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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Plan B Decision "Not Typical," GAO Finds

A new GAO report has confirmed what most of us have been suspecting for months: that an FDA rejection of over-the-counter status for Plan B, commonly known as the "morning-after pill," was "highly unusual," involving atypical involvement from high-level officials and levels of scrutiny that are not applied to other over-the-counter drug applications.

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Fecal Matter Matters

Vegetarians, beware: In yet another threat to the long-term safety of our food supply, scientists have recently discovered that antibiotics given to farm animals are being passed through manure to food crops.

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More Yuckiness on Genetically Modified Crops

Perhaps you've already read our article in the latest issue of The OMB Watcher about developments in nanotech and genetically modified crops that spotlight gaps in our regulatory protections. Hungry for more on GMOs? Well, it turns out a Russian scientist tested Monsanto's RoundUp Ready genetically engineered soy by feeding it to a batch of female rats to compare the offspring of the GM-soy-fed rats with those of a control group:

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Tracking the Precautionary Principle

We've mentioned before that the Environmental Research Foundation, which already publishes the excellent Rachel's Environment and Health News, has launched a new newsletter focused on the precautionary principle. If you haven't subscribed to the email version, note that it is now available online: Rachel's Precaution Reporter.

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New Mad Cow Rule Fails to Close Loopholes

The Food and Drug Administration squandered yet another opportunity to close loopholes in its BSE firewall yesterday. According to an href=""> agency press release, a new rule proposed by FDA to control mad cow disease expands current protections by banning the use of specified-risk material-brain and spinal cord tissue-from older cattle, but the proposed rule fails to close loopholes that allow cattle to be fed other cow parts through restaurant plate scrapings, chicken litter, and calf formula. A proposed 2004 rule

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Senate to Vote on Grain Inspection Privatization

The Senate Agriculture Committee is set to vote today on the privatization of grain inspections. The provision is part of the reauthorization of the U. S. Grain Standards Act (S. 1582), which originally established a standardized and uniform grain inspection system for both domestic and exported U.S. grains. According to BNA's Daily Report for Executives (subscription only), industry is divided on support of the measure, which may save the grain industry money but could also damage the credibility of U.S. grain inspections.

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Data Quality, Uncertainty, Precaution

The latest issue of Rachel's Environment & Health News reviews the Data Quality Act and concludes with this sharp observation:

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States, Consumer Groups Sue over Energy Savings Standards

The Department of Energy has failed to revise energy savings standards for home appliances, prompting 15 states and New York City to file suit. In the 1990s, Congress instructed DOE to develop performance criteria for household appliances and to periodically update those standards. However, deadlines for updating the energy savings standards of 22 different home appliances expired six to 13 years ago, costing consumers billions of dollars, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a plaintiff in the suit.

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Americans Demand Focus on Domestic Policy

USA Today is reporting the results of the latest Pew poll, in which a majority expresses its desire for a renewed focus on domestic policy: More than half of Americans now say it is more important for the president to focus on domestic policy — the first time since Sept. 11, 2001 that domestic matters have been viewed as a higher priority than the war on terrorism in polling by the Pew Research Center. Two-thirds said the president could have done more to get relief efforts going quickly, according to the survey.

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Plan-B Decision Delayed by FDA

FDA officials announced that the agency will again delay its decision on the over-the-counter status of Plan B, or the "morning-after pill." The agency claims that it needs more time to evaluate how it will enforce an over-the-counter regulation. The agency also decided to arbitrarily raise the age limit for receiving Plan B without a prescription from 16 to 17. The agency was initially required to decide the Plan B OTC status in January, but the agency has delayed a decision ever since.

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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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