Obama's EPA breaks pledge to divorce politics from science on toxic chemicals

By David Heath

To the delight of industry, the EPA is completing fewer chemical assessments than ever before.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lobbyist":

"… e EPA completing its scientific assessment. "I have to say that I'm not a lobbyist. I'm a scientist. When the EPA [reached its conclusion]… we found that t …"

"… c as the pesticide companies and at the same time. They even used the same lobbyist: former EPA official Charlie Grizzle. Leveraging the National Academy’s …"

"… eased opportunities for meaningful stakeholder input.” Michael Walls, a lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council, testified, “You can count me among t …"

Groups sue to force EPA's hand on oil and gas emissions

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Nine groups sue to force the EPA to decide whether emissions from oil and gas extraction should be publicly reported.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… a key federal inventory, but not the companies that extract oil and gas. Environmental and open-government groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection …"

"… oil and gas. Environmental and open-government groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency two years ago to add the industry to its Toxics Releas …"

"… group not to report,” said the suit’s lead attorney, Adam Kron of the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group that presses for enforcement of pol …"

"… wrote the coalition’s then-president, Kathryn Z. Klaber. Last year the Environmental Integrity Project released an analysis suggesting that the larger sites, …"

Environment stories you may have missed

By The Center for Public Integrity

We spent 2014 combing through legislation, documents and emissions data to investigate how big companies put people at risk.

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

"… hemical companies, in addition to other health concerns. Keep reading …"

Coal ash no worse than everyday trash, EPA rules

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… acks on our nation's abundant and affordable energy resources.” …"

"… prevent the pollution of air and water and protect our public health.” Environmentalists – who’d hoped the waste, which contains harmful metals such …"

"… nd 10 other groups over the slow pace of the agency’s regulatory action Environmental advocates have long pushed for the “hazardous” designation. They voi …"

"… es. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the likely incoming chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a joint statement with Senator-elect Sh …"

One-stop science shop has become a favorite of industry—and Texas

By Rosalind Adams and Lisa Song

The EPA's sluggishness in assessing chemicals has created opportunities for a consulting firm with ties to chemical and tobacco interests.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… re a separate filing, said attorney Marcus Owens, a former director of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt division.  But that means "it's virtually impossible t …"

Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lobbyist":

"… l amounts of benzene can cause leukemia. The American Petroleum Institute, lobbyist for some of the nation’s largest benzene producers, privately acknowledg …"

Scientist with deep industry ties being considered for key EPA job

By David Heath

Michael Dourson is one of two candidates to lead the EPA office that determines which chemicals make people sick, and in what doses.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… e chemical industry is one of two finalists to lead the office at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that determines which chemicals can make people sick, …"

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 "chemicals":

"… nt years by pummeling rock with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals. Industry groups have pointed to the boom as an economic godsend: jobs, c …"

"… an experience she said has proved typical in the state even though not all chemicals and gases have an odor. “The field rep said, ‘Well, if it doesn’t s …"

National Academy of Sciences agrees with EPA that formaldehyde causes cancer

By David Heath

To the chemical industry's chagrin, a National Academy of Sciences review found that formaldehyde causes cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… y Council, has persuaded members of Congress that the findings of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services were wrong and should be r …"

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 "Environment":

"… If a state regulatory agency — in this case the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — isn’t doing much to curb the industry's air pollution, why …"

"… ’t doing much to curb the industry's air pollution, why isn’t the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stepping in? The EPA, after all, is ultimately respons …"

"… ation in federal agencies.” The letter came shortly after the Society of Environmental Journalists protested the EPA's refusal to release the names of the tech …"

How politics derailed EPA science on arsenic, endangering public health

By David Heath

A ban on arsenic-containing pesticides was lifted after a lawmaker disrupted a scientific assessment by the EPA.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama":

"… y paralyze EPA scientists who evaluate toxic chemicals. In 2009, President Obama signed an executive memorandum to try to stop political interfer …"

"… of Congress. The story of arsenic shows how easily industry thwarted the Obama’s administration’s effort to prevent interference with science. A ubiq …"

"… he agency managed to complete only two assessments. Within five months of Obama taking office, the EPA wrested back control of the process. The agency als …"

EPA plan would slash climate-damaging carbon emissions from 1,000 existing power plants

The EPA on Monday proposed the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. A final rule is expected by June 2015. …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… egulation, 64 environmental and community groups on Tuesday petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down on toxic air emissions from oil and gas operations. The 112 …"

