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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Say good-bye to another species...

First there was the news -- unsurprising, of course -- that environmentalists envision bad times ahead during the second term of the Bush administration. Bad times are officially here: Interior Department biologists have recommended against adding the sage grouse to the endangered species list, a determination that could wind up benefiting natural gas and oil producers but add to environmentalists' concerns.

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EPA Releases Early TRI Data, Usability Limited

On Nov. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began early access to the 2003 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), but in a limited manner. This early release is seven months faster than last year's release. While this earlier access represents a step in the right direction, the data format significantly limits its use. Additionally, EPA will not make the underlying data available to the public at this time.

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Of snow jobs and smog

Yet another giveaway of the public interest for corporate special interests. EPA has removed several chemicals from its list of smog-forming volatile organic compounds subject to Clean Air Act regulation. The NRDC has examined the delisting of one of those -- tertiary butyl acetate, or TBAC -- and found that the EPA has distorted basic chemistry and compiled a dubious economics analysis to justify deregulating this chemical that causes ground-level ozone, which is harmful to the lungs. Find out more here.

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New Technology Lowers Mercury Emissions by 90 Percent

While EPA continues to argue that a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants would be infeasible, a Kansas coal-fired power plant successfully lowered mercury emissions by 90 percent, according to the emissions control maker, ADA-ES. The company announced Nov. 18 that a month-long test of activated carbon injection at Sunflower Electric Holcomb Station successfully lowered mercury emissions of Western coal.

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Nanofunding, nano-effort

Today's Washington Post reports that EPA is awarding $4 million in grants to study the health and environmental effects of nanomaterials, the tinier than tiny materials that form the basis of nanotechnology. The nanomaterials pose serious risks: Measuring three-billionths of an inch or less, they are small enough to enter the lungs and perhaps even be absorbed through the skin. Experiments in animals have shown that once in the body, they can travel to the brain and other organs. So, the EPA's grants mean that it's doing enough, right?

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More Indication that Polluters are Being Let Off the Hook

The Environmental Integrity Project recently released a report showing that civil penalties against polluters are at a 15-year low, with penalties dropping to $56.8 million in 2004 compared to $96 million in 2003. Enforcement of major environmental legislation has declined sharply in the past three years, contributing to the steep decline in civil penalties. Whereas the Department of Justice filed 152 lawsuits in federal courts against polluters in the last three year of the Clinton administration, in the first three years of the Bush administration only 36 such lawsuits were filed.

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What Bush means for the environment

Be sure to check out this excellent report on the prospect of further Bush administration rollbacks of the environment. Unlike most press coverage, this story goes the extra step and addresses how the Bush administration can have far-reaching consequences not just through rollbacks of individual rules but also through broadly applicable technical policies, such as cost-benefit analysis.

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The coming attacks on the environment

Don't miss the New York Times's coverage of the administration and GOP Congress's plans for weakening and dismantling environmental policy. The article identifies several specific targets:

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Healthy forests policy: wrong cure for this disease

The Bush administration's plan to allow loggers into national forests and "thin" the growth was from the get-go an obvious use of a real problem (forest fires) in order to give away the nation's resources to industry interests. Now here's some evidence that an unaddressed environmental problem -- global warming -- may be to blame instead of overgrowth: The raging Western wildfires of recent years have often been blamed on management practices that promoted dense, overpacked forests. But a new study indicates global warming may be the main culprit.

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U.S. Resists Global Warming Policy

The Washington Post reported today on the Bush administration's efforts to suppress the conclusions of an eight-nation report that endorses broad policies aimed at mitigating global warming. The 1,200 page report, leaked to reporters last week, chronicles historic increases in Arctic temperatures due in part to human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. The State Department argued that the report, which represents the work of over 300 scientists, "lacks the evidence to prepare detailed policy proposals," according to the Post.

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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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