Coal ash no worse than everyday trash, EPA rules

By Kristen Lombardi, Jamie Smith Hopkins and Talia Buford

The EPA announced what it called a "milestone" rule for toxic coal ash, but critics says it doesn't go far enough.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… streams, rivers and lakes or tainted the air. In a series of stories, the Center for Public Integrity highlighted the environmental and human health consequences of coal ash. …"

Nursing homes serving minorities offering less care than those housing whites

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Nursing homes serving blacks, Latinos provide less daily registered nurse care than those housing whites.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michigan":

"… t were particularly high in several Midwestern states, including Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.  Among metropolitan areas with at least five facilitie …"

Methodology for our nursing homes investigation

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Ben Wieder

Center compared self-reported staffing numbers with Medicare data

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… dmissions per bed with the previous data set.The Center also used the Area Health Resource File to include the degree to which an area was urban or rural, a …"

Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter …"

"… to improve miners’ Health.” Back in 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act limited the amount of dust allowed in mines with the e …"

"… 1, parts of a long-awaited rule from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration took effect, and regulators say it should close these looph …"

Contractor, Hispanic worker deaths up in 2013, BLS says

By Talia Buford

The number of contractors and Hispanic workers who died on the job increased in 2013 even as the overall tally of worker deaths declined.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… ity guards or groundskeepers. Several states, including Massachusetts and Illinois, have passed laws in recent years strengthening employer liability for tem …"

Leadership at Chemical Safety Board questioned amid investigation backlog

By Rosalind Adams

Evidence of ongoing management failures and a toxic work environment at the Chemical Safety Board was presented at a hearing Thursday.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… to several new safety regulations, Moure-Eraso said. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general last year, however, found that the …"

CPI-NPR collaboration wins Edward R. Murrow Award

A 2013 investigation of worker deaths in grain bins has won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association

Deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion blamed on regulatory failures

A 2013 blast at West Fertilizer that killed 14 "never should have occurred," Chemical Safety Board chairman says.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chemical Safety Board":

"… lant explosion in West, Texas, which killed 14 people and injured 226, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board reported Tuesday. Issuing the board’s preliminary findings on the April …"

EPA to regulate coal ash amid court settlement

By Kristen Lombardi

Facing a legal challenge from Earthjustice and others, the EPA agrees to set a plan by year's end to regulate coal ash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… toxic sludge on Feb. 2 after a storm pipe broke. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is agreeing to regulate the disposal of coal ash as part of a settlement i …"

Delay of long-awaited refinery accident report signals divisions at Chemical Safety Board

By Chris Hamby

A last-minute change to a public meeting on a 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Washington State has board members "embarrassed."

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… antially since 2006, a Center for Public Integrity analysis found, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general said in a report last August that the CSB’s growin …"

A small step towards food aid reform

By Sasha Chavkin

Buried in Congress' spending agreement: a small but notable step to reform a controversial program.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate committee":

"… n Food for Peace program. But it came with a striking explanation from the Senate committee that drafted the provision. “This represents a significant initial step …"

"… tee in its report on the bill. While the report reflects the views of the Senate committee that wrote it rather than Congress as a whole, it suggests a growing appet …"

West Virginia chemical spill probe falls to overburdened Chemical Safety Board

By Chris Hamby and Ronnie Greene

Massive chemical spill in W.Va. adds to a growing backlog for the troubled Chemical Safety Board.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… . Yet the CSB has been dogged by long-running delays that have frustrated Congress, residents and even former board members. The Center’s report, publishe …"

"… underfunded and must struggle to respond to requests — many of them from Congress — for investigations. Even before the West Virginia chemical spill, a s …"

A century of denial on black lung

By Chris Hamby

A congressman's words 44 years ago, citing the coal industry's efforts to limit its liability for black lung, resonate anew.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diseases":

"… breathing problems. In the 1990s, the industry fought attempts to include diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis in the definition of black lung, …"

EPA under the gun to regulate coal ash

By Kristen Lombardi

Environmental Protection Agency faces new pressure to regulate disposal of the toxic waste for the first time after a judge's decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Earth":

"… lows an earlier judicial order, issued Sept. 30, partly ruling in favor of Earthjustice and 10 other groups in a lawsuit challenging the EPA over its slow …"

"… forward a schedule for making a final decision,’” said Lisa Evans, the Earthjustice lawyer handling the suit, explaining that the judge does not addres …"

Chemical board's unfinished investigations hinder agency mission, IG finds

By Chris Hamby

A backlog of Chemical Safety Board investigations hinders the agency's ability to help prevent future accidents, a new IG report concludes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… ed to complete its investigation of the tragic Tesoro refinery accident in Washington state," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement to the Center.&nbs …"

Tornado shelter firm lobbies up for federal tax relief

By Adam Wollner

Tornado shelter firm hires a lobbyist to press federal government for tax relief.

