Debunking the Texas Miracle

In a Forbes opinion piece last week Christi Craddick, one of Texas’ three elected members of the Railroad Commission, the public entity responsible for regulating the oil and gas industries, asked that presidential candidates spell out their national energy plan – and suggested that Texas would serve as a good model.

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Two Years Ago, President Obama Directed Federal Agencies to Prevent Chemical Disasters. Are We Any Safer Now?

In April 2013, an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas killed 15 people, injured more than 200, and levelled nearby homes and schools. President Obama visited West in the aftermath and promised to improve our nation’s chemical safety laws. On Aug. 1, 2013, he issued an executive order directing federal agencies to revise their chemical safety policies to ensure that a West-type tragedy never happens again.

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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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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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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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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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Senate Committee Fails to Fix Flawed Chemical Bill

On April 28, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reviewed proposed legislation from Sens. David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-NM) to revise the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), our nation's primary chemical safety law. Despite numerous attempts to constructively amend the flawed bill, the committee failed to fix the legislation and sent it on to the Senate floor.

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Toxic Chemical Plagues Cleanup Crews Five Years after BP Oil Spill Disaster

Five years ago, an offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The BP oil spill fouled the Gulf with over 172 million gallons of crude oil. The aftermath of the spill is still visible on certain coastlines, and a toxic chemical that BP used to "clean up" the oil is still injuring people and wildlife in the region.

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Can We Get Serious about Train Safety? Technology Could Reduce 40 Percent of Rail Accidents

Last month, we wrote about the rise in crude oil train accidents and the need to approve federal crude-by-rail safeguards as quickly as possible. These rules, currently under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, would require thicker walls on oil tankards and impose speed limits on oil trains.

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The Administration's New Fracking Rule Has a Few Catches

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just released a long-awaited rule that regulates fracking on federal and tribal lands, the first revision to federal fracking standards in almost 30 years. BLM currently manages over 100,000 oil and gas wells – over 90 percent of which are fracked. The rule establishes minimum safeguards that must be followed when drilling occurs on federal or tribal lands.

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