Interactive Map: Students, Others at Risk from Hazardous Chemical Facilities

One in ten American schoolchildren study within one mile of a potentially dangerous chemical facility, according to the Center for Effective Government's latest interactive map, which we released yesterday. A year ago, the fertilizer facility explosion in West, TX, which destroyed one school and irreparably damaged two others, demonstrated the very real risk these facilities pose, especially to schools and students. Parents and community members need to better understand the risks these facilities pose and demand that facilities be as safe as possible.

read in full

One Year after the West, Texas Explosion: Has Safety Improved?

A year ago today, 15 Americans were killed and 200 injured in a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that also destroyed surrounding schools, a nursing home, and residential buildings. The disaster raised serious questions about managing the risks that facilities can pose to local communities. A year later, we ask ourselves, are we any safer?

read in full

Preventing Chemical Disasters and Protecting Your Right to Know

On March 31, the Center for Effective Government filed comments with the Interagency Working Group established under President Barack Obama's Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. Our comments provide key recommendations to the Working Group that will help prevent chemical disasters and ensure that the public has information about the risks that chemical facilities pose to their communities.

read in full

National Response Center’s Database of Spills and Accidents “Down for Maintenance”

For almost a month, the National Response Center’s national database of spills and accidents of oil and hazardous substances has been offline “for maintenance,” but the public and companies can still submit reports of any spills and accidents by phone at 1-800-424-8802. The public can also receive the data via a Freedom of Information Act request.

read in full

RTK NET Publishes 2012 Toxics Release Inventory Data

Last week, the Right-to-Know Network (RTK NET) published the 2012 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data. This data provides public access to important U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data on the release and transfer of toxic chemicals in the United States.

TRI was established as a part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986, requiring EPA to make publicly available the releases and transfers of toxic chemicals above a certain threshold.

read in full

Groups Call on President to Keep Campaign Promise and Require GMO Labeling

The use of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) has increased enormously over the last decade but still lacks any labeling requirement or significant government oversight. Today, more than 200 organizations and businesses, including the Center for Effective Government, urged President Barack Obama to address this gap and require labeling of GMOs.

read in full

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Fracking Law Unconstitutional

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned parts of a controversial 2012 state law, called Act 13, which allowed gas companies to drill anywhere in the state without regard to local zoning laws. The Court’s decision upholds the ability of local governments to establish quality-of-life protections their constituencies want.

read in full

Chemical Risks Remain as We Wait for Federal Chemical Safety Reforms

Chemical incidents and injuries steadily continue as we wait for federal efforts to improve chemical safety and security to bear fruit. Last Friday, two employees were burned in a chemical explosion and fire at a petrochemical plant in Alsip, IL. This explosion is one of several across the country that have caused injuries and deaths in recent months.

read in full

Calls for Safer Chemicals Dominate Listening Session on Chemical Security

On Nov. 15, three federal agencies held the second of a series of “listening sessions” to improve chemical facility safety and security. Held in Washington, DC, the major point of discussion during the daylong session was on the need for the federal government to require high-risk facilities to convert to safer chemicals when available and affordable.

read in full

House Bills Give Free Reign to the Oil and Gas Industry – Undermine Public Participation

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills that would give the oil and gas industry free reign over federal lands and hinder public participation in environmental decision-making. Both bills, however, face an uphill battle in the Senate and the Obama administration has already vowed to veto them.

Here is a quick summary of the two bills:

read in full


Subscribe to The Fine Print: blog posts from Center for Effective Government