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's Second Round of 9/11 Testing Falls Short

According to a Sept. 5 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) second program to test and clean building interiors contaminated by toxins from the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse was a virtual failure. The program's problems stemmed from EPA's inadequate public notification and refusal to listen to its own science experts. The GAO report also indicated that EPA was reluctant to accept cleanup responsibility according to expert recommendations. The result was a limited program grossly underutilized by the public.

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TRI Restoration Bill Passes Senate Committee

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 10-9 to approve the Toxic Right-to-Know Protection Act (S. 595) on July 31. The act would reverse a December 2006 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule change to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) that significantly reduced toxic release reporting requirements for polluting facilities.

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Baltimore Calls on Congress for More Chemical Security

On July 16, the Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting federal chemical security legislation that would require, when feasible, the use of safer chemicals and technologies.

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Setback on Chemical Security

The effort to establish stronger chemical security measures suffered a significant setback the week of May 21 with the loss of a provision from the Iraq supplemental spending bill that would have prohibited the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from preempting state law on matters of chemical security. In order to galvanize support for comprehensive chemical security reform, a group of public interest and environmental organizations wrote to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection. The letter encouraged the members to continue their work on ensuring strong chemical security protections.

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Department of Homeland Security Finalizes Chemical Security Program

On April 2, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized interim chemical security regulations. The final regulations are an improvement over the proposed regulations issued in December 2006, but many weaknesses remain. In particular, DHS modified its broad interpretation of a provision regarding state preemption but did not adequately establish that states can develop rules stronger than the federal ones. The final rules do little to allay concerns regarding the lack of public accountability and access to information or the failure to require consideration of inherently safer technologies by facilities reporting to DHS.

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Journalist Audit Underscores Lack of Transparency

An audit by journalist groups found that public access to Comprehensive Emergency Response Plans (CERP), as required by law, was inconsistent and unreliable around the country. Only 44 percent of the requests for the CERP were granted in full, whereas 20 percent were partially released and 36 percent were completely denied.

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DHS Receives Mixed Opinions on Proposed Chemical Security Rule

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) received 89 comments, dominated by industry, in response to the proposed interim rule on chemical plant security. The rule establishes the first-ever federal chemical security program. Chemical companies and industry associations generally expressed strong support for the rule, whereas most public interest groups and government officials expressed great concern.

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OMB Watch Critical of Proposed Chemical Security Rule

In response to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) proposed interim chemical security rule, OMB Watch will submit comments to DHS that argue for increased transparency and stronger protections at thousands of facilities across the country.

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Chemical Security Program Leaves the Public Vulnerable

On Dec. 28, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an interim final rule for the creation of a chemical facility security program. However, the program appears to provide little means for increasing security and shrouds important assessments in a veil of secrecy that will prevent any public accountability or oversight.

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Chemical Insecurity

Last night, the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee struck a deal to attach chemical security language to the FY 2007 DHS spending bill. The language, agreed upon by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) last week, is a retreat from stronger, bipartisan bills pending in both houses and, according to environmental groups, "turns a blind eye to removing thousands of people from harm's way with off-the-shelf technologies." News of the agreement quickly met with strong criticism from members of Congress and public interest groups.

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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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