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 "Pennsylvania":

"… l. The study monitored air at locations in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. It comes amid a growing body of research suggesting tha …"

"… past 18 months. A Yale University study released in September found that Pennsylvania residents living less than two-thirds of a mile from natural-gas wells wer …"

"… on.’ And then it was off the charts.” In desperate search of data In Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna County, six of the air samples shipped off for testing con …"

"… t we could to document anything,” said Roter, 53, who lives in Brooklyn, Pennsylvania. “The best way to have a real discussion about what’s really happening …"

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 "National Academy of Sciences":

"… ment of Health and Human Services were wrong and should be reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, the academy did indeed criticize the EPA’s report on formalde …"

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 …"

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 "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 "Environment":

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

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.

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "food":

"… important milestone for the farm workers who plant, tend, and harvest the food that we put on our tables each day,” McCarthy said. “Protecting o …"

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 "United States":

"… e the usual federal rules could have far-reaching implications for how the United States deals with future radioactive contamination anywhere across the country …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Judge":

"… the agency by environmental groups. In a decision Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton of the D.C. Circuit Court gave the EPA 60 days to file what …"

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 "chemicals":

"… e of this product,” Palmer said. …"

"… the country, allows the state to publish a list of potentially threatening chemicals — and then, by next April, target up to five priority products containin …"

"… n California will have to launch detailed assessments to see whether safer chemicals are available and, if so, alter their products. The goal: To remove toxic …"

"… are available and, if so, alter their products. The goal: To remove toxic chemicals from commerce and prompt industry to provide safe alternatives. “We’r …"

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 "George W. Bush":

"… this,” added Holmstead, who headed the EPA's air office under President George W. Bush. “If EPA says, ‘This is the standard,’ there will be litigation.” …"

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 "energy":

"… bout the costs of stringent environmental regulation — lost jobs, higher energy costs. He offered the coalition’s own emissions standards. And he issued …"

"… ith the President and the Congress to invest in solutions that deliver our energy and environmental goals.” The mining association has twice met with air …"

"… ntal foes. The EPA’s McCarthy declined to be interviewed. Obama’s top energy and climate advisor, Heather Zichal, did not respond to interview requests …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… of government regulation, farmworkers and their advocates are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to update rules that are two decades old, and, critics say, dangerously da …"

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 "Department of Health":

"… ng to a draft health outcomes review published in February by the New York Department of Health, residents living near the plant have been more likely to suffer lung and …"

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 "senior attorney":

"… leaves too many gaps in protecting the public,” Daniel Rosenberg, a senior attorney with the group, said in a statement May 24. Rosenberg said it lacks statut …"

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 "Louisiana":

"… plants and other industrial facilities along the chemical corridor of the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast. Those unplanned emissions — known in regulatory pa …"

'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 City":

"… er child of all upsets — the “40-day Release” at the BP refinery, in Texas City, which belched 514,795 pounds of benzene and 20 other pollutants throughou …"

"… what’s reported and what’s emitted. Take the 40-day release at BP’s Texas City refinery. Plant supervisors assumed one flare had destroyed nearly 98 perc …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

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

'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 "Law":

"… on recently departed OIRA director Cass Sunstein, now teaching at Harvard Law School. In his new book, “Simpler: The Future of Government,” Sun …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ated in the assessment. The bill is awaiting action by the full House. …"

'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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… subject to other, less stringent requirements and avoided certain OSHA and Environmental Protection Agency rules. West Chemical and Fertilizer did not respond to requests for comme …"

Earth Day 2013

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… 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 study predicts, for inst …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… mericans drink water contaminated with chromium (VI), a toxic compound the Environmental Protection Agency was poised in 2011 to conclude likely causes cancer. That finding would no …"

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