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 "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ponent 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 projects. Local of …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

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

Long-awaited EPA pesticide protections a 'mixed bag' for farmworkers

By Ronnie Greene

After more than two decades, the EPA revised rules to protect farmworkers from pesticides, but advocates say they don't go far enough.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… changes to better protect the nation’s farmworkers from pesticides, the Environmental Protection Agency this week proposed a slate of updates to its agricultural Worker Protectio …"

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 "Earth":

"… ows an earlier judicial order, issued last fall, partly ruling in favor of Earthjustice and 10 other groups in a lawsuit challenging the slow pace of EPA …"

EPA abandons major radiation cleanup in Florida, despite cancer concerns

By Douglas P. Guarino

Federal agency abandons phosphate-mining clean-up, leaving more than 100,000 residents at risk of exposure to cancer-causing radiation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ent if I was on that side," said the source. "You'd be stupid not to." …"

"… but the agency took no action and residential development continued. The Environmental Protection Agency paid little attention to the Lakeland area sites until the new millennium, …"

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 "Coal":

"… ears, helping to defeat the benefits claims of sick miners. Keep reading Coal's doctors of choice A surprising force has helped industry defeat black …"

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 "American Chemistry Council":

"… act when reliable scientific data indicates that action is needed.” The American Chemistry Council, an industry advocacy group, has opposed hundreds of state bills in recent …"

EPA proposes crackdown on emissions from new gas, coal-fired power plants

By Kristen Lombardi

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Coal":

"… any new Coal plants because of this rule,” Paul Bailey, of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the Coal industry’s most public voice, …"

"… because of this rule,” Paul Bailey, of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the Coal industry’s most public voice, said Friday. “We t …"

In new battleground over toxic reform, American Chemistry Council targets the states

By Ronnie Greene

The fight between industry and activists over regulation of toxic chemicals has shifted from Washington, D.C., to state venues.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bisphenol A":

"… ld have effectively required $1 billion companies to disclose their use of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that some studies suggest can impact the brain and …"

How industry beats back environmental regulations

By Bill Buzenberg

Center investigations show the tactics, including lobbying and campaign donations, used to get around policies protecting the public.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Chemistry Council":

"… ur Toxic Clout series, look for an in-depth investigation of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its so-far successful efforts to prevent states and the federal …"

Coal industry, Hill allies target fine print of Obama climate plan

By Kristen Lombardi

President Obama's climate plan, vital to his green agenda, is drawing close scrutiny — and sharp critiques — from powerful coal forces.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Coal":

"… White House pitch on July 31. Flanked by six colleagues from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the Coal industry’s most public voice, …"

"… n July 31. Flanked by six colleagues from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the Coal industry’s most public voice, Bailey pressed the c …"

"… nded a similar note during a meeting with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. Coal-heavy utilities including Duke Energy, DTE Energy and Southern Company hav …"

"… untly: “They wrote the rule to do away with Coal-fired power plants.” Coal and utility groups hurriedly pushed back. Entities, big and small, have fl …"

Farmworker advocates press EPA to update pesticide rules

By Ronnie Greene

Worker rights and pesticide safety advocates are in Washington this week, urging updates to the EPA's Worker Protection Standard.

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 "Clean Air Act":

"… cases since 2012.     …"

"… felonies, respectively. Each was convicted of five counts of violating the Clean Air Act by emitting coke oven gas from an unpermitted emission source, along with …"

"… d the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. They were acquitted of four Clean Air Act counts. Kamholz, but not the company, was convicted of obstruction of just …"

"… ase proved to be nearly unique: A rare criminal prosecution of the federal Clean Air Act. Prosecutors say the complexity of Clean Air Act cases makes them difficu …"

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 "American Chemistry Council":

"… won the endorsement of nine Senate Republicans, along with the influential American Chemistry Council, a trade group.  A council spokesman called it “a balanced, compre …"

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. …"

'Upset' emissions: Flares in the air, worry on the ground

By Kristen Lombardi and Andrea Fuller

Residents living along the chemical corridor of Texas and Louisiana often encounter 'upset' emissions -- triggering pollution, health fears.

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

"… health threat,” acknowledges Larry Soward, a former commissioner at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who served on its board from 2003 to 2009. “Upsets” occur when equip …"

"… ries, chemical plants and manufacturing facilities. Data collected by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, TCEQ, offer a rare window into this pollution peril; the state agency req …"

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