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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Listeria: How the food industry gets away with murder

Be sure to check out the latest report from the Consumer Federation of America: “Not ‘Ready to Eat’: How the Meat and Poultry Industry Weakened Efforts to Reduce Listeria Food-Poisoning.” It’s the harrowing story of the Bush administration reversing course from the Clinton administration and weakening efforts to protect the public from Listeria, a deadly foodborne pathogen, in order to serve its friends in the food industry.

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Regs Around the Web

  • A coalition of conservation and outdoor industry groups has formally asked the Forest Service to withdraw plans to lease over 20,000 acres for oil and gas drilling in Utah's Uinta National Forest. The leasing would allow industrial development in roadless areas along the Wasatch Front that provide valuable opportunities for hiking, fishing, and hunting, as well as habitat for wildlife such as the Bonneville cutthroat trout and northern goshawk.

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So where are the anti-regulatory zealots now?

Funny how the critics of regulation only seem to care about regulations of the environment, public health, consumer protection -- the areas that hit business in the pocketbook -- but they don't scream their anti-regulatory screeds when the FCC goes on crusades to protect us all from such ghastly offenses as the baring of Janet Jackson's nipple. Now comes word that some local ABC affiliates are declining to participate in the network's Veterans Day airing of Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg's over-praised mix of treacle and WWII battlefield realism.

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Measure the rollback in your own state

How much have you been affected by the Bush administration's rollback of public health, safety, and environment protections? How much does your state need improved protections? Check out the excellent feature My Backyard from the Center for American Progress: a clickable map that allows you to go state by state and look up data on pollution, workplace health and safety, fuel economy, and more.

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FDA Approves "Black-Box" Warning for Antidepressants

FDA approved the "black-box" warning for antidepressants last Friday. The warning will alert doctors and patients to the increased risk of suicidality for children using antidepressants. The "black-box" warning is the highest level of warning FDA uses. In approving the new labeling, FDA followed the recommendations of both its advisory panel and a congressional committee, both of which called for the "black-box" label. The label comes amidst a controversy as to FDA's role in alerting the public to the dangers of child use of antidepressants.

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An alternative vision for protecting the public?

The excellent Newsday series "Erasing the Rules" concludes today with a look at Senator Kerry's legislative record and campaign platform and inquires whether they represent an alternative to current regulatory policy: In the mid-1990s when Republicans in Congress were pushing to make regulations harder to enact, consumer, labor and environmental groups sought an ally committed to government oversight and capable of grasping the complexity of the rules.

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FDA Squelches Findings of Own Scientist.... Again.

Though studies dating as far back as 2000 pointed to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke for users of Vioxx, FDA has stood quietly on the sidelines while more than 27,000 users of the drug experienced serious side effects. In fact, a top FDA scientist in the Office of Drug Safety alleged yesterday that higher-ups at FDA attempted to suppress his conclusions about the dangers of Vioxx. According to the Washington Post,

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Danger on the store shelves

Consumer Reports has released two reports on the failures of federal government agencies to ensure that unsafe products are removed from the market.
  • Products subject to recall aren't being returned to the manufacturer:

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So much for bio-terror preparedness -- or the consumer

You might think that a key component of bio-terrorism preparations would be securing the food supply, in part by letting people know where the food they're eating came from. You might think that, in an administration that seems to believe so devoutly in letting marketplace choices dictate outcomes, regulatory policy would do all that is necessary to give consumers the information they need to make real choices. Yeah, you might think that. Latest example in which you might think that but then would be wrong: country-of-origin labeling of seafood:

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New consumer agenda

Six consumer protection groups -- Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group -- have worked together to produce the Consumer Agenda, a six-point plan for increasing consumer protections and consumers' rights. From the press release:

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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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