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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EPA Subverts Science to Justify Clear Skies

A new ">Congressional Research Services report finds Clear Skies will have far fewer health benefits than competing pollution legislation. Moreover, EPA exaggerated the costs of more stringent pollution controls to justify the administration's bogus Clear Skies Initiative. From the report:

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Weak Roof Crush Rule Threatens Victims' Rights

Based in part on flawed cost-benefit analysis, a proposed rule to reduce injuries sustained when vehicles roll over and their roofs are crushed inward fails to require the level of safety available in current technology and threatens to eliminate the rights of roof crush victims to sue manufacturers. Caving in on Roof Strength

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Industry Costs Pitted Against Public Needs in Homeland Security Policy

How much is a human life worth when it comes to a terrorist attack? Should the public be involved in setting the nation's safety priorities? The Bush administration is offering surprising answers to these questions and more as it develops the general framework for homeland security policy.

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Clear Skies No Better than Existing Regs

EPA recently released cost-benefit analysis of competing legislation to curb power plant emissions, including the President's Clear Skies legislation as well as legislation introduced by Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) and separate legislation introduce by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE). The cost-benefit analysis showed that the President's Clear Skies bills perform no better than regulations already on the book. Furthermore, though the analysis predicts lower costs for the Clear Skies Act compared to competing legislation, it also predicts far fewer benefits.

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OMB and the Price of Gas

Astronomically high gas prices and possible post-Katrina price gouging are all over the news these days. So what does OMB have to do with the price of gas? Well, OMB has for some time been living in a fantasy land with regard to what we're paying at the pump. OMB puts out an annual report on the costs and benefits of regulations, and for the last several years the office has been using a low-ball estimate for the price per gallon of gas when calculating cost and benefit estimates. This year and last, OMB used an estimate of -- get this -- $1.10 to $1.30.

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Questions About the Army Corps and Cost-Benefit

As we just posted below, it appears from the PART assessments of the Army Corps of Engineers that USACE has been employing cost-benefit analysis in its internal decisions about projects and priorities. Has cost-benefit analysis -- a game rigged against the public interest -- distorted priorities in USACE and contributed to the failure to protect New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast areas affected by Hurricane Katrina? Here are some questions to ask USACE:
  • How were "benefits" measured?
  • Did the benefits monetize -- i.e., substitute a cash equivalent for -- human lives?

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PART of the Problem in New Orleans

There are plenty of signs that the Bush administration failed to invest in projects that could have prevented the devastation in New Orleans — see this recap from the Center for American Progress for more. For another way in, be sure to look at the White House’s assessment of Army Corps of Engineers programs, using OMB’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

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Regulation and Competitiveness

Anti-regulatory arguments claim that regulation is inherently a burden that weakens the competitiveness of American businesses in the global market. This issue brief examines the many scholarly studies that indicate the opposite is true: regulation does not hinder U.S. competitiveness but, instead, may actually increase the competitive advantage of the United States.

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Regulation and Competitiveness

The industry-funded position in favor of rollbacks often includes an argument that regulation to protect the public is a burden on American businesses that hinder them from competing in the global marketplace. The evidence from the economics literature tells us something much, much different. Learn more in this OMB Watch issue brief, Regulation and Competitiveness.

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Why Performance Standards May Be Superior to Cap-and-Trade

Cap-and-trade regimes do a worse job at stimulating innovative pollution control methods than performance standards, according to a new scholarly article challenging the industry-backed position that emissions trading and market-based programs are inherently superior to so-called “command-and-control” regulation. This analysis reviews the article and outlines the reasons why performance standards may be superior to cap-and-trade.

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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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