Former Bush EPA chief sounds alarm on chemical security

By Jim Morris

Former EPA chief Whitman urges administrator Jackson to seal security gaps 'before a tragedy of historic proportions occurs.'

Excerpts from this story referencing "oil refineries":

"… dangerous chemicals — such as hydrofluoric acid, found at about 50 U.S. oil refineries — to identify hazards, develop accident-prevention plans and prepare for …"

Groups seek EPA action on toxic air emissions from fracking

By Jim Morris

Sixty-four environmental and community groups on Tuesday petitioned the EPA to clamp down on toxic air emissions from fracking operations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… nterest law firm Earthjustice, asks the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to develop “robust emission standards” limiting the amounts of benzene …"

Report offers grim predictions for South Texas air quality amid Eagle Ford oil boom

By Jim Morris, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer

State-funded study projects dramatic increase in emissions from oil and gas development by 2018.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… amo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) in San Antonio and paid for by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The study was designed to determine the extent to which oil and ga …"

Residents of polluted U.S. communities fear planned cuts in EPA enforcement

By Ronnie Greene and Chris Hamby

The EPA's "Next Generation Compliance" plan would lead to fewer inspections of, and enforcement actions against, polluters.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… g a Clean Water Act prosecution of Wal-Mart in California, and a Clean Air Act criminal and civil case against a New York plant that …"

Clean Air case yields rare criminal convictions in New York

By Sam Pearson

A NY coke plant and its environmental manager, convicted of felony Clean Air violations, await sentencing — as residents push for relief.

Excerpts from this story referencing "coke oven gas":

"… ch was convicted of five counts of violating the Clean Air Act by emitting coke oven gas from an unpermitted emission source, along with other convictions for oper …"

"… ct. “From the evidence of this case, where literally hundreds of tons of coke oven gas containing benzene was released into the atmosphere and significant quanti …"

"… lf hours to reach a verdict. At trial, prosecutors said the plant released coke oven gas, containing benzene, through an unreported pressure relief valve. The comp …"

"… at the unreported pressure relief valve, during normal operations, emitted coke oven gas directly into the air, in violation of the TCC’s operating permit,” th …"

Award-winning Center series looks at toxic, sometimes hidden chemical releases

By Bill Buzenberg

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Center environment team published another piece in its Poisoned Places series.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… plants and other industrial facilities along the chemical corridor of the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast. Those unplanned emissions — known in regulatory pa …"

Clean Air Act law, reality collide

By Kristen Lombardi

Over the years, the Clean Air Act has carved out loopholes involving 'upset' emissions from industry — leaving residents at risk.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… blanket exemptions with rules that, critics say, aren’t much firmer. In Louisiana and Texas, plant managers can claim unauthorized releases are “upsets” …"

"… ply put, says Tim Knight, an environmental-compliance administrator at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, “Industry will have problems.” E …"

"… ity.” Officials at the agency’s regional office encompassing Texas and Louisiana launched a program in 2011 inviting the area’s top 17 emitters to the ta …"

"… regulators responded to repeated upsets by the biggest Texas emitters. In Louisiana, Bucket Brigade advocates have turned toward a little-known EPA program th …"

Earth Day 2013

A look at some of the Center's award-winning environmental reporting.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… e better. An EPA study predicts, for instance, that 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act will prevent some 230,000 premature deaths by 2020. In a speech last year, …"

Inspector General to review EPA's 'Watch Lists'

By Jim Morris

The EPA’s inspector general has begun a review of the agency's use of internal watch lists of alleged chronic polluters nationwide.

Excerpts from this story referencing "oil refineries":

"… nd that federal and state regulators sometimes had trouble keeping tabs on oil refineries, power plants, steel mills and other industrial facilities that showered c …"

U.S. issues fines, orders upgrades at coal-fired power plants

By Alice Su

The EPA and Justice Department issue a $950,000 fine and order millions in pollution control technology at three coal-fired power plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… d spend $5 million on environmental mitigation projects, the EPA said in a Clean Air Act pact announced June 29.“This settlement will improve air quality in Wisc …"

"… nts in Alma and Genoa, Wis. The Sierra Club filed a civil lawsuit alleging Clean Air Act violations in 2010. Those same allegations were repeated in an EPA notice …"

"… d New Source Review and New Source Performance Standards provisions of the Clean Air Act.Shahla Werner, Wisconsin chapter director of the Sierra Club, told the Cen …"

Bush EPA chief urges action on chemical hazards

By Alice Su

Former EPA administrator says agency should use Clean Air Act to impose stricter safety standards on chemical facilities.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… The majority of the industry is escaping.”   …"

