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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Five Fundamental Facts about Standards and Public Protections

Judd Gregg, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire and current CEO of the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), recently wrote an opinion piece for The Hill attacking new environmental and public health standards and financial protections.

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Chemical "Harmonization" Through Trade Agreement Could Trigger a Global Food Catastrophe

As we reported in yesterday's edition of Government Matters, diplomats from Europe and the United States have started talks on the corporate-backed trade treaty known as the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Though draft texts of the agreement are being kept secret from Americans and Europeans, the 2013 Technical Barriers to Trade report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative indicates that the "harmonization" of chemical regulations to a lowest-common-denominator standard is likely to be a goal of the treaty.

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President's Spring Agenda Signals Continued Delays on New Rules

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) quietly published its highly anticipated Spring 2013 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda) on July 3. The spring agenda, like the previous fall agenda, does not show a strong commitment to advancing public health, safety, or environmental protections. Rather, it shows only slight progress on rules that have been under development for years and does not suggest the administration will address the pervasive delays or lack of transparency that currently plague the rulemaking process.

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As Negotiations Begin, Advocates Decry Secrecy and Substance of U.S.-EU Trade Agreement

On July 8, negotiators from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the European Union began meetings on the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The negotiations are largely focused on reducing so-called "regulatory trade barriers" and "non-tariff issues," meaning they will target important consumer and environmental protections. Citizen groups and consumer advocates continue to warn the public about the threats TAFTA poses to public protections and democratic rights.

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Congressional Briefing Debunks Anti-Regulatory Myths Behind "Reform" Bills

Last week, members of the House hosted an expert panel discussion to set the record straight on recurring anti-regulatory myths and dangerous legislative proposals. Aptly titled "Anti-Regulatory Myths: What Regulatory Critics Don't Tell You," the congressional briefing highlighted the importance of much-needed safeguards and debunked the most common misconceptions surrounding the regulatory process and the impacts of rules.

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Return of the Regulatory Accountability Act: A Veiled Threat to Public Protections

On May 23, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) reintroduced the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), a serious threat to environmental standards, workplace safety rules, public health, and financial reform regulations. The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2013, (S. 1029, and its counterpart in the House, H.R. 2122), is the latest version of a bill first introduced in 2011 and then again in 2012. The seemingly innocuous legislation is a drastic overhaul of the Administrative Procedure Act that would undermine the regulatory process. Advertised by its sponsors as a bipartisan proposal to improve rulemaking, the RAA would actually do the opposite.

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Only a Trickle of New Rules, Not a Wave

The business community and its allies on Capitol Hill have warned for over a year that a "tsunami" of new regulations will be flowing out of the Obama administration, undermining the anemic growth of the economy. To prevent this imagined emergency, they continue to propose draconian "reforms" of the regulatory system – changes that would further delay and obstruct the work of federal agencies attempting to implement the laws they were established to enforce.

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Shelanski Lays Out Top Priorities if Confirmed as Next OIRA Administrator

At his Senate confirmation hearing this morning, Howard Shelanski, nominated to serve as the next administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), laid out his top priorities for the office.  Among them are addressing long-standing delays of crucial standards and safeguards and the lack of transparency in OIRA's rule review process. 

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Obama Nominates Howard Shelanski to Lead Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

On April 25, President Obama nominated Howard Shelanski as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). If confirmed, Shelanski would replace Cass Sunstein, who resigned from the position last August, leaving behind a record of lengthy delays.

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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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