On Jan. 13, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act. The bill would eliminate incentives for U.S. companies to shift jobs overseas, close offshore loopholes to ensure corporations are paying their fair share in taxes, and change rules on corporate inversions.
The White House has released a proposal to allow students to attend community college for free for their first two years if they work hard and keep their grades up. The “America’s College Promise” plan prioritizes public investments in more affordable education and could benefit as many as 9 million American students enrolled in community colleges across the country. The plan would save full-time students an average of $3,800 in tuition each year.
On Jan. 7, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 185). This measure would cripple our process for issuing and enforcing the rules that ensure we have clean air and water, safe food and consumer products, fair wages and safe workplaces, stable financial markets, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and so many other essential protections.
Don’t be surprised if you missed hearing about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual report on its compliance and enforcement efforts for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The report, released the week before Christmas with little public or media attention, highlights what has become a disturbing downward trend over the past several years. Reductions in enforcement can mean less compliance with pollution control requirements and more exposure to toxic chemicals, putting human health and natural resources at risk.
Today is the birthday of the Clean Air Act, legislation signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon forty-four years ago. This law is the centerpiece and platform for protecting the quality of the air we breathe. It took decades of work to get clean air laws passed, and over time amendments have been added to strengthen our air quality standards and to respond to new risks. This is the story of how we established standards to protect a public good that we all need, but most of us take for granted.
On Dec. 9, North Dakota announced a new rule for rail shipments of highly volatile crude oil from the Bakken shale formation. The standard issued by the North Dakota Industrial Commission is intended to respond to spills, fires, and derailments that have injured and killed people and harmed the environment.
UPDATE (June 30, 2015): Yesterday, New York State formalized its fracking ban, concluding a seven-year public health and environmental impact study. Governor Cuomo’s administration released the Findings Statement that found that fracking’s risks are too high and officially bans the practice within the state. New York becomes the first state with significant shale gas resources to ban fracking.