Clean Air Act case brings $1 million penalty

By Alice Su

The EPA issues a $1 million fine against a global plastics producer for alleged Clean Air Act violations in Alabama and Indiana.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Saudi Arabia":

"… tive Plastics was formed in 2007 when General Electric sold GE Plastics to Saudi Arabia’s largest public company, SABIC, for $11 billion. Its Mount Vernon locat …"

States slow to act against New England polluters

By Maggie Mulvihill, Alex Burris and James Robinson

Regulators in Maine and nearby states have taken months and even years to sanction facilities violating the Clean Air Act

Excerpts from this story referencing "pollution control":

"… n manufacturer Solutia Inc., for failing to properly operate required pollution control equipment on several occasions at its Indian Orchard plant in Sp …"

"… ors until September, 2009, records show.Jaimeson Sinclair, supervising air pollution control engineer for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protec …"

EPA's Toxics Release Inventory doesn't offer full picture of pollution

By Corbin Hiar

Agency database shows emissions are down overall, but self-reporting makes the data suspect

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… hat use other types of fuel to create Energy, like the tire-burning Geneva Energy plant in Ford Heights, Ill., which has been the subject of an unresolved c …"

Q&A: Former Bush official touts ‘market-based’ air toxics regulation

By Corbin Hiar

Q&A with the man some call "the next EPA administrator" if Romney wins the White House.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… d be lower, there’s a process for doing that. But the whole point of the Clean Air Act is to set a reasonable ceiling on allowable pollution and let the communit …"

"… .Q: To what extent does the political influence of large industries affect Clean Air Act enforcement at the state level?A: We are well past the point where that’ …"

"… s not optimal. At the end of the day, Congress has not taken a look at the Clean Air Act in 22 years. [Updating the law would diminish] the prospect of litigation …"

Industry wields sway over air pollution rules, enforcement

By Ronnie Greene, Chris Hamby and Jim Morris

As communities battle toxic air, industry shapes EPA and state regulation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director of the state":

"… and advocating for taking their own authority away,” said Shahla Werner, director of the state’s Sierra Club chapter. “It’s surreal to watch.”Paint-eating pollut …"

EPA releases long-awaited power plant air toxics rule

By Corbin Hiar

The EPA releases details of a landmark rule to cut air emissions of mercury and other toxics from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… e EPA to reduce emissions from the power industry since the passage of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. While the standard was issued last Friday, interest gr …"

Mercury falling: Groundbreaking power plant emissions rule imminent

By Corbin Hiar

The EPA is poised to issue a new regulation restricting toxic power plant emissions

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… tility regulations.Regulation of power plant emissions was required by the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 but has languished for years. “I think from day one e …"

"… nd several of them have timelines more stringent than those imposed by the Clean Air Act.”If nothing else, environmentalists and coal executives can agree that t …"

Despite lone inspector’s efforts, persistent haze envelops Iowa town

By Chris Hamby

A polluter seemed to comply with the Clean Air Act while exposing citizens to toxics. An inspector tried for years to do something about it.

Excerpts from this story referencing "official":

"… them for years.The plant’s troubles are well-known to state and federal officials, but fixes — when they have come at all — have been slow. Memos, repo …"

"… ermine GPC followed all laws.Some residents, no longer content to wait for official action, are organizing and building their own case. They are filing compla …"

"… lue haze can indicate the presence of compounds such as acetaldehyde.State officials began a study of toxic emissions from the plant last year after discoveri …"

"… g his bosses to act — has been the challenge, emails between him and DNR officials show.Levetzow’s starting point was what he viewed as a fundamental disc …"

IMPACT: EPA posts secret 'watch list' that includes chronic polluters

By Corbin Hiar

Days after 'Poisoned Places' stories and disclosure of internal polluter 'watch list,' EPA starts naming names — and divulges no details

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… force existing environmental laws sufficiently to protect all of us.” …"

"… olving hazardous waste disposal.The EPA cited iWatch News' request for the Clean Air Act watch list, later published for the first time as part of a series on air …"

"… g hydraulic fracturing — "might be especially prone to inclusion" on the Clean Air Act watch list.As iWatch News reported, the Clean Air Act watch list illustrat …"

"… to inclusion" on the Clean Air Act watch list.As iWatch News reported, the Clean Air Act watch list illustrates the extent to which Washington is aware of the fail …"

In smelter town, decades of dirty air, disease — and bureaucratic dawdling

By Jim Morris and Emma Schwartz

In smelter town, decades of dirty air, disease — and bureaucratic dawdling

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… fines from Asarco for allegedly being in “continuous violation” of the Clean Air Act since June 2005. The action is a slap at both the company and the state …"

