New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

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

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Strawberry Fields Forever? California's Pesticide Addiction Harms Local Communities

If you've eaten strawberries recently, you can probably thank a California grower. Mild temperatures and an extended growing season mean that at least 80 percent of strawberries sold in the U.S. originate from the state. However, new research suggests that the tasty fruit comes with a heavy price for local communities because of the extensive use of harmful pesticides. Those living near strawberry fields face higher risks of cancer and other health problems from exposure to the chemicals.

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How to Strengthen Transparency in the U.S. Open Government Plan

Yesterday, OMB Watch submitted its recommendations for the Obama administration's national plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The administration will unveil its plan, with new concrete commitments to increase transparency, at the international OGP meeting on Sept. 20.

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Administration Fumbling Toward Scientific Integrity

The Obama administration's efforts to protect scientific integrity moved forward recently with the submission of five finalized agency policies and 14 draft policies, but progress has been slow and haphazard. The administration recognizes that sound, uncensored science is critically important to protecting public health and the environment. The administration also understands that agencies should foster a culture of scientific integrity that includes effective policies and oversight to protect science from political manipulation and research misconduct. However, it has yet to undo the damage wrought by the previous administration.

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Transparency Hearing Highlights Spending Data Issues

Even though Sunshine Week is officially this week, the House of Representatives got the ball rolling last Friday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform (say that ten times fast) held a hearing called "Transparency Through Technology: Evaluating Federal Open-Government Initiatives," although the hearing focused more on spending transparency than anything else. While one would expect that an oversight hearing in the House “evaluating” the Obama administration’s transparency efforts would be contentious, the most surprising aspect of the hearing was that it wasn’t.

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Get Ready for a Lot More Information on Government Performance

The Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act, now awaiting President Obama's signature, will significantly expand the amount of information available to the public about government performance.

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Why Doesn't Federal Spending Add Up?

A new report by the Sunlight Foundation found widespread errors in data.

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Time for Agency Data Quality Plans Comes and Goes with Little to Show

The Open Government Directive (OGD) issued on December 8, 2009 included a mandate that all agencies create a data quality plan that enhanced the transparency of how agencies spend federal funds.  Two weeks ago, these plans were supposed to be finalized and released to the public but so far we can only find one agency’s plan.

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New Recovery Act Memo Comes as Recipients Improve Reporting

On Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a new guidance on Recovery Act recipient reporting.  The memo expands on several earlier memos on the same topic, but it lays out more concrete steps for agencies to follow.

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What Happened to Obama’s Commitment to Scientific Integrity?

Today, March 9, is the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s scientific integrity memo which instructed his staff to produce within 120 days recommendations for ensuring independence of federal scientists and limiting political interference in their work. 365 days later, we’re still waiting.

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More Action Is Needed to Improve Recovery Act Data Quality

The Recovery Act may be a great step forward for spending transparency, but it is also exposing the problems of obtaining quality recipient reporting. Two new government reports show that recent revisions and additions to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rules on recipient reporting are not necessarily "magic bullets" for addressing reporting errors. The reports also make clear that ensuring that recipients have a clear understanding of existing guidance is a crucial aspect of any data quality improvement effort.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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