Five Years and Zero Rules Later, Will EPA Finally Issue Protections Against Toxic Coal Ash?

Sunday, December 22 will mark the fifth anniversary of a massive spill of coal ash in Tennessee that destroyed homes and spilled 1.1 billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres. This event sparked intensified calls for the regulation of coal ash, a waste by-product produced when coal is burned. Federal efforts to deal with the problem of coal ash have progressed slowly, but a recent court decision ordered the U.S.

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Farm Bill Deal Could Include Dangerous Provision to Undermine Agency Actions

A dangerous House “Sound Science” bill, H.R. 1287, that was largely incorporated into the House-passed farm bill could end up in the final farm bill conference agreement between the House and Senate.

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Government Contracting Policies Should Emphasize Safe Workplaces

Public contract money continues to flow to some corporations that have repeatedly put their own workers at excessive risk, even to companies where workers have died on the job, according to a report issued last week by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

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Shining a Light on Office of Management and Budget Rule Review Abuse

While anecdotes about the manipulation of the federal regulatory review process by the White House Office of Management and Budget have circulated for years, a recent Washington Post article on the delay of potentially controversial rules by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) prior to the 2012 elections is truly shocking.

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FDA’s Insufficient Response to Antibiotics in Food Animals

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidance on Dec. 11 that encourages manufacturers of antibiotic drugs used in food-producing animals (e.g., chickens, pigs, cattle) to voluntarily withdraw “medically important” antibiotics from the market by relabeling the products to indicate that their use is approved only for “assuring animal health” rather than for speeding up animal growth as is now often the case.

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Toxic Arsenic May Be in Your Thanksgiving Turkey

In a previous blog post on health concerns from the extensive use of antibiotics in the large-scale livestock industry, I noted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had finally withdrawn their approval for the use of three arsenic-based drugs used in feed for chickens, turkeys, and pigs to prevent disease, increase animal weight, and imp

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Calls for Safer Chemicals Dominate Listening Session on Chemical Security

On Nov. 15, three federal agencies held the second of a series of “listening sessions” to improve chemical facility safety and security. Held in Washington, DC, the major point of discussion during the daylong session was on the need for the federal government to require high-risk facilities to convert to safer chemicals when available and affordable.

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House Bills Give Free Reign to the Oil and Gas Industry – Undermine Public Participation

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills that would give the oil and gas industry free reign over federal lands and hinder public participation in environmental decision-making. Both bills, however, face an uphill battle in the Senate and the Obama administration has already vowed to veto them.

Here is a quick summary of the two bills:

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OSHA Proposes Requirements for Employers to File Workplace Injury and Illness Information Online

On Nov. 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses by transitioning to an online system for employers to submit such information. 

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EPA Developing New Standards to Curb Power Plant Water Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently began finalizing a proposed rule to reduce water pollution from coal-fired power plants and their related wastes. These pollutants include lead, mercury, arsenic, selenium, and other dissolved solids, which are harmful to both human health and aquatic life.

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