals. However, instead of focusing on the nation’s top priorities, the House majority plans to press ahead with its anti-regulatory, pro-industry agenda.

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Cooking the Books on the Costs of Rules

As part of the ongoing national effort by some in the business community and their allies in Congress to attack standards and safeguards, a report released today by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) provides a wildly exaggerated and unreliable estimate for the cost of federal rules in 2012. The report, prepared by economists W. Mark Crain and Nicole V.

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Tracking Toxic Trains in California and Boosting Federal Safeguards

The oil boom in North Dakota's Bakken region has led to more crude oil being transported by train throughout the country and, consequently, a rise in oil train accidents. On Aug. 29, California passed new legislation that would help emergency response officials prepare for potential disasters. The legislation would require rail companies to submit emergency response plans and inform officials about the movement of crude oil and other hazardous materials through the state. The bill dovetails with related federal efforts to boost rail safety.

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BP "Grossly Negligent" in 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On Sept. 4, a federal district court in Louisiana ruled that BP’s “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct” resulted in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and resulted in millions of barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. The finding could subject BP to roughly $18 billion in civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, or up to $4,300 for each barrel of oil that spilled into the Gulf.

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Counting the Costs of Carbon: White House Approach Bolstered by Investigative Report

Each ton of carbon pollution from cars, planes, and power plants comes with costs. It harms our environment and threatens our health, it drives climate change, and it negatively impacts our economy. The White House has attempted to develop a standard estimate of these costs, called the “social cost of carbon,” for agencies to use in analyzing the benefits of rules designed to reduce carbon emissions. In an Aug. 25 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) validated that effort.

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World Health Organization: Public Health Rules Needed to Curb E-Cigarette Risks

Contrary to industry advertising, a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other electronic nicotine delivery systems pose significant public health hazards because of toxins emitted from the devices. The agency recommends that countries adopt e-cigarette rules to prevent misleading marketing of the products and to educate the public about the potential health risks involved.

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Burning Money: Natural Gas Flaring Costs Millions in Lost Revenue

Nighttime satellite imagery makes it seem like a new metropolis has sprung up in the prairies of western North Dakota. But the large cluster of lights actually comes from natural gas flaring in the Bakken oil field. Flaring – or the burning of natural gas released in oil fracking – creates pollution and costs the state millions of dollars in lost taxes and royalties.

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