'Retail exemption' shields some fertilizer facilities from stringent safety inspections, rules

By Chris Hamby

An exemption carved out two decades ago allows some fertilizer and other chemical facilities to skirt stricter rules and inspections.

OSHA strengthens protections for temp workers

By Jim Morris

Amid reports of high injury rates for temporary workers, OSHA announces new measures aimed at training and safety.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chicago":

"… regular employees. In December, the Center for Public Integrity and WBEZ/Chicago Public Media highlighted the case of temporary worker Carlos Centeno, who …"

"… ted the case of temporary worker Carlos Centeno, who was badly burned in a Chicago-area factory in November 2011 and died three weeks later. Occupational Saf …"

Workplace deaths up slightly in 2011

By Jim Morris

Worker deaths rose slightly in 2011, though the jobsite fatality rate fell, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the Environmental Protection Agency in violation of the Clean Air Act. “The fact remains that penalties for …"

Why strong regulatory agencies matter

By Bill Buzenberg

If the Center is doing its job right, then our work should anticipate the news. Unfortunately, that happened with an explosion in Texas.

As critics press for action, Chemical Safety Board investigations languish

By Jim Morris and Chris Hamby

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which probes chemical accidents, is under attack for its slow investigative pace.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemical plants":

"… sp;United Steelworkers union, which represents workers in refineries, chemical plants and other hazardous settings, has been among the board’s more vocal crit …"

Report urges phaseout of deadly acid

By Chris Hamby

A survey of refinery workers found deep concern about the handling of hydrofluoric acid and recommends safer alternatives

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… regulators. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency should better use their authority to police facilities …"

House bill targets deadly dust explosions

By Chris Hamby

House Democrats are pushing a bill requiring safety steps to curb combustible dust explosions -- a hazard examined in a 2012 Center report.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George Miller":

"… losions are caught up in red tape and special interest objections,” Rep. George Miller, the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce …"

Meteor strikes on lobbyists' minds

By Dave Levinthal

Special interests have prodded U.S. government to fund tracking of killer space rocks.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Space":

"… predicting or averting an even greater calamity. In 2008, the California Space Authority sent a lobbyist to Washington, D.C., in part to promote pas …"

"… also in 2008 lobbied on a section of HR 6063, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, that directed NASA to continue e …"

Defense officials call Air Force F-22 probe sloppy and inadequate

By Douglas Birch

Critics of the Air Force's decision to blame a costly F-22 crash on its pilot have some ammunition

Excerpts from this story referencing "weapons systems":

"… 22’s, which have been criticized by some as models of costly, goldplated weapons systems that are hard to maintain and ill-suited to fulfill present-day needs. Th …"

Labor secretary leaves legacy of worker protections and unfinished business

By Chris Hamby

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis leaves behind a department advocates say increased enforcement but left worker safety rules unfinished.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Labor":

"… es recover from the financial crisis.  …"

"… ment employees that she planned to return to California, where she grew up.Labor advocates credit her with restoring the department’s commitment to prote …"

IMPACT: Federal inspectors step up enforcement of rules to prevent black lung

By Chris Hamby

In a recent enforcement blitz, federal inspectors cited more than a dozen mines for problems that could expose workers to the disease.

Center environmental investigations honored nationally

By The Center for Public Integrity

Three separate Center environmental investigations have received national reporting prizes in recent weeks.

As Clean Air Act sentencing nears, Justice cites violations at Texas Citgo refinery

By Jim Morris

Justice Department alleges environmental and worker safety violations continue to plague Citgo's Texas refinery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ations” — as recently as this year in some cases.An inspector with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example, found that the refinery had five releases of hydrofluoric ac …"

Fishing deaths mount, but government slow to cast safety net for deadliest industry

By Ronnie Greene

Commercial fishing is the deadliest industry in the U.S., but with federal reform moving slowly, some fishermen are stepping in.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health":

"… times greater than the national workplace average. And no place, a recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report reveals, is more deadly for commercial fishermen than the East Coas …"

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