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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Department of Interior’s Proposed Fracking Guidelines Disappoint

For months, we've been waiting for the U.S. Department of the Interior to issue standards for natural gas drilling and extraction on federal land and tribal land. The proposed rule was finally released on May 4 and it is very disappointing.

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EPA Improves Public Access to Geographic Information Systems Tools

On April 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publicly released a collection of web-based tools to enhance access to environmental information and encourage public participation in taxpayer-funded projects. This is part of a White House pilot program to encourage innovation in federal agencies and could empower citizens to improve their communities.

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Maybe It's Time for a Moratorium on Bad Ideas in the House of Representatives

Imagine for a moment that you're in the last few weeks of your current job.  Your final goal is to complete an important, long-term project that you've been working on for several years.  Finishing this project will be a major milestone and will benefit people both inside and outside your organization.  Suddenly, your employer makes a new policy: people aren't allowed to complete projects during their last few weeks with the organization.  You'd probably be confused, even furious, and rightfully so, because all of your hard work would have been for nothing.  A policy like that just wouldn't make sense, yet it's similar to what the House wants to do to those who have been working to develop and improve our nation's public protections. 

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EPA Releases Open Government Plan 2.0

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other major federal agencies released updated versions of their Open Government Plans on April 9. The EPA’s Open Government Plan 2.0 discusses its ongoing efforts to increase transparency and instill a culture of greater openness through activities designed to increase participation in rulemaking, allow greater public access to EPA data, and speed the processing of Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Using the Clean Air Act to Protect Americans from Chemical Accidents

In March, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory panel recommended that the agency use its authority under the Clean Air Act to protect Americans against chemical disasters. Using safer chemicals could reduce or eliminate the threats and dangers that chemical plants pose to millions of people living downwind.

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OMB Watch Joins Lawsuit Seeking Disclosure of Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Extraction in Wyoming

On March 26, OMB Watch, along with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, and Earthworks, filed a petition requesting that the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) disclose information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The case, now before Wyoming's Seventh District Court, could set the tone for future cases in the more than 10 states with chemical disclosure rules similar to Wyoming's.

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The Regulatory Freeze Act: Legislation to Make the World More Dangerous and the Economy Weaker

The so-called Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act, reported out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier today, is the clearest example yet of just how broken the national debate on public protections has become. This bill is ostensibly about getting Americans back to work, but the bill contains no provisions to address unemployment. Instead, it would gut the system of public protections that underpins our entire economy.

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Environmental Justice Advances into Federal Policymaking

On Feb. 27, several federal agencies released environmental justice strategies that outlined steps they will take to address and reduce the disproportionate health and environmental harms that affect low-income, minority, and indigenous communities. This release is part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to integrate environmental justice into all areas of federal policymaking, including transportation, labor, health services, and housing.

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Getting the Truth about Safe Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) rule, a policy mandating that public water systems provide annual reports to consumers on the quality of local drinking water. The resulting reports have been criticized for being overly technical, complex, and difficult for the general public to understand or act upon.

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Trade Secrecy Reaches New High

While trade negotiations have long involved some level of secrecy, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed regional free trade agreement between the United States and Asia-Pacific partner countries, involves unprecedented levels of work being done behind closed doors. This agreement could curtail crucial activities of state and local governments and would cover profoundly important public policy issues – access to essential medicines, food security, and natural resource management – that deserve extensive public review and discussion. However, intense efforts are being made to block the public from knowing even the most basic content of the agreement.

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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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