EPA Proposes Limits on Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Existing Power Plants

On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its long-awaited proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

read in full

$3 Million Awarded to Texas Family Harmed by Fracking Toxins

A recent court decision out of Dallas County, Texas has made national headlines after a jury awarded $2.925 million in damages to a family harmed by Aruba Petroleum's intentional release of air toxins from fracking wells located near the family's home.

read in full

Spring 2014 Unified Agenda: Agencies Expect Lengthy Delays of Critical Safeguards in Year Ahead

On May 23, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) quietly published its semi-annual agenda of federal agencies’ regulatory plans for significant actions expected during the upcoming year. Unfortunately, the Spring 2014 Unified Agenda does not send a strong message that the administration expects to finalize many critical safeguards, some pending for years, over the next 12 months.

read in full

President Obama Wants More Drone Transparency, Congress Misses an Opportunity

On May 28, President Obama acknowledged the need for increased transparency about the administration’s national security activities, particularly with regard to lethal strikes by drone aircraft. However, Congress recently missed an opportunity to bring about such disclosure.

read in full

Minnesota Bans Common Antibacterial Chemical

Minnesota recently went on record as the first state to ban triclosan, a chemical commonly found in antibacterial soaps and body washes. A bill signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton will take effect Jan. 1, 2017, prohibiting the use of triclosan in products "used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing."

read in full

Medicare Data Is Informing Public Understanding of Health Care

The April release of Medicare’s vast trove of payment data has triggered a torrent of reports illustrating just how useful this data can be for patients and providers. While many of the articles have focused on how much Medicare pays doctors, the data have also provided valuable context for broader pieces on the state of American health care.

read in full

Six Months after Emergency Unemployment Benefits Expired, 2.9 Million Americans Left Behind

While the monthly jobs numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate official unemployment is gradually falling, there were still 9.8 million Americans out of work in April, of which 3.5 million were unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Americans are still hurting, and Congress needs to take action immediately.

read in full

DATA Act Becomes Law, Increased Transparency on Federal Spending to Follow

On May 9, President Obama quietly signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) into law. Congress and open government advocates across the political spectrum worked for years to refine and pass the spending transparency legislation. The new law, if properly implemented, will be a big win for everyone.

read in full

West Virginia Mine Deaths Highlight Need for Congressional Action on Mine Safety

Two miners were killed May 12 while working at Brody Mine No. 1 in West Virginia, a coal mine with a history of "significant and substantial" violations, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). While the cause of these two deaths remains under investigation, the incident is just the most recent example of the inadequacy of current mine safety and health programs that are intended to protect miners from on-the-job hazards. To correct these problems and prevent future disasters, MSHA must improve its oversight and enforcement of hazardous mining operations, and Congress must provide the agency the resources it needs to accomplish its important mission.

read in full

U.S. Defense Spending in Eight Charts

This week, the House is expected to debate and vote on the 2015 Defense Appropriations Act. On May 7, the House Armed Services Committee unanimously approved $496 billion in discretionary spending and $79.4 billion in war operations spending for the budget that starts Oct. 1. We explore how this stacks up against the rest of the world, who benefits most from defense spending, and what these funding levels mean for other national priorities.

read in full