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 "Arkansas":

"… . They were certain the cause was simply breathing the air in Greenbrier, Arkansas, the rural community to which they'd retired a decade ago. They blame …"

"… unity," Brown said by email. The study monitored air at locations in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. It comes amid a growing b …"

"… nd] report those findings to DEP,” she said by email. Emily G. Lane, an Arkansas graduate student who helped with the air monitoring there, hopes the emiss …"

"… ed high levels of formaldehyde. Katherine Benenati, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, said the agency is happy to review ou …"

Mega-donors give big to state candidates

By Rachel Baye, Reity O'Brien and Ben Wieder

More than two dozen donors have given at least $1 million to state-level campaigns ahead of Nov. 4.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… imits at the federal level in April, with its ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.  States such as Connecticut and Wisconsin have p …"

"… paigns. Thanks to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and subsequent rulings, there is no limit to what a person, corporation o …"

"… o given about $8 million to federal super PACs this year, according to the Federal Election Commission. In 2012, he was the largest Democratic donor to independent spending grou …"

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 "Texas":

"… nsylvania into the third-largest state producer of natural gas behind Texas and Louisiana. In those two states and others, questions are increasingly …"

"… s have been reporting on air pollution from oil and gas production in Texas, including at waste disposal facilities. Cartwright also has introduced le …"

"… CLEANER—has gone nowhere. But in August, he scored a small victory when Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson became CLEANER's 70th co-sponsor. Cartwright s …"

Another whistleblower suit alleges Medicare Advantage fraud

By Fred Schulte

California litigation alleges 'house calls" yielded false claims

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… nd eye” to the practices. The Health plans named in the suit are: Molina Healthcare of California; WellPoint, Inc., which operates  Anthem Blue Cross …"

"… ; WellPoint, Inc., which operates  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; Health Net of California, Inc. and Alameda Alliance for Health.  None would …"

"… s and Blue Shield; Health Net of California, Inc. and Alameda Alliance for Health.  None would comment. MedXM chief executive officer Sy Zahedi called …"

Super PACs exploit disclosure loophole

By Dave Levinthal

Several political committees that materialized in recent days aren't required to reveal donors until after Election Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "UPS":

"… ocratic politicians. The PACs share an official address — a mailbox at a UPS Store along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The creator and treas …"

A life-and-death struggle for asylum in America

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Teens' tortured road to asylum in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "officer":

"… Maria said in Spanish, beginning to recount what she told a U.S. asylum officer. As she recalled the story again, Maria’s soft voice trembled, and tear …"

"… me thing could happen to me.” After the 90-minute interview, the asylum officer told Maria she might know the outcome of her request in two weeks. More th …"

"… ling to document horrors some teens have faced — while line-level asylum officers face decisions about matters children tell them could mean life or death. …"

"… en into account in making the persecution determination,” says an asylum officers’ training guide, “not all harm to a child, including physical mi …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ficulties and other health problems. In February, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel showed that the TCEQ knows alm …"

"… their operations. This article is part of an ongoing investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News into air emissions created during oil and gas …"

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 "United States":

"… fossil fuel waste was approved in 1988, oil and gas production in the United States was dropping and finding more domestic supplies was a national impera …"

"… down a well to crack open bedrock and tap deeply buried fossil fuels. The United States has so much oil and gas, in fact, that the industry is lobbying Congress f …"

"… ide, rules begin to tighten As oil and gas development spreads across the United States, more communities are raising concerns about the industry’s waste. At l …"

Non-candidate spending increases in state elections

By Rachel Baye, Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Ben Wieder

TV ad spending in state elections since 2010 is down, but the portion ponied up by political nonprofits and state-level super PACs rises.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… y $3.1 million spent to air ads in six states. Races to retain three Tennessee justices clocked in as the most expensive with about $1.4 million in …"

"… nders whose crimes had occurred before the provisions were enacted. Three Tennessee Supreme Court justices won retention elections — in which judges ran uno …"

Children's rights groups urge Defense program to stop giving school cops military hardware

