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 To Roll Back Lead-Based Paint Protection

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) recently released internal EPA documents that show that Environmental Protection Agency acting administrator, Stephen Johnson, plans to replace a regulation under development by EPA requiring certification of construction workers renovating buildings that may contain lead paint with a voluntary compliance standard. This move to a voluntary standard significantly weakens the regulation and puts more workers and children at risk for lead exposure from dust and debris. From the press release:

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EPA Ignores Cost-Benefit Analysis on Mercury Rule

From the Washington Post: When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a rule last week to limit mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, officials emphasized that the controls could not be more aggressive because the cost to industry already far exceeded the public health payoff. What they did not reveal is that a Harvard University study paid for by the EPA, co-authored by an EPA scientist and peer-reviewed by two other EPA scientists had reached the opposite conclusion.

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OMB Watch Comments on TRI Reporting Form Burden Reduction

OMB Watch submitted comments March 11 on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule on burden reduction options for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). This first proposed rule for TRI burden reduction is not extremely controversial, but still poses some threat to the integrity and accessibility of the information. A larger burden reduction rule will come later this year, which will constitute a much more significant threat to the quantity and quality of TRI information.

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Timber Industry Rewrites CA Forest Plan

A new California forest management plan that would triple the annual timber harvest from national forests in the Sierra Nevada was (surprise, surprise) written by industry, according to a press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. A California Forest Association lawsuit would install the timber industry's deforestation plan and insulate the plan from further legal challenges through a settlement. PEER has filed in court to intervene in the settlement. From the press release:

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EPA's Rigged Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis

EPA's use of cost-benefit analysis in developing proposed mercury control regulations was deeply flawed, according to a GAO report released yesterday. The report examined how EPA used different variables when comparing different proposals so that the cost-benefit analysis was weighted towards the industry-preferred cap-and-trade method. GAO identified "four major shortcomings in the economic analysis underlying EPA's proposed mercury control options:"

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Round-up: Environment

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is illegally negotiating secret agreements with industry lobbyists over pesticide regulation, according to a lawsuit filed today by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). The lawsuit specifically cites private agreements between the agency and chemical companies over the regulation of atrazine, one of the most heavily used weed-killers in the country, and DDVP, a highly toxic insecticide. NRDC contends the agreements have undermined public health safeguards by failing to restrict the use of these dangerous chemicals. Learn more.

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Politicized Science Puts Endangered Species at Risk

A survey of scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that more than 200 scientists say that conclusions of official findings have been reversed to weaken protections for fish and wildlife in order to aid industry. The study, conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists in conjunction with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, also found that more than half of the researchers who responded knew of cases in which industries had used political pressure to alter government findings unfavorable to their business interests.

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IG Report Finds Bias in EPA Mercury Rule

A report by EPA�s Inspector General Nikki Tinsley has confirmed what public interest groups have been saying all along; EPA�s mercury rule is biased towards industry and fails to serve the public interest. From the Washington Post: The Environmental Protection Agency ignored scientific evidence and agency protocols in order to set limits on mercury pollution that would line up with the Bush administration's free-market approaches to power plant pollution, according to a report released yesterday by the agency's inspector general.

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Industry Challenge Prompts Removal of EPA Database

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed one database from its public website and slightly altered another due to a Data Quality Act (DQA) challenge submitted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber submitted the request May 26, 2004, asserting that physical and chemical property information in several EPA databases was erroneous because the data was inconsistent and contradictory between the different databases. The differing information leads to vastly different cleanup cost estimates for contaminated sites, according to the Chamber.

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Factory farms off the hook

It's now official: Factory farms that generate huge amounts of harmful pollution are being let off the hook from enforcement of clean air laws provided they simply let EPA monitor them and collect data. EPA basically let industry write its own rules in a back-room deal... no surprise that the rules would be toothless. The official story goes like this (per the AP): Seeking data for future regulation, the government on Friday told factory-style farms that generate huge amounts of animal waste they can escape potentially large fines if their air pollution is monitored.

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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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