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 "Clean Air Act":

"… A has the power to regulate chemical security under 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, Whitman noted, writing that that the act’s “general duty” clause …"

"… vironmental Justice Advisory Council also recommended that Jackson use the Clean Air Act to overcome “fatal flaws” in the current law.The flaws “are particul …"

"… tacks, then-EPA administrator Whitman “seriously considered” using the Clean Air Act to shore up chemical security, she wrote Jackson. “After careful conside …"

"… s main trade association, said there is no need for the EPA to invoke the Clean Air Act’s general duty clause."ACC and its members support a host of federal pro …"

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 "Environment":

"… egulation, 64 Environmental and community groups on Tuesday petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down on toxic air emissions from oil and gas …"

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 "Energy":

"… ly beholden to the industry.” Omar Garcia, president of the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable, said Friday morning that he did not have the ti …"

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 "Environment":

"… g industry, worry over failing health and pollution has intensified as the Environmental Protection Agency intends to significantly curtail the number of inspect …"

"… edent they set for performance of large facilities across the country.” Environmental advocates are not swayed. The planned reduction in federal enforcement c …"

"… perfect storm,” said John Suttles, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit handling Environmental cases in six states. “I …"

"… n before the spill, according to emails obtained by the Southern Environmental Law Center, state regulators consulted Duke Energy before seeking to exc …"

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 "U.S. Department of Justice":

"…     …"

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 "Pollution":

"… ions.  And even if regulators do act, offenders are rarely punished. Pollution from accidental emissions is likely even greater than this data suggests. …"

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 "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… blic Citizen found. Little has changed, enforcement data collected by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality suggests: Throughout fiscal year 2011, agency officials investigated 36 pe …"

Earth Day 2013

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemicals":

"… said the Clean Water Act “has kept tens of billions of pounds of sewage, chemicals and trash out of our waterways.” Big problems remain, however. The EPA …"

"… hostile to regulation. The 37-year-old law under which it regulates toxic chemicals is widely acknowledged to be ineffective, yet attempts at reform have fail …"

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 "Environment":

"… That’s when the EPA is supposed to step up to the plate.”   …"

"… A Watch List.” Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, an advocacy group in Falls Church, Va., said the EPA too ofte …"

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 "Clean Air Act":

"… under George W. Bush, urged the EPA Tuesday to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to impose stricter safety standards on American chemical facilities vulner …"

"… chemical plants to use safer processes in the months after 9/11. Under the Clean Air Act’s general duty clause, Whitman said, the EPA had the authority to requir …"

"… sure that high-risk chemical facilities fulfill their obligation under the Clean Air Act … ” The letter quotes then-Sen. Obama’s own 2006 reference to chemic …"

"… said, it will be “even more difficult” to convince the EPA to use its Clean Air Act authority. Although Whitman never received an official response to her Apr …"

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 "Clean Air Act":

"… as issued a $1 million fine against a global plastics producer for alleged Clean Air Act violations at its plants in two small, polluted communities seven hours ap …"

"… thernmost tip of Indiana.The EPA’s 15-count complaint said SABIC skirted Clean Air Act rules on monitoring and repairing equipment leaks, complying with chemical …"

"… ssions by up to 137 tons per year.The EPA has brought several other recent Clean Air Act cases. Last November, for instance, Dow Chemical in Midland, Mich., agreed …"

"… d, working to “ensure full compliance going forward.”Under the EPA’s Clean Air Act Stationary Source Compliance Monitoring Strategy, any facility identified …"

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 "chemicals":

"… dministration promised that reductions in airborne emissions of nearly 200 chemicals would lead to sharp declines in cancer, birth defects and other serious he …"

"… other serious health problems. A focus of the amendments was to reduce the chemicals’ release into the air by tighter state and federal regulation of chronic …"

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 "electric utilities":

"… laint filed with the EPA.Even without emissions data from such facilities, electric utilities reported releasing or disposing of the second-largest quantity of TRI chem …"

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 "Environment":

"… some GOP insiders. Connaughton was chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality during both of George W. Bush’s terms. Since 2009, he has been …"

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 "San Antonio":

"… bying fees to press its agenda in Washington.The Washington lobby shop for San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp., for instance, spent $496,000 in the first three …"

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 "Mercury":

"… the landmark rule could have the spotlight.“Last week, we finalized the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, a rule that will protect millions of fa …"

"… s power plants across the country could release into the air we breathe.”Mercury, a coal combustion byproduct, is a potent neurotoxin linked to decreased m …"

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 "Mercury":

"… Congress is out of session Monday to release the final language.The draft Mercury and Air Toxics Standard proposed in March, which will likely mirror the fi …"

"… d make fish, and the people who eat them healthier, environmentalists say. Mercury, a coal combustion byproduct, is a potent neurotoxin linked to decreased m …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ling.Many communities have had little choice but to get used to it. As the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News has reported, hundreds of communities are beset with chron …"

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 "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… er the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News and NPR reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains an internal list that includes serious or chronic violators of a …"

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 "chemicals":

"… scrutiny or enforcement.Ridding the nation’s air of nearly 200 dangerous chemicals has proved anything but easy. “It’s a little bit of a hit-or-miss appr …"

"… resentatives this fall would leave many communities vulnerable to airborne chemicals, among them the Philadelphia suburb of Chester, Pa., which has more than a …"

"… ticipated speedier results. Rather than requiring standards for individual chemicals, a tortuous process that, it was feared, would lead to lengthy delays, Con …"

"… ntrol technology.”But these rules can still allow significant amounts of chemicals to escape. “They provide far less protection than the Clean Air Act requ …"

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 "Environment":

"… rolled. The Exide plant is among nearly 400 facilities on an internal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “watch list,” designed to track potential Clean Ai …"

"… to pollute — came up for renewal in 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection got an earful from people in Berks County. In a letter to the …"

"… ol required by the permit and decided to challenge it before the state’s Environmental Hearing Board.“We think it’s a step in the wrong direction,” Scott …"

"… EPA’s Clean Air Act watch list.A spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection would not comment on Exide, citing the county’s permit appe …"

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 "Environment":

"… Act violators. The Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which investigated Citgo, said the verdict sent an im …"

"… historically,” said David Uhlmann, who headed the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section from 2000 to 2007 and is now a law professor at the Unive …"

"… field, who worked until 2005 as a prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section and now defends companies facing prosecution.A common def …"

"… aeffer, a former top EPA enforcement official who co-founded the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project in March 2002. “And we’ve seen situations where [i …"

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 "Mississippi River":

"… from a corn processing plant hangs over an otherwise scenic stretch of the Mississippi River. Ash and bits of corn accumulate on houses and cars. For years, state regu …"

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 "Clean Air Act":

"… dministration’s standard, now embraced by the Democratic White House.The Clean Air Act requires the EPA administrator to set standards for pollutants that “cau …"

"… one’s adverse impacts on plants and animals, the EPA limits it under the Clean Air Act. Ground-level ozone , commonly known as smog, is expensive to reduce becau …"

"… his standard will yield.” That, together with “the requirements of the Clean Air Act itself – make this a challenge we must meet,” it stated.The agency, in …"

"… from saying it would “revisit the ozone standard, in compliance with the Clean Air Act” to deciding to implement the Bush-era standard.In a terse statement at …"

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