Yellowstone River Spill Shows the Risks of Keystone to Public Health and Natural Resources

On Jan. 17, an oil pipeline leaked an estimated 50,000 gallons of crude oil along the Yellowstone River near Glendive, Montana. The incident contaminated the town's municipal water system, highlighting the risk of building pipelines near water sources and elevating concerns about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

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Keystone Pipeline: Foreign Profits, American Risk

Media coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline is coalescing around a single narrative. It goes like this: environmentalists oppose the pipeline because of climate change concerns, and U.S. construction companies support the pipeline because it creates jobs. Environmentalists warn that tar sands crude oil has three times the global warming potential of conventional crude. Oil industry interests shrug and say Canadian companies will continue to extract tar sands, with or without the pipeline. Pipeline opponents then counter: fewer than 50 permanent jobs will be needed to staff the pipeline, a few thousand temporary construction jobs to build it. But this rendering of the debate misses the larger picture.

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New Legislation Aims to End High-Frequency Trading but Misses Opportunity to Invest in Critical, Underfunded Public Needs

Earlier this week, Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduced a much-needed sales tax on Wall Street transactions. The legislation would largely put an end to high-frequency trading by firms seeking to game the market.

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Lawmakers Push to Stop Tax Haven Abuse

On Jan. 13, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act. The bill would eliminate incentives for U.S. companies to shift jobs overseas, close offshore loopholes to ensure corporations are paying their fair share in taxes, and change rules on corporate inversions

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Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

On Jan. 14, the Obama administration announced its strategy to reduce oil and gas industry methane emissions by 40-45 percent over the next decade. This is a key element of the administration's Climate Action Plan for reducing greenhouse gases and curbing climate change.

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Investing in Our Future: President’s Proposal Promises Free Community College Tuition

The White House has released a proposal to allow students to attend community college for free for their first two years if they work hard and keep their grades up. The “America’s College Promise” plan prioritizes public investments in more affordable education and could benefit as many as 9 million American students enrolled in community colleges across the country.

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114th Congress Begins Attack on Public Protections with So-Called Regulatory Accountability Act

On Jan. 7, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 185). This measure would cripple our process for issuing and enforcing the rules that ensure we have clean air and water, safe food and consumer products, fair wages and safe workplaces, stable financial markets, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and so many other essential protections.

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First Bill Introduced in 114th Congress Attempts to Force Approval of Costly Keystone XL Pipeline

On the first day of the 114th Congress, Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S. 1), which would attempt to force the Obama administration to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline without first addressing its significant environmental impacts.

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Downward Trend Continues in Enforcement of Environmental Standards

Don’t be surprised if you missed hearing about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual report on its compliance and enforcement efforts for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The report, released the week before Christmas with little public or media attention, highlights what has become a disturbing downward trend over the past several years. Reductions in enforcement can mean less compliance with pollution control requirements and more exposure to toxic chemicals, putting human health and natural resources at risk.

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Breathing Easier Because of the Clean Air Act

Today is the birthday of the Clean Air Act, legislation signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon forty-four years ago. This law is the centerpiece and platform for protecting the quality of the air we breathe. It took decades of work to get clean air laws passed, and over time amendments have been added to strengthen our air quality standards and to respond to new risks. This is the story of how we established standards to protect a public good that we all need, but most of us take for granted.

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