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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So much for wilderness

The Heritage Forests Campaign, an environmental coalition, is sounding the alarm on the administration's mishandling of the still-wild, roadless areas of our National Forests: "In recent years, the Forest Service has flagrantly abused its discretion by misinterpreting the Eastern Wilderness Act and incorrectly applying ad hoc guidelines," Furnish writes in the report, titled Eastern Roadless Areas Under Threat. "This has resulted in an inconsistent approach (and) raised questions about the agency's credibility and stewardship."

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Politicized science and global warming

There's a good thorough account in today's N.Y. Times on the Bush administration's tendencies to dirty up the science by imposing partisan litmus tests on scientists selected for advisory committees and by picking and choosing science (or, in some case, non-scientific economics analyses) depending on the deregulatory outcome desired.

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Lawmakers Ask for Stronger Salmon Recovery Measures

The National Marine Fisheries Service issued a draft biological opinion last month stating that hydropower dams on the river will not threaten endangered salmon and steelhead populations, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Now 102 lawmakers have sent a letter to President Bush requesting that the draft be rewritten.

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Enforcement of Wildlife Protection Has "Slumped"

A fourth TRAC report released Monday tracks enforcement of wildlife protection laws under the Bush administration. As it turns out, "enforcement of the federal laws designed to protect migratory birds, endangered species, marine mammals and other kinds of wild life has slumped during the Bush Administration, according to authoritative Justice Department data." Filings of felony charges for violations of wildlife protection laws fell by 20 percent during the Bush years and filings of misdemeanors fell by 40 percent. The trend in legal filings varied depending on the statute.

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Fish and amphibians are in peril

Two stories in today's Washington Post, neither likely to make you want to order a nice fish taco or fried frog legs any time soon. First, there is the news that MALE fish in the Potomac are OVULATING. The South Branch of the Potomac River is as clear as bottled water here, where it rolls over a bed of smooth stones about 230 miles upstream from Washington. But there is a mystery beneath this glassy surface. Many of the river's male bass are producing eggs.

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Things getting better on the job or in the environment?

The administration has been replying to critics of the attack on regulatory policy that its choices are being proved right, because things are getting better on the job and in the environment. Reports suggest that the trends may not necessarily back the administration's claims about its policy choices.

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Of foxes, henhouses, and unbreathable air

The excellent Newsday series, "Erasing the Rules," continues today with a focus on EPA. There have been some exceptions to the pattern, such as the EPA's adoption earlier this year of tough new emissions standards for diesel engines. But critics and many analysts say the common thread that ties together almost all of the administration's other environmental initiatives is to cushion the impact of regulations on business.

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Meme Watch: "Cross-ridge mining"

Mountaintop removal mining -- blasting off the tops of mountains in order to remove the coal underneath, and then dumping the mountaintops into the valleys and waterways below -- has been called "[o]ne of the greatest environmental and human rights catastrophes in American history." As the public has become aware of the ecological devastation happening in the ancient Appalachian mountains, the mining companies have wised up and applied the art of PR spin.

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Immunity for factory farm polluters?

In These Times magazine has a great article today about a stealth effort at EPA to slow down needed regulation of factory farm pollution and shield the industry from accountability.

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22-year-old Wildlife Protection Standard Waived

U.S. Forest Service posted a temporary final rule in the Federal Register last week that will rollback regulation to protect endangered fish and wildlife from logging and development in national forests. The new rule gives U.S. Forest Service officials flexibility in how they calculate the risk to fish and wildlife populations when reviewing road-building, logging or other proposals. The rule allows officials to waive the 22-year-old Reagan-era standard that requires that forests maintain "viable populations" of fish and wildlife.

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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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