EPA Addresses Misinformation Surrounding Proposed “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

Update (07/17/2014): On July 16, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a number of measures to limit the EPA's ability to regulate water pollution. These measures would entirely halt the agency's proposed "Waters of the U.S." rule and restrict the timeframe that the EPA has to veto pollution permits. Under the bills passed by the committee, individual states will have greater authority over water pollution permits.

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Bipartisan Unemployment Benefits Bills in Both Houses

Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have introduced a bill (S. 2532) in the Senate to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed for five months. Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) have introduced companion legislation (H.R. 4970) in the House of Representatives.

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What is this Country about Anymore?

Meet Mark. He's a 58 year old, college-educated veteran who lives in Oregon. He was laid off last September and has been unable to find work since. Mark's state unemployment benefits ran out in May. Since funding for the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was cut last December, Mark and more than three million other Americans, including nearly 300,000 veterans, have been denied access to a second six months of support — a vital financial lifeline in this tough economy. Mark is way behind in his rent, is selling everything of value he owns, and fears he will be homeless soon.

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Campaign Transparency Efforts Continue in Congress and the FCC

Amid growing concerns about untracked spending on elections, two different efforts are underway to try to shed new light on this critical aspect of our democracy. First, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on June 24 reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act, which would require groups trying to influence elections to disclose their funding sources. Second, the July 1 reporting deadline for the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) online political file rule has arrived. The rule requires broadcast television stations to post information online about political advertisements.

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New York State’s High Court Upholds Towns’ Right to Ban Fracking

The New York State Court of Appeals issued a decision on June 30 that will shape the future of natural gas fracking in the state. In a vote of 5-2, the court ruled that local townships have the right to ban hydraulic fracturing within their borders. The decision upheld earlier rulings by the state’s lower courts that recognized the rights of the towns of Dryden and Middlefield to issue moratoriums on fracking.

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States Work to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Children's Products

New York's Child Safe Products Act failed to make it to the state Senate floor prior to the end of the legislative session last Friday, despite being passed by the New York State Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill would have better protected children by tightening standards on toxic chemicals used in kids' products, from car seats to toys to clothes. New York is one of several states seeking to create stronger chemical safeguards than currently exist at the federal level.

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UPDATE: Supreme Court Invalidates President’s Recess Appointees to NLRB

UPDATE (06/27/2014): On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in NLRB v. Noel Canning, unanimously affirming the D.C. Circuit’s invalidation of three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made by President Obama on Jan. 4, 2012. However, the Court split 5-4 on its rationale for the decision.

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Supreme Court Confirms EPA Ability to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to require large industrial sources to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The 7-2 decision represents a major victory for EPA’s efforts to combat climate change.

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To Fix Our Roads, We Need to Repair the Potholes in the Budget

In about a month, the nation’s Highway Trust Fund, the principal source of funding for repairing and rebuilding our country’s highways, will run dry. Paving projects across the country will grind to a halt, and construction workers, currently making good money, will join nearly 10 million of their fellow unemployed Americans.

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Massive Fracking on Federal Lands Overwhelms Critical Inspections

Forty percent of the highest-risk oil and gas wells drilled on federal lands over the past several years have gone uninspected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), according to a recent Associated Press (AP) analysis. The massive boom in oil and gas drilling on federal and tribal lands, primarily using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) techniques, has resulted in a one-third increase in oil and gas wells since 2007, with a total of more than 100,000 wells.

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