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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Critical Infrastructure Information Rule Needs Additional Improvements

OMB Watch filed additional comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommending additional improvements in the interim final rule for Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) program. The interim final CII rule still requires significant revisions to create an efficient program that ensures the protection of citizens and infrastructure, does not interfere with the operations of other agencies, and prevents misuse by corporations.

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One Week Remains for Comments on Critical Infrastructure Information Rule

Only a single week remains to submit comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the highly controversial Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) rule. DHS published an interim final rule in the Federal Register Feb. 20 with a 90-day public comment period that ends May 20. Even though the agency continues to accept comments on the CII program, the rule went into effect upon publication. DHS has reported to Congress that it has already received several submissions for the CII program.

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DHS Receives Few CII Submissions

Only two companies and two associations have submitted information to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that will be kept secret under the Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) program, according to an April 21 testimony. At the time of the testimony, DHS had been operating the program for two months.

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DOJ Explains CII's Impact on FOIA

The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a memo explaining the impacts of a new Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) rule on the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) throughout the federal government. The rule DOJ refers to was an interim final rule published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which restricts public disclosure and government action on voluntarily submitted information about infrastructure vulnerabilities and problems.

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FERC Claims CEII Not A Problem for Public Access

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) quietly issued a Feb. 12 notice soliciting public comments on the functions and procedures of the agency’s new restrictive information rule, Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII).

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DHS Releases CII Rule

Months after receiving comments on the proposed rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally published the interim final rule for Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) in the Feb. 20 Federal Register. Although an interim final rule with a public comment period open until May 20, the rule went into effect immediately.

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Proposed ExxonMobil Plant to Test New Restrictions on Information

Mobile, Ala., appears to be the testing ground for new restrictions on energy information. Inquiries into a proposed natural gas plant will test if policies meant to increase security will actually compromise the public’s safety.

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DHS CII Docket Published, Not User-Friendly

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally published public comments to the proposed Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) rule on its website. OMB Watch published the comments on our site Sept. 3 after DHS failed to post them according to its timeline. Although the comments are now publicly available through DHS, the entire dissemination process DHS followed has been poor and could set a bad precedent for the agency's future rulemakings.

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Administration Gains New Power to Withold 'Sensitive' Information

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration moved to broadly restrict public access to information in the name of security. Federal agencies began summarily removing tens of thousands of documents from their web sites, purportedly because they might be useful in preparing another attack.

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Industry and Nonprofits Divided In Support for Proposed CII Rule

Comments submitted on the proposed Critical Infrastructure (CII) Rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicate disagreement between public interest groups and the private sector. OMB Watch posted the docket online last week when DHS failed to make them publicly available.

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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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