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 …"

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 "oil and gas industry":

"… agency’s handling of a critical environmental issue. Concerns about the oil and gas industry's air pollution — which contains benzene, toluene and other chemicals kn …"

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 "White House":

"… ve years reviewing hundred of studies before sending a draft report to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in October 2008. EPA scientists concl …"

"… 0 times greater than any other toxin regulated by drinking-water laws. The White House at that point had become a nemesis of EPA scientists, requiring them to cl …"

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 "Environment":

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

"… achieve recognition of significant emission reductions" under it.   Environmental advocates welcomed the EPA proposal as a long time coming, applauding bo …"

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 "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 "Pat McCrory":

"… uke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River. In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory worked for Duke Energy for 29 years before taking office — a connection …"

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.

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.

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 …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… public comment period, and the agency plans to hold a public hearing. …"

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 "Environment":

"… to smother toxics reform bills filed in states fed up with logjams at the Environmental Protection Agency. Connecticut is just one snapshot of a larger picture …"

"… rk,” said Steve Lester, science director for the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, a nonprofit headquartered in Falls Church, Va., and founded …"

"… dding of an ACC lobbyist. In Maine, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, Patricia Aho, was an ACC lobbyist before taking office in 20 …"

"… ildren's Products Are Free of Cadmium An Act To Provide the Department of Environmental Protection with Regulatory Flexibility Regarding the Listing of Priority …"

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 "United States":

"… new commitment to tackle the threat of climate change. Power plants in the United States produce almost 40 percent of domestic greenhouse gases. Next week, as par …"

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 "Mark L. Kamholz":

"… The federal case focused on Tonawanda Coke Corp. and environmental manager Mark L. Kamholz, of West Seneca, N.Y. For years, residents had complained that elevated l …"

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.

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 "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… nt cloud of invisible 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 these faciliti …"

'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 "Calumet Specialty Products":

"… eveport Upstate in Shreveport, residents have for years complained of the Calumet Specialty Products oil refinery’s upsets, which have shattered windows and shaken foundatio …"

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 "Eric Schaeffer":

"… n the toolbox.” Advocates remind federal regulators problems continue. Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project and a former EPA enforcem …"

'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 "Obama":

"… g writes. Sunstein did not respond to an invitation to comment. President Obama has nominated Howard Shelanski, director of the Federal Trade Commission …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "toxic chemicals":

"… bias from tainting its science, including efforts to assess the dangers of toxic chemicals. The reforms, targeting scientific review panels selected for EPA by outs …"

'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.

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

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chromium":

"… all government action on Chromium worked on the studies delaying the EPA. Chromium (VI), you may recall, is the same chemical compound featured in the movie …"

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