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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Department of Energy Proposes Eliminating 20-Year-Old Disclosure Test

On Dec. 9, 2008, the Department of Energy (DOE) published a proposed rule that would revise its official Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations to remove a 20-year-old requirement for weighing the public interest in records disclosure decisions. In the same rulemaking, DOE also proposed to raise FOIA copying fees from five cents to 20 cents a page.

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Bush's Midnight Rule Campaign Comes to a Close

President George W. Bush and senior administration officials appear to have concluded their midnight regulations campaign, leaving the incoming Obama administration with a host of new rules it may not agree with. In the past two months, the Bush administration has finalized at least 20 controversial midnight regulations affecting everything from the environment to health care and worker rights.

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An Assault on Public Protections: Regulatory Policy News in 2008

The federal government's ability — and sometimes inability — to protect the public drew national attention throughout 2008. President Bush's and senior administration officials' aversion to regulation and their penchant for allowing the market to operate unchecked appeared more and more outmoded in the face of the collapse of the financial market, the rising tide of dangerous imported products, and persistent examples of environmental degradation.

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Bush Changes to Employee Leave among First Midnight Rules

The Department of Labor has finalized a new rule that will affect the way workers take medical and family leave. It is among the first of many rules the Bush administration is expected to cement in the coming weeks.

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Midnight at the White House: Bush Using Rules to Cement Legacy

The Bush administration is working on a spate of rules it hopes to finalize before its time in power expires. The last-minute rules cover a broad range of policy, but many share a common trait: relaxing existing requirements on businesses. The Bush administration appears to be pushing to deregulate in areas like environmental protection, worker leave, and auto safety. Many of the controversial rules are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. The administration is pushing to finalize rules in November, not January, in order to assure they cannot be undone by the next president.

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EPA to Reduce Airborne Lead, but OMB Bedevils the Details

The Bush administration recently tightened the national public health standard for airborne lead, drawing rare praise from clean air advocates. However, shortcomings in the network for monitoring lead pollution persist, and a new requirement to increase the number of pollution detectors was watered down by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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Department of Justice Finalizes Enhancements of FBI Powers

Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently finalized changes to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) rules that increase the agency's ability to gather information on citizens without having prior suspicion of wrongdoing. The new rules cover the FBI's powers over criminal, national security, and foreign intelligence surveillance and have been criticized by civil liberties advocates and privacy groups.

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FBI to Increase Secret Powers in the Near Future

The Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to finalize secret changes to a secret rule that sets guidelines for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) work. The changes will reportedly lower intelligence-gathering standards and could pose a significant threat to individual rights. Several senators have voiced strong concerns about the changes.

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Commentary: Bush's Last-Minute Rush to Dismantle Public Protections

by Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch Executive Director
Those who keep an eye on the federal government know the Bush administration is not friendly toward regulation — particularly health, safety, environmental, civil rights, and consumer protections. When they have been forced to regulate, Bush officials have advanced policies that mostly let the market control the game, while the idea of strong government intervention has been left to gather dust. However, even outside the recent regulatory takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, events show the administration is starting to kick things into high gear on regulations, trying to lock the next administration into a Bush legacy.

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Bush Administration Pushing Last-Minute Rollbacks

The Bush administration is trying to finalize several new rules, covering a range of policy issues, before a new administration takes over and despite its own policy directive. The new rules would relax the standards and enforcement of longstanding federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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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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