Five-state study finds high levels of airborne chemicals near oil and gas sites

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

A study of air emissions near oil and gas wells found strikingly high levels of benzene and other dangerous chemicals in some locations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "inspector":

"… ia Department of Environmental Protection, said agency employees recall an inspector going to Roter’s home and noticing no odor, but they haven’t been able …"

Pennsylvania congressman launches frack waste investigation

By David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji

Congressman Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is asking state officials to review environmental exemptions for fracking waste.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… etter to Dana Aunkst, the acting secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "The Subcommittee minority is conducting this oversig …"

"… his lack of understanding can be traced to decisions Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made decades ago, when oil and gas producers successfu …"

"… l, president and CEO of the Environmental advocacy group Pennsylvania Environmental Council, this is a "signal that the DEP will step up and enforce" its ex …"

New air monitor planned for heavily fracked South Texas county

By Lisa Song and David Hasemyer

After a Center and InsideClimate News investigation, Texas regulators say they'll put an air monitor in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokesman":

"… c gases from emitting sources [in the] petroleum industry," he said. TCEQ spokesman Terry Clawson said the monitor will take continuous measurements of 46 vol …"

Open pits offer cheap disposal for fracking sludge, but health worries mount

By David Hasemyer and Zahra Hirji

Air emissions from oil and gas waste are among the least regulated, least monitored and least understood components of the fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Matthew Cartwright":

"… y the people elected to set those standards.”  Last year, U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, a first-term Democrat from Pennsylvania, drafted a bill that would remove …"

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 "United States":

"… rthjustice lawyer, said in a telephone interview that “people across the United States need leadership at the national level, need the EPA to act.” Most states …"

"… loosely enforced. As of 2011, there were more than 1 million wells in the United States, “and as many as 45,000 new wells are expected to be drilled each year t …"

Texas freezes agency's funding after air pollution data released

By Lisa Song

The Alamo Area Council of Governments had its funding frozen after releasing data linking oil and gas drilling to worsening air pollution.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… t of smog. If that happens, it could be subject to sanctions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including increased EPA oversight for new development …"

"…  Austin American-Statesman reported that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which funded the study, had slashed AACOG’s air-qualit …"

"… ere was an ill intent” on Bella’s part. Craft is a toxicologist at the Environmental Defense Fund, a green group that often works with industry partners to r …"

"… o ask the state to restore $182,000 in grants that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is withholding from the San Antonio metropolitan region. The mon …"

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 "Jim Morris":

"… ter for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel. Jim Morris is a senior reporter with the Center for Public Integrity. Lisa Song and D …"

Air monitoring in fracking areas fails to detect spikes in toxic emissions, new study says

By Lisa Song and Jim Morris

A new study finds that common air monitoring methods are all but useless in capturing intense, short-term emissions from gas development.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Jim Morris":

"… ews and The Weather Channel. Lisa Song is with InsideClimate News and Jim Morris is with the Center for Public Integrity. InsideClimate News reporter …"

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 "Environment":

"… 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 pa …"

"… g for so long for action from EPA,” said Lisa Widawsky-Hallowell, of the Environmental Integrity Project, which participated in the suit. Without federal prot …"

Top environment investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite environment and workers' rights investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… air, worry on the ground Residents living along the chemical corridor of Texas and Louisiana often encounter 'upset' emissions — triggering pollution, …"

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.

California bypasses feds, presses ahead on regulation of toxic chemicals

By Ronnie Greene

The state formally adopts new rules that go well beyond the flimsy federal protection net weakened by decades of D.C. delay.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ces. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act, passed in 1976, grants the Environmental Protection Agency power to require testing of dangerous compounds. Yet some four decades lat …"

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 "federal government":

"… r, water and land, the Center found. Instead of criminal prosecution, the federal government is far more likely to pursue civil cases, which typically result in corpor …"

Lautenberg chemical bill drawing skepticism

By Sam Pearson

A much-heralded bill to reform chemical safety is stirring concern among some state officials and environmental groups.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arnold Schwarzenegger":

"… t chromium from product packaging, and was updated three times during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. State lawmakers have also banned the sale of jewelry c …"

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. …"

Earth Day 2013

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

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

Excerpts from this story referencing "Erin Brockovich":

"… (VI), you may recall, is the same chemical compound featured in the movie Erin Brockovich. That Oscar-winning film did much to raise awareness of chromium pollution …"

How industry scientists stalled action on carcinogen

By David Heath

Tens of millions of Americans drink tap water tainted with chromium. But industry pushback has made it hard for the EPA to regulate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Hexavalent chromium":

"… ssments based on the new research. Both would come to the same conclusion. Hexavalent chromium is safe only in miniscule doses. Yet the American Chemistry Council plann …"

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.

EPA's 'Brownfields' program coming up short

By Gwyneth Shaw, Beverly Ford and Evelyn Larrubia

Thousands of polluted properties remain despite $1.5 billion in federal assistance

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources":

"… e discovered annually.In a 2011 grant application for federal funding, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the recent recession has caused a “startling” number of plant clo …"

Federal report: Fewer kids are victims of violent crime, but more are poor

By Susan Ferriss

An annual report is a mixed bag, showing fewer teen pregnancies and less violent crime, but more poverty and exposure to air pollution.

State settlement boosts monitoring at massive coal ash dump bordering two states

By Chris Hamby

One of the nation’s largest impoundments of the often-toxic byproducts of burning coal must stop accepting waste by 2016.

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 "Sierra Club":

"… ves litigation concerning Dairyland’s plants in Alma and Genoa, Wis. The Sierra Club filed a civil lawsuit alleging Clean Air Act violations in 2010. Those sam …"

"… tions were repeated in an EPA notice of violation two years later.Both the Sierra Club and the EPA contended that Dairyland Power had failed New Source Review an …"

"… ions of the Clean Air Act.Shahla Werner, Wisconsin chapter director of the Sierra Club, told the Center for Public Integrity that the plants had “violated emis …"

"… eems like we got the best deal we possibly could in this situation,” the Sierra Club’s Werner said in a phone interview.The settlement is part of an EPA init …"

IMPACT: Citizens sue Iowa plant over air pollution

By Chris Hamby

Those living in the shadow of an Iowa corn processing plant allege damage from years of air pollution.

IMPACT: Environmental groups sue EPA over lack of coal ash regulation

By Emma Schwartz

Groups sue EPA over lack of coal ash regulation.

Long-delayed diesel study published

By Jim Morris

Landmark study of miners shows elevated risk of cancer from engine exhaust

'Chemicals of concern' list stuck at OMB

By Chris Hamby and Jim Morris

A proposed EPA list of 'chemicals of concern' has been under review by the White House budget office for 638 days

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bisphenol A":

"… hasn’t released the EPA list, the office has indicated that it includes Bisphenol A, found in many plastic products and believed to interfere with the hormone …"

EPA hopes disclosure leads to greenhouse gas reductions

By Chris Hamby

The EPA hopes releasing new data will help reduce emissions of substances contributing to climate change

Excerpts from this story referencing "policy analyst at the pro-transparency group":

"… ,” McCarthy said in a conference call with journalists.Sofia Plagakis, a policy analyst at the pro-transparency group OMB Watch, called Wednesday’s data release a significant step in address …"

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 "Tonawanda Coke Corp.":

"… s and related health problems continued.When EPA inspectors finally raided Tonawanda Coke Corp. some five years later, they found benzene seeping out of the plant at a ra …"

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.

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