By Susan Ferriss

Groups trying to curb use of police in school discipline urge federal officials not give military weapons to campus police departments.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ave been handed over to school districts large and small, from California, Texas, Nevada and Utah to Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Michigan.   In Cali …"

"… NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and public-interest law groups Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and Public Counsel, which is based in Los Ange …"

"… d Education Fund and public-interest law groups Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and Public Counsel, which is based in Los Angeles. Controversy over so-c …"

"… pline, as the Center for Public Integrity has reported.    Both Texas Appleseed and Public Counsel have been active in pushing for states and di …"

Taking insurance companies out of health care

By Wendell Potter

If Boeing experiment flies, health care system could be transformed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "UnitedHealth Group":

"… h they expect to realize higher returns. The magazine cited as an example UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division, which works in technology and population health manage …"

In New Hampshire, quixotic super PAC shaking up Republican primary

By Dave Levinthal

Big-spending Mayday PAC giving Jim Rubens an unexpected boost — and Scott Brown a headache — ahead of GOP primary.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… both elected her governor and senator, is nonetheless dogged by President Barack Obama’s unpopularity, and her backers are using all the time they have to butt …"

Fearing for the Second Amendment, militia groups grow in number

By Alex Lancial and Jim Tuttle

Fear of interference with Second Amendment rights and suspicion of elected officials have provoked a rise in self-described patriot militias

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… as sparked in part by events in Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas, sieges that tuned in to deadly standoffs with federal agencies. He noted …"

Women become increasingly involved in gun groups

By Lauren Loftus and Natalie Krebs

Thanks in part to targeted marketing, more women are buying guns for protection and sport

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… graphics. Karen Callaghan, an associate professor of political science at Texas Southern University, who is writing a book on the organization, described …"

"… lf-defense is the common theme among women’s shooting groups. In Austin, Texas, Sure Shots women’s pistol league and monthly magazine focus a …"

"… to guns, she did not get directly involved in the industry until moving to Texas several years ago, she said. “I got a gun, started training with it, an …"

"… debate would covet,” she said. The only lobbyist for gun rights in the Texas Legislature is a woman named Alice Tripp. The membership of Texas Sta …"

Gun rights debate enters a new arena: the campus

By Wade Millward and Carmen Forman

The right to carry a firearm onto college campuses has become another issue in the gun control debate

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oregon":

"… empt K-12 schools and some public buildings from concealed carry of guns. Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi and Wisconsin — and now Idaho — h …"

"… to colleges allowing concealed guns. A 2011 lawsuit by a division of the Oregon Firearms Federation led to a state court striking the Oregon state educati …"

"… vision of the Oregon Firearms Federation led to a state court striking the Oregon state education board’s ban against guns on campuses. The victories are …"

"… ampuses. The victories are not complete. As in other campus carry states, Oregon universities insist they can limit guns in buildings, and the Oregon state …"

Stronger self-defense laws spread, despite limited measure of impacts

By Jon LaFlamme

Stand your ground laws expand American's right to self defense, but their impact varies from state to state

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kentucky":

"… parate outcomes, News21 found, based on a review of 200 cases in Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona — six of 31 states to recently ex …"

Decades old gun control debate reshaped by new advocacy groups

The gun control movement has made significant gains in recent years, but the NRA remains king of the hill

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mike Thompson":

"… and domestic violence bill was introduced in the House by Democratic Reps. Mike Thompson of California and Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, whose district includes N …"

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "Comcast":

"… ished. Keep reading 9. Only 12% of eligible households have signed up for Comcast's affordable Internet program Back in 2011, Comcast wanted to ease feder …"

"… s have signed up for Comcast's affordable Internet program Back in 2011, Comcast wanted to ease federal approval of its merger with NBC Universal, so it pr …"

"… es. The program, called "Internet Essentials," helped show regulators that Comcast's corporate deal was in the public interest (and it made for good public r …"

"… s in the public interest (and it made for good public relations, too). Now Comcast wants to buy Time Warner, and this new merger begs the question — what h …"

