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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Impacted Citizens and Environmental Leaders Speak Out On BLM Fracking Rules

The public comment period closed today for the Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) second version of its Proposed "Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands" rule. BLM rules apply to more than 750 million acres of public lands and minerals: underneath Tribal lands, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges and other special places, beneath more than 50 million acres of privately-owned land, and drinking water sources for millions of Americans. These rules affect the health of communities and the environment, and the water and air upon which they rely.

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New Analysis and Interactive Map Illustrate Dangers of Freight Trains Carrying Toxic Chemicals

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2013—In response to the recent Lawtell, Louisiana, rail accident, the Center for Effective Government today released an analysis and a new interactive map that displays freight train derailments and other incidents involving toxic chemicals.

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Fixing Chemical Security after West, Texas

In the aftermath of the West Fertilizer explosion in April, Congress and the Obama administration are looking for ways they can better address chemical plant security and safety. A congressional hearing on Aug. 1 focused on how the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) chemical security program missed problems at the West Fertilizer plant. On the same day, President Obama issued a new executive order instructing federal agencies to form a working group to identify and fix any regulatory or informational loopholes.

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Public Protections Take Center Stage at Committee Hearing on Toxic Substances Bill

Did you know that nearly 80,000 chemicals are currently used in the United States, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only performed a safety assessment of 200 and has only issued partial restrictions for five of these substances? This illustrates how the nation's primary environmental law on toxic substances, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), has failed to protect Americans from exposure to dangerous chemicals. On July 31, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hosted a hearing to discuss the law's failures and hear from witnesses about the strengths and weaknesses of proposed legislation introduced by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) this past May.

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Florida Propane Plant Explosion Highlights Exemption in Risk Management Program

On Monday night, explosions at a propane plant in central Florida injured nine workers, including five critically, and required the evacuation of residents within a half-mile of the plant. Though the exact cause of the incident is being investigated, the plant explosion raises serious questions about the need for more comprehensive risk management planning to inform and prepare communities near facilities with flammable chemicals.

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Updated Database Reveals Significant Chemical Risks Are Distributed Across the Country

The latest data on chemical storage risks shows that over 50 billion pounds of toxic and flammable chemicals are stored at 12,761 facilities nationwide. As the tragic explosions at the West, TX fertilizer plant and a Geismar, LA chemical plant have demonstrated, these facilities pose serious threats to workers and communities throughout the country. The distribution of high-risk chemical facilities – i.e., those that handle significant quantities of 140 dangerous chemicals – are available at a website the Center for Effective Government created and maintains through the Right-to-Know Network (

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Senators Press EPA about Safety Measures at Chemical Plants

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and David Vitter (R-LA) sharply questioned staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in yesterday's Senate hearing on oversight of federal risk management and emergency planning programs that are designed to prevent incidents at hazardous chemical plants.

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President Obama’s Climate Plan Embraces Fracking – But at What Cost?

Yesterday, President Obama unveiled a broad plan aimed at curbing carbon pollution. In his new climate action plan (the most comprehensive one by a U.S. president to date), the president calls for expanding natural gas development as a cleaner energy source. While burning natural gas emits half the emissions as coal, the method used to develop the fossil fuel is anything but clean and could outweigh any benefits.

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Illinois Passes Strongest Fracking Bill in Country

Today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (SB 1715), which would give the state the strongest oversight rules on fracking in the country. Though by no means perfect, the Illinois legislation is a step in the right direction and could influence debates and strengthen rules about oil and gas drilling and extraction in other states.

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Explosion at Louisiana Chemical Plant is the Latest in a String of Chemical Accidents

On June 13, an explosion and fire occurred at a petrochemical plant in Geismar, LA (just south of Baton Rouge), killing one person, injuring at least 70, and forcing residents within a two-mile radius of the plant to stay indoors. The Williams Geismar olefins plant explosion was just the latest in a string of chemical accidents, highlighting the risk that hazardous chemicals can pose to workers and communities and the urgent need to shift to safer chemicals.

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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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