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 "World Health Organization":

"… g contained high levels of formaldehyde, classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. All were taken near compressor stations, which pressurize natural gas so …"

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 "Environment":

"… 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 w …"

"… pportunity to advance the science.” Richard Denison, a scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, countered: “One can only hope that this sorry episode an …"

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.

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 "National Mining Association":

"… ch and Soil Council; the Association of California Water Agencies; and the National Mining Association, including the mining companies Arch Coal and Rio Tinto. Grizzle began ma …"

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 "Denver":

"… th, the agency also plans to hold four public hearings on the proposal, in Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. A final rule is expected by Jun …"

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 "fracturing":

"… ells have been drilled in the past five years through the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Some residents of the region have reported breathing difficu …"

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 …"

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 …"

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.

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.

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 "New Mexico":

"… per gram of soil standard at many sites, and listed some in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York and Michigan as examples. However, Florida officials considered …"

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.

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.

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 "New Jersey":

"… The ACC model has been introduced in at least five other statehouses from New Jersey to Oregon, the Center found by analyzing a Sunlight Foundation databa …"

"… t Act, one of the last bills filed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the venerable New Jersey Democrat who died earlier this year. “Our No.1 priority is to see the T …"

"… e. The ACC model was introduced in state houses in Oregon, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, Michigan and Texas — and adopted, in some form, in Michigan, New Jersey …"

"… New Jersey, Michigan and Texas — and adopted, in some form, in Michigan, New Jersey and Illinois but not in other states, the Center found. In Iowa, several …"

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 "Bracewell":

"… Holmstead, now representing coal and utility companies at D.C. lobbyist Bracewell & Giuliani, where Segal also works, argued as much last year in an unu …"

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 "Erin Heaney":

"… $10 million, and a year or two of jail time might be more realistic, said Erin Heaney, the executive director of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York. A …"

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 "Natural Resources Defense Council":

"… uled it for a hearing. Meanwhile, prominent environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council have expressed misgivings. The bill “still leaves too many gaps in prot …"

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 "Environment":

"… onor system which companies easily exploit.   For decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatory agencies have effectively ignored …"

"… e spoliation. As a former official in Houston with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told the Center, “A big dose of toxins [is] coming out of thes …"

'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 "Environment":

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

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

"… ors have encouraged this casual attitude, some say. For decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatory agencies have effectively ignored …"

"… ompany in the U.S. District Court in Houston. The Sierra Club, along with Environment Texas, filed suit in December 2010, charging that non-routine incidents at …"

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 "Environment":

"… her Kelly Haragan calls “a flat-out exemption” for such emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency offered similar immunity for those involving hazardous …"

"… Little has changed, enforcement data collected by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality suggests: Throughout fiscal year 2011, agency officials investig …"

"… , an Environmental-compliance administrator at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, “Industry will have problems.” Earlier this year, the LDEQ …"

"… ind federal regulators problems continue. Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project and a former EPA enforcement chief, has sent letter af …"

'Chemicals of Concern' list still wrapped in OMB red tape

By Jim Morris

The EPA wants to release a list of 'chemicals of concern' for public comment, but the list remains locked up with the White House OMB.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgetown University":

"… w review article, former EPA official Lisa Heinzerling, a law professor at Georgetown University, offers some clues. Heinzerling lays some blame on recently departed OIRA …"

EPA adds safeguards to spotlight conflicts on scientific panels

By David Heath and Ronnie Greene

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new steps Friday to help reveal potential conflicts of interest in scientific review panels.

'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.

Earth Day 2013

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… only accepted as the smell of prosperity.” Today, as officials with the Environmental Protection Agency are quick to point out, things are better. An EPA stud …"

Fertilizer trade group opposed stricter security rules

By Jim Morris

The Fertilizer Institute has fought legislation that would require chemical facilities to consider using safer substances and processes

Excerpts from this story referencing "White House":

"… e EPA drafted legislation along the lines of what Hind described. The Bush White House shot it down. Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA’s administrator at the ti …"

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Chemistry Council":

"… PA’s delay was caused in part by waiting for new studies paid for by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade group and lobbyist. And, some of the …"