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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OIRA meets on animal feed rule

OIRA met with animal feed associations and cattle associations from both the U.S. and Canada to discuss substances prohibited in animal feed. Loopholes in the mad cow disease regulations allow cow parts to be fed back to cows in animal feed products, thereby potentially spreading the disease among cows. This meeting is one of several recently held by OIRA on mad cow-related topics. The agency also recently met with industry over substances prohibited in human food products as well as on the prohibition of specified-risk materials.

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OIRA meeting with Rendering, Feed Industry

OIRA met on Aug. 23 to discuss substances prohibited in human food with rendering industry representatives including the National Renderers Association, Valley Proteins, Kaluzny Bros. and Griffin Industries, Inc. Rendering is "the process of transforming waste from the meat industry into useable products for animal feeds and technical use," according to the NRA website. OIRA met over the same rule on Aug. 24 with the American Feed Industry Association.

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OIRA Meeting on Mad Cow Disease

OIRA met with the North American National Casing Association on July 12 over the prohibition of specified-risk material for human food and the requirements for disposition of non-ambulatory cattle. Specified-risk material is the part of the cow most likely to transmit the mad cow disease prion. Currently regulation prohibits the use of specified-risk material in meat products. However, several loopholes to the regulation exist. Non-ambulatory cattle are essentially cattle that appear to be ill (i.e. they can't walk).

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Failure on Fuel Economy

The Bush administration unveiled a plan to modestly increase fuel economy for some but not all vehicles. Get some public interest perspectives on the weakness of the proposal and the missed opportunity to do something to protect the environment and save us all money at the pump:
  • Public Citizen
  • PIRG
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Sierra Club

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Missed Opportunities in Auto Safety

Two new regulatory developments fail to do enough to make our roadways safe:
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued revised rules governing the maximum number of hours that companies can force their truck drivers to work without rest.

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Easing Burdens on Scientific Evidence

Be sure to catch the latest article from CPR member scholar Lisa Heinzerling, "Doubting Daubert, forthcoming in the Brooklyn Journal of Law & Policy. In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Supreme Court announced that it was liberalizing the rules on admissibility of expert scientific evidence by rejecting a requirement that such evidence be generally accepted in the scientific community. Daubert has had, Heinzerling notes, just the opposite effect from the one the Court said it intended. Among other reasons:

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Latest Case of Mad Cow

You think by now they'd have the system down. An inconclusive test indicates that a third cow may have been infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Once again, USDA faces complications in determining whether the cow had BSE. First, though the sample was collected in April, it was only sent for testing in July. Evidently, the vet who took the sample forgot to submit it for testing. According to the L.A. Times, USDA's chief veterinarian John Clifford called the age of the sample "not optimal."

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Running on Empty: The Politics of Fuel Economy

According to the New York Times, EPA has withheld a report showing that due to loopholes in fuel efficiency standards, manufacturers have been allowed to produce cars that, on average, are significantly less fuel efficient than cars sold in the late 1980s. The loopholes give car manufacturers credits towards their fuel economy standards if they produce dual-fuel cars in their fleet—those that can run on both ethanol blend and gasoline. The credit then allows the manufacturers to add more inefficient cars such as SUVs and trucks to their fleet.

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Groups oppose Cox as SEC chair

The anti-investor record of Rep. Christopher Cox, President George W. Bush's nominee as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should disqualify him from leading the agency, according to a new report by Public Citizen.

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Decision on Plan B Expected by Sept. 1

After much delay, FDA has now promised to make a decision on the over-the-counter status of Plan B by Sept. 1. The administration has been dragging its feet on a decision on the "morning after pill," despite broad support from the FDA advisory committee. Only after Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) stalled the nomination of FDA head Lester Crawford did the administration finally promise to decide on the OTC status. Read more about Plan B here:
  • FDA Ignores Experts, Rejects Plan B for Over-the-Counter Use (5/17/2004)

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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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more resources