EPA: No comment on fracking air pollution

By Jim Morris and Lisa Song

No one at the Environmental Protection Agency has been willing to talk on the record about air pollution associated with fracking in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… ta, the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming and the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania. Our first attempt at an on-the-record interview was with Ron Curry, the …"

Lobbying activity declines among top special interests

By Dave Levinthal

Three-fifths of nation's top 100 lobbying entities spent less on influence in the second quarter compared to a year ago.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chamber of Commerce":

"… icy battles, for their prolific output.    That’s because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($28.8 million during second-quarter 2014 compared to $19.1 million during …"

Federal complaint challenges Texas town's new ban on housing any border kids

By Susan Ferriss

Civil rights groups are challenging ordinances that prohibit cooperation with federal officials if they ask to shelter kids in towns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… shion. …"

"… n American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, and Appleseed, a Texas public-interest law group. Appleseed has researched dangers faced by Mexic …"

"… plaint argues that the ordinance — one of a number being contemplated in Texas — is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Righ …"

"… that international health experts say is factually unfounded, as the Texas Observer reported.   The United Nations Children’s Fund reports tha …"

Lawmakers issue dueling Dodd-Frank reports

By Jared Bennett

Republicans say the financial reform law creates a bailout fund. Democrats says the 4-year-old law makes banks safer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… , written by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., denounced the financial reform law for faili …"

Families sick from fracking turn to scientists

By Lisa Song

A Pennsylvania nonprofit provides free health consultations to people who live near gas drilling sites and complain of health effects.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention":

"… lvania health department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "There's no one doing research on this. No one's testing what's going on …"

Energy influence in North Dakota is expanding — so what?

By Nicholas Kusnetz and Jared Bennett

A Q & A with reporter Nicholas Kusnetz about the oil and gas industries growing influence in North Dakota.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Defense Fund":

"… ome national environmental organizations are starting to get involved, the Environmental Defense Fund hired a local lobbyist who I actually interviewed because he is a Republic …"

How oil and gas firms gained influence and transformed North Dakota

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Industry has transformed the state, but at what cost?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… hat the state’s monitoring system, set under guidelines from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, continues to show compliance with federal standards. “There’s a lot o …"

Four years after passage, House keeps trying to kill Dodd-Frank

By Jared Bennett

On the fourth anniversary of the passage of landmark financial reform law, opponents still trying to kill it.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ermine key provisions in the financial reform law. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, named by the Center’s April report as the captain of the banking caucus …"

Trains, amputations and the roots of why kids are on the run

By Susan Ferriss

Reports have long warned of chaos in Central America many minors say they want to escape.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. government":

"… nd other crimes. To accord them political asylum would have undermined the U.S. government's policies.” The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees produced …"

Chattanooga wants feds to pre-empt broadband ban

By Allan Holmes

Tennessee city seeks to expand municipal broadband service, pre-empting industry-backed state ban.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chattanooga":

"… mies while almost certainly reducing or entirely removing such subsidies." …"

"… e the infrastructure they need to support their economies.” The move by Chattanooga will be a first salvo in an effort by municipalities and the FCC to revers …"

"… at want to build or expand broadband networks. Wheeler asked to meet with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke in June to discuss the city’s plans for expanding its n …"

"… tition from community broadband. Given the opportunity, we will do so.” Chattanooga’s network, which covers 600 square miles and serves 60,000 customers, ha …"

Class-action suit: Wrong to put kids into immigration court with no lawyers to help

By Susan Ferriss

Kids whose dad was killed by gangsters are among the plaintiffs in a suit arguing that children should have lawyers in immigration court.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… onduran children turning themselves over to Border Patrol agents along the Texas-Mexico border. The network of pro bono attorneys willing to represent mino …"

Feds seek new authority to recoup Medicare Advantage overcharges

By Fred Schulte

Impact: Feds act to recoup overcharges following Center investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokesman":

"… riority for CMS in order to protect beneficiaries and taxpayers," said CMS spokesman Raymond Thorn. "This new rule is just another tool that CMS would use to r …"

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