The SCRUB Act: Another Anti-Regulatory Bill Targets Health, Safety, and Environmental Protections

On Feb. 11, the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law held a hearing on yet another anti-regulatory bill that attempts to undermine our nation’s important health, safety, and environmental protections.

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Another Day, Another Coal Ash Spill

Between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash have poured into the Dan River from a closed North Carolina coal plant owned by utility company Duke Energy. The spill occurred Sunday afternoon after a stormwater pipe burst beneath a coal ash storage pond. 

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EPA Sustains Major Cuts to Developing and Enforcing Safeguards in FY 14 Appropriations

Despite an attempt by some to portray the $299 million increase in EPA's overall fiscal year 2014 budget as a positive compromise, those in Congress who oppose developing and enforcing public health and environmental safeguards have much to celebrate. Of particular concern, the budget includes major cuts to EPA's operations that develop and enforce public health and environmental protections.

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EPA Commits to Deadline for Final Action on Coal Ash Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take final action on coal ash standards by the end of the year, according to a settlement reached by EPA and groups involved in a lawsuit against the agency. The consent decree, filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, requires EPA to publish notice of a final action by Dec. 19, 2014.

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OSHA's Overlooked Gift to the Chemical Industry

A recent blog post by labor lawyer Steven Wodka highlights a concerning change in how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires chemical companies to classify cancer-causing chemicals that is likely to pose significant problems for OSHA’s ability to enforce how employers warn workers of the dangers associated with the chemicals they work with.

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UPDATED: Fast Track Authority on Trade Agreements Faces Dead End in Congress

UPDATE (01/31/2014):  Opposition to legislation that would grant the president trade promotion authority has escalated since the Camp-Baucus bill was introduced. On Jan. 27, 564 organizations, including Center for Effective Government, sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to reject the Camp-Baucus bill and seek a new form of trade authority.

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Spending Bill for the Rest of Fiscal Year 2014 Moves Forward

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have released the fiscal year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill that combines all 12 regular appropriations bills into one package to reduce the number of votes lawmakers need to take to set funding levels across the federal government. A stopgap spending bill will move to avoid a government shutdown before the omnibus itself is up for a vote. This omnibus would be the first bill in years where Congress has deliberately tweaked and set spending levels – spending for the last few years has generally been on autopilot with “continuing resolutions” simply extending prior fiscal year funding levels.

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West Virginia Chemical Spill Highlights Need For Improved Chemical Protections

The Jan. 9 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia provides an unfortunate case example of a much broader set of problems with our nation’s system of protecting the public from chemical exposures. An estimated 7,500 gallons of crude 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), a chemical used in coal production, leaked from a chemical company storage tank sited next to the Elk River, just upstream from Charleston’s major water treatment plant, and contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 residents.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Fracking Law Unconstitutional

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned parts of a controversial 2012 state law, called Act 13, which allowed gas companies to drill anywhere in the state without regard to local zoning laws. The Court’s decision upholds the ability of local governments to establish quality-of-life protections their constituencies want.

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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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