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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President Bush Amends Rulemaking Process

This afternoon, President Bush announced amendments to Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review. EO 12866, originally issued by President Clinton, places the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) squarely in the middle of agencies' rulemaking process. President Bush's amendments go even further in allowing the White House to force its own agenda on agencies. The most notable of the new amendments:
  • Impose a market failure criterion where agencies had previously been able to regulate based upon identification of threats to public welfare.

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Climate Change Opposition Funded by ExxonMobile

Ever wonder where all these climate change denialist groups came from? It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to guess they were funded by the oil and gas industry, but it did take the Union of Concerned Scientists to string together the facts, and the evidence is pretty damning. A new ">report from the Union of Concerned Scientists documents how the gas industry, and particularly ExxonMobil, has dumped millions of dollars into Astroturf organizations that seek to foster doubt about

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EPA Takes Positive Action on Pressure-treated Lumber

Monday, EPA rejected calls from industry to allow the use of a chromium based substance in pressure-treated lumber. The chemical, acid copper chromate (ACC), contains a known carcinogen, hexavalent chromium. This decision is a continuation of a positive trend EPA began in 2004 when the agency banned arsenic from pressure-treated lumber. Kudos to citizens and public interest groups such as Environmental Working Group who called for the ban on ACC; and thanks to EPA for preserving the safety of a product so common in our everyday lives. Read Washington Post coverage of the issue here.

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An Unimpressive Century of Food Safety

This week marks the 100th Anniversary of the implementation of the Pure Food and Drug Act, a landmark piece of legislation calling for federal inspection of food products and paving the way for the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. However, as a January 2 New York Times editorial points out, advances in food safety are far from adequate considering how much time has elapsed.

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An Agenda to Weaken Protections

Agencies released today the Fall 2006 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan, which sums up the work of the last six months and sets priorities for the coming year. Unfortunately, this year's regulatory plan has a few too many familiar faces. Agencies have failed to make progress on important regulations such as reducing worker's exposure to crystalline silica or upgrading energy efficiency standards. What's even more troubling about the Bush's regulatory plan for 2007 is the return of some industry favorites that aim to rollback health, safety and environmental standards.

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Good News on Dudley

According to the Federal Times, the Dudley nomination may be indefinitely on hold: The nomination of President Bush’s controversial pick to head the government’s regulatory policy office is dead, according to a leading Republican senator. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who chairs the committee considering the nomination, said she decided not to bring the nomination of Susan Dudley to a vote this month by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She said she did this because of the lack of time remaining in this Congress and opposition to Dudley’s nomination from Democrats.

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FDA Negotiates Increase in Drug Company User Fees

Amidst concerns raised by public interest advocates, the Food and Drug Administration is negotiating with drug industry representatives to increase controversial user fees, according to news reports.

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NRDC Wins Battle to Raise Energy Efficiency Standards

After years of the Department of Energy dragging its feet on producing new energy efficiency standards for appliances, the Natural Resources Defense Council, two low-income consumers groups and 15 states have forced the agency into action through a settlement issued November 13. The lawsuit contended that the Department of Energy was as much as 13 years behind on issuing new standards. Now, under court order, the DOE will be forced to issue new energy efficiency standards on a strict timetable.

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USDA Backs Away from Animal ID System

Prompted by pressure from industry, USDA has backed away from requiring ranchers to ID livestock in a federal database. The database was proposed last year in order to allow the agency to quickly track and stop the spread of disease between animals as well as disease spread from animals to humans. Currently, 23 percent of farms are voluntarily registered in the program. In April, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced a timetable and implementation plan for the ID system, calling for all farms to be registered by 2009.

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Dudley Evades Democrats' Probes in Hearing

Monday's hearing on the nomination of Susan Dudley to be the new director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in OMB did little to reveal Dudley's positions on a variety of issues. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the current chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, was the only Republican member of the committee to attend the hearing. The incoming chair, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), did not attend the hearing but submitted an extensive list of questions to Dudley prior to the hearing.

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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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