UPDATE: President Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

UPDATE (2/25/2015): President Obama followed through on his pledge and vetoed the Keystone XL bill on Tuesday, within hours of the bill arriving at his desk.

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Settlement in Public Interest Lawsuit Should Improve Fracking Disclosure in Wyoming

Drilling companies nationwide have been keeping the identities of many fracking chemicals a secret by simply stamping them "confidential business information," also known as "trade secrets." In Wyoming, regulators had long accepted these claims with little validation, and residents were left in the dark about the toxic chemicals being injected into the ground near their homes, schools, and water supplies. A recent settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed by public interest groups, including the Center for Effective Government, will change this practice.

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Toxic Industrial Releases Rose 14 Percent in 2013, Primarily Due to Metal Mining Wastes

Data from the Toxics Release Inventory released last month reveals significant increases in toxic pollution across the country in 2013. Toxins released from industrial facilities into surrounding communities increased by more than 500 million pounds, or 14 percent, between 2012 and 2013.  This is the most significant increase in toxins in years. (See our Right-to-Know Network (RTK NET) website).

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Freedom of Information Act Reform Prevails over Last-Minute Holds

In the final days of the 113th Congress, the Senate successfully passed bipartisan legislation to reform the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The measure prevailed after several senators placed holds on the bill, temporarily blocking a vote. The last hold, by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), was lifted Monday afternoon, and the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent. The House, which already passed a version of the legislation, now has a handful of days to approve the Senate bill and send it to President Obama for his signature. 

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Strawberry Fields Forever? California's Pesticide Addiction Harms Local Communities

If you've eaten strawberries recently, you can probably thank a California grower. Mild temperatures and an extended growing season mean that at least 80 percent of strawberries sold in the U.S. originate from the state. However, new research suggests that the tasty fruit comes with a heavy price for local communities because of the extensive use of harmful pesticides.   Those living near strawberry fields face higher risks of cancer and other health problems from exposure to the chemicals.

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Outgoing Maryland Governor Proposes Strongest Fracking Protections in the Nation

Maryland may soon join neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania by allowing fracking in the state. Outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley announced that he will open the doors to drilling companies as long as they follow strict safeguards for protecting public health and the environment.

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Mapping DuPont's Deadly Chemical Leak

On Saturday, Nov. 15, a toxic chemical leak at a DuPont manufacturing plant outside of Houston killed four workers and hospitalized another, serving as another troubling example of the need for stronger chemical safety standards. The chemical involved in the leak, methyl mercaptan, can cause eye and lung irritation and can be fatal at high levels. Numerous other U.S. facilities use and store this chemical, including those featured in a new interactive map by the Center for Effective Government.

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Perilous Powder: Asbestos in Cosmetics Causes Lung Cancer

When people think of asbestos, they may envision trained workers in hazmat suits removing asbestos insulation from older buildings. What many people don’t realize is that asbestos is still used in a variety of consumer products ranging from clothing to floor tiles. A recent peer-reviewed study found asbestos in one brand of talcum powder and linked its use to a woman’s death from lung cancer.

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New Study Finds Life-Threatening Formaldehyde Levels at Fracking Sites

People living near fracking sites have reported health problems for years, with symptoms ranging from respiratory ailments to birth defects. But because air and water quality are often not monitored near fracking sites, surprisingly little is known about the overall public health impacts of the gas drilling process.

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New Interactive Maps Show Chemical Risks in Legislative Districts

As we near the midterm elections, voters are considering many important issues, from the economy to fair wages to health care. But have you considered whether children in your legislative district are safe from chemical disasters? New interactive maps released by the Center for Effective Government show the percentage of schoolchildren at risk of chemical catastrophes in congressional districts and state legislative districts. The results are alarming.

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