"… an 1,600 facilities the EPA considers “high priority violators” of the Clean Air Act — sites that regulators believe need urgent attention.Here, government i …"

"… n Asarco facility is a major source and therefore needs to comply with the Clean Air Act by putting control technologies on.”Amparano and her older sister, Mary …"

"… federal government, which allows states to be the primary enforcers of the Clean Air Act, has largely deferred to Arizona’s regulatory agency. Despite the EPA’ …"

5 questions for William Ruckelshaus

By Corbin Hiar

EPA chief under Nixon and Reagan on the bipartisan failure to curb air toxics

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… ut “there were hardly any dissents in the Congress to the passage of the Clean Air Act,” he recalls. Since then, episodes of what he once described as rhetoric …"

"… ondensed for clarity.)Q: Regulation of air toxics was required by the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. Why hasn’t more progress been made?A: The sources of air pol …"

"… states are home to more than half the 400 or so facilities on the EPA’s Clean Air Act watch list. What does that say about state regulation of air toxics?A: I w …"

Why Americans still breathe known hazards decades after ‘clean air’ law

By Jim Morris and Corbin Hiar

Air toxics crackdown stymied by politics, industry resistance and ‘hopelessly irrational’ EPA

Excerpts from this story referencing "Gina McCarthy":

"… rators and cement kilns. “These are the last categories that we have,” Gina McCarthy, the agency’s assistant administrator for air and climate, told iWatch N …"

In polluted Pennsylvania suburb, a Republican takes on state regulators

By Jim Morris

Despite years of citizen complaints, factory on EPA ‘watch list’ gets new license to foul the air

Excerpts from this story referencing "airborne chemicals":

"… and violations. Laureldale is among hundreds of communities threatened by airborne chemicals that a Democratic Congress and a Republican president agreed more than two …"

Few criminal cases target big air polluters

By Chris Hamby and Ronnie Greene

Prosecution level at its lowest among environmental cases

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kansas":

"… ike Burnett, the special agent in charge of the EPA’s criminal office in Kansas City, Kan. The violations may not be clear even to a trained inspector. Cr …"

Many Americans left behind in the quest for cleaner air

By Jim Morris, Chris Hamby and Elizabeth Lucas

Secret government 'watch list' reveals failure to curb dangerous emissions

Excerpts from this story referencing "Muscatine":

"… Middle-class suburbs. Rural patches of the Bible belt. Urban corridors.In Muscatine, Iowa, pungent haze from a corn processing plant hangs over an otherwise s …"

"… and weekends, when regulators aren’t around to respond to complaints. In Muscatine, Iowa, a corn processing plant burned low-sulfur coal when the wind was bl …"

"… ts. Investigators are finding that cases such as Grain Processing Corp. in Muscatine aren’t unique."Attempts to game the honor system are our bread and butte …"

Methodology

By Elizabeth Lucas, Robert Benincasa and David Donald

About the data collection and analysis for the Poisoned Places project

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… f air pollution regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: the Clean Air Act watch list, the Air Facility System (AFS), the Toxics Release Inventory (T …"

"… ory (TRI) and the Risk Screening Environmental Indicators model (RSEI).The Clean Air Act watch listThe Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News and NPR obtained …"

"… tion. All major sources and some minor sources are required under the Clean Air Act to obtain operating permits that stipulate what they must do to control ai …"

"… t the EPA is required to control, as defined in the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act.Not all toxic chemicals or sources of pollution are included in the TRI, h …"

EPA's internal Clear Air Act 'watch list'

By Jim Morris

Regulators feared disclosure would make it seem like a ‘most wanted’ list

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… of 464 facilities on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s internal Clean Air Act “watch list.” The list includes serious or chronic violators of the ac …"

"… d be viewed as a “most-wanted list,” said Richard Alonso, a former top Clean Air Act enforcement official at the EPA who now represents corporations. Stat …"

"… ty’s iWatch News and NPR obtained the July and September versions of the Clean Air Act watch list through a Freedom of Information Act request.Not every facility …"

"… seven years, agency insiders have compiled such lists of violators of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Commo …"

Before Obama retreat on ozone, EPA chief fretted over likely illnesses and deaths

By Corbin Hiar

Before Obama retreat on smog, EPA head fretted over illnesses and deaths

Excerpts from this story referencing "Administrator":

"… a new standard, differed sharply from the three-sentence statement the EPA Administrator issued when Obama reversed course.The document, known as a preamble, event …"

"… ngent 75 parts per billion limit set by the Bush administration.But “the Administrator did not agree” with the business groups “that essentially no weight sh …"

"… ackson countered that new evidence was simply too strong to ignore. “The Administrator recognizes these uncertainties and limitations but finds no basis to concl …"

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