White House Recognizes Higher Cost of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In May, the Obama administration increased the "social cost of carbon," a monetized estimate of damage caused by carbon emissions that is used to analyze the impacts of certain standards, by roughly 60 percent. Updated to reflect new scientific modeling, the new figure may help agencies implement tougher standards to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

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EPA's Proposed Gasoline Standards Benefit Public Health, the Environment, and Automakers

On March 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule setting stricter emissions standards for cars and trucks and requiring a reduction in the sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017. The proposal addresses health risks posed by breathing hazardous vehicle pollution, such as asthma and other respiratory infections that can cause premature death. Together, the more stringent sulfur limit and new emissions standards will lead to rapid improvements in air quality nationwide.

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EPA Reaches Clean Air Settlement with Tyson Foods

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced a settlement with Tyson Foods, Inc., along with several of its affiliates, over violations of the Clean Air Act that occurred between 2006 and 2010.  These violations included the accidental release of toxic anhydrous ammonia in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri that resulted in property damage, multiple injuries to workers, and one death. 

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Water Quality Reports Go Online but Access for Many Likely to Decline

After months of waiting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a disappointing memorandum allowing water companies to switch from mail to all-electronic delivery of annual drinking water quality reports. The memo fails to set clear standards for electronic notification and delivery and makes it likely that segments of the public will have less access to these reports.

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Protecting Safe Drinking Water and Your Right to Know

On Oct. 11, OMB Watch and 14 other organizations filed comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), highlighting ways to strengthen the drinking water quality reports that consumers receive from water utilities. EPA recently proposed changes in how the reports are delivered to consumers, which could actually reduce public access to the information.

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New Website Will Make Government Information Easier to Obtain

A new federal website launched Oct. 1 could speed processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and release more information to the public. FOIAonline is a multi-agency portal that allows the public to submit and track requests, receive responses, and search others' requests through a single website. The system also provides agencies new features to assist with processing requests, which could improve timeliness and reduce backlogs. Agencies can also use the system to publish their responses to FOIA requests, which would make this information more widely accessible.

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Nearly Four Years In, What Do Cost-Benefit Data Show for the Major Obama EPA Rules, and What Do They Imply for the Economy?

With the issuance in August of the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for cars for model years 2017–2025, the Obama administration may have now put forth the last major Environmental Protection Agency rule of its term. Starting with a comprehensive analysis in May 2011, EPI has issued a series of analyses which have found that contrary to much of the political commentary, these rules will be of great benefit to the nation, improving public health considerably without harming the economy or employment. (By Isaac Shapiro, originally posted on the Economic Policy Institute's blog, working economics, on Sept. 25, 2012)

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Farming Out the Story on EPA Regulations

The "Farm Bill" (S. 3240, formally titled the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012) is fast becoming a magnet for a batch of anti-regulatory amendments. This is just the latest in a series of attempts to tack on damaging, unrelated provisions to legislation moving through the chamber.

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Coal Ash Limbo: Groups File Lawsuit to Move EPA While Congress Moves to Restrict Agency Authority

Last week, a coalition of environmental and public health groups filed a lawsuit to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the waste created when coal is burned (commonly known as coal ash). Coal ash is disposed of in almost every state, and areas near disposal sites can face increased risks of cancer and other diseases caused by drinking water contamination and exposure to toxins. The suit calls for EPA to set a deadline to adopt federal coal ash protections.

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Doing Little, Changing Everything: EPA's Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants

Nearly five years after the U.S. Supreme Court directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether carbon dioxide should be regulated as a "pollutant" under the Clean Air Act, the agency finally issued a proposed standard for carbon emissions from newly constructed power plants.

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