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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Criminal Investigation of Utah Mine Officials Urged

On May 8, Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, released the results of a nine-month committee investigation into the collapse of the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah. In the memorandum summarizing the investigation, Miller reveals that he sent a letter of criminal referral to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recommending the agency investigate the mine's general manager.

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Reports Highlight MSHA's Failures at Crandall Canyon Mine

Two recent reports highlight the failures of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in approving the retreat mining plans at Crandall Canyon mine in Utah that resulted in nine deaths after a mine collapse in August 2007. A third report criticizes MSHA's approval and implementation of emergency response plans required by legislation passed by Congress in the wake of mining disasters across the country in 2006.

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Bush Administration to Alter Employee Leave Protections

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a proposed rule that would alter federal protections for workers who need to take leave to care for themselves or their families. DOL chose to pursue the rule changes after hearing complaints from industry lobbyists.

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Environmental, Worker Safety Rules Targeted by Industry Groups

The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Advocacy has finalized a list of ten rules it will encourage federal agencies to modify. The Office of Advocacy compiled the list after receiving recommendations from small businesses and industry lobbyists.

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Coal Mine Safety Shortchanged by Years of Budget Cuts

Congress created the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in 1977, placing a new federal focus on miner safety and health. However, the agency's budget and staffing levels have been cut over the past three decades. The budget for MSHA's coal mine safety and health program has been particularly abused. In the past two years, a spike in coal mine fatalities and high-profile coal mine disasters have prompted many Americans and Congress to look to MSHA to improve miner safety, but years of budget cuts and the loss of qualified employees have left the agency struggling to fulfill its mission.

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Workers Threatened by Decline in OSHA Budget, Enforcement Activity

The consolidated appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in December 2007 cuts the budget of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for Fiscal Year 2008. OSHA, like many other federal agencies, already faces budget constraints that make it more difficult for the agency to achieve its mission. Over the past three decades, OSHA's budget, staffing levels, and inspection activity have dropped while the American workforce has grown and new hazards have emerged.

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2008 Regulatory Policy Agenda: Congress Debates, States Act

In the current political climate, it is unlikely that Congress will succeed in passing legislation that protects the public from the range of regulatory failures we experienced in 2007. The barriers to substantially improving public health, worker safety, and environmental quality seem too high in this election year, especially given President Bush's willingness to use his veto power. What Congress can accomplish in 2008 is establishing legislative and oversight priorities over numerous health, safety, and environmental issues. In many instances, however, we will see states move ahead with a variety of actions designed to improve public protections. The executive branch will also play an increasingly important role as the Bush administration comes to a close.

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Miner Safety Bill Clears House, Bush Veto Looms

The House passed the Supplemental Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (S-MINER) on Jan. 16. The bill aims to improve mine safety and the responsiveness of the federal government's chief mine regulator, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), in response to the Crandall Canyon mine collapse and other recent disasters. White House officials have indicated President Bush will veto the bill.

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OSHA Issues Personal Protective Equipment Rule

Eight years after proposing it, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finalized a worker safety rule. The final rule mandates employers pay for worker personal protective equipment (PPE). OSHA published the rule in the Federal Register on Nov. 15, and it is to take effect Feb. 13, 2008.

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Federal Agencies Knew of Diacetyl Dangers and Kept Silent

Federal regulatory agencies have known for years the dangers that diacetyl exposure creates among workers in factories where bags of microwave popcorn are tested. The only agency to have taken any action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has kept its study of the chemical's impact on consumers secret except for sharing it with the popcorn industry. Now the first case of potential consumer illness from exposure to diacetyl has been documented.

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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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