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.

read in full

Drinking Diesel? Fracking Companies Use Toxic Substance without Permits

When it comes to protecting drinking water, fracking companies have just one federal rule to follow – get a permit if they are using diesel. But a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) indicates that many drillers can’t even abide by this simple requirement.

read in full

Election Transparency Threatened by Lack of Resources for Key Agency

Impeded by a lack of resources, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been slow to publicly release recent campaign finance disclosures. The FEC is the independent agency charged with enforcing federal election laws and making campaign finance information available to the American people. This information is vital, particularly in the wake of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that gutted our campaign finance laws, and significant delays in releasing such data are of serious concern to the health of our democracy.

read in full

GAO Report Finds Problems with EPA Groundwater Protection Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not adequately monitoring more than 172,000 wells used to enhance oil and gas drilling and dispose of drilling wastewater, according to a July 28 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on two years of research, identified several significant problems with EPA's program to protect groundwater from drilling chemicals and wastes.

read in full

Billions of Dollars Missing From Government Spending Website

Last December, National Priorities Project and the Center for Effective Government noted that "hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending are missing from USASpending, the website designed to show the public how their tax dollars are spent."

read in full

Obama’s Executive Order to Improve Chemical Facility Safety, One Year Later

One year ago today, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, which directs federal agencies to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities. The order came in response to a string of chemical disasters, including the April 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 200.

read in full

Report Finds Flaws in Small Business Advocacy Office

According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy has failed to develop and implement procedures necessary to ensure the office is effectively carrying out its mission of representing small businesses before federal agencies.  

Background

read in full

EPA Requests Public Comments on Chemical Safety Standards

On July 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a preview of its Request for Information (RFI) on revisions to its Risk Management Program, which tracks information and requires disaster prevention plans from potentially risky chemical facilities.

read in full

Pitched Battle for GMO Labeling Continues

Update (07/24/2014): On July 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew its GMO disclosure rule, previously proposed in February 2013. The rule would have allowed the USDA to share information with state regulators about the flow of genetically engineered organisms into and out of a state. The USDA obtains information about farmers’ GMO use through registrations and permit applications

read in full

Momentum Growing as Campaign Finance Amendment Clears Senate Committee

On July 10, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support S.J. Res. 19, a proposed constitutional amendment that would restore the ability of Congress and the states to regulate money in elections. The amendment was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) amid growing concerns over the influence of money in politics, particularly following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

read in full