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 "Idaho":

"… ublic Integrity reported in June that Rep. Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, got the EPA to turn its negative assessment of arsenic over to the academ …"

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 "Texas":

"… air pollution caused by the fracking boom in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas. Despite hundreds of complaints from residents, many of them about noxious …"

"… and rarely fines companies for breaking emission laws. On our 11 trips to Texas we encountered many residents who asked what seemed to be a reasonable que …"

"… easonable question: If a state regulatory agency — in this case the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — isn’t doing much to curb the ind …"

"… eking on-the-record interviews with EPA officials in Washington, D.C., and Texas. Five months later, no such interviews have been granted. Instead, EPA pr …"

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 "Appropriations Committee":

"… derail the EPA’s assessment. In July 2011, language appeared in a House Appropriations Committee report ordering the EPA to take no action on its arsenic assessment and tu …"

"… of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit group that closely monitors the Appropriations Committee, said rank-and-file members of the House cannot strike or amend language i …"

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 "United States":

"… nd oil plants nationwide — the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, accounting for nearly one- third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions …"

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 "United States":

"… rthjustice lawyer, said in a telephone interview that “people across the United States need leadership at the national level, need the EPA to act.” Most states …"

"… loosely enforced. As of 2011, there were more than 1 million wells in the United States, “and as many as 45,000 new wells are expected to be drilled each year t …"

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 "South Carolina":

"… t each of the six states his group represents — Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee — ranks high in terms of adverse health …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "waste":

"… s regulatory action. The agency is now weighing how to regulate coal ash, waste from the production of electricity. One of the nation’s largest refuse s …"

"… a federal court judge sided with the groups in finding that, under federal waste law, the EPA has a duty to review and, if necessary, revise rules every th …"

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.

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 "Frank Lautenberg":

"… he states, and backs a pending proposal pushed by the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg. In California, the ACC pushed back against the new regulations. “At be …"

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 "advocacy":

"… dustry — fueled by the American Chemistry Council, a $100-million-a-year advocacy group glittered with Fortune 500 partners — is flexing its muscles from …"

"… hy away from — or apologize for — its lobbying efforts. “We’re an advocacy organization,” said spokesman Scott Openshaw. “We’re in business to …"

"… nstance, notes that the Kennebec County Chamber of Commerce honored her “advocacy on behalf of the business community.” Under her watch, Maine has been s …"

"… feds. “They can’t win on science,” said Hulick, of the Connecticut advocacy group. “It became not about the health of kids. Somehow, that became sec …"

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 "Environment":

"… country from the impacts of climate change.” The president directed the Environmental Protection Agency to “put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon po …"

"… ial newsletters relevant to your interest. ------------------------- Environmentalists — many advocating their own carbon agendas — see a familiar patt …"

"… d climate advisor, Heather Zichal, did not respond to interview requests. Environmentalists are hoping the EPA’s re-proposal proves to be as strong as its ori …"

"… on.” Referring to the carbon regulations, the spokesperson said, “The Environmental Protection Agency was directed by the President to issue a proposed rule …"

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 "waste":

"… e was released into the atmosphere and significant quantities of hazardous waste containing benzene were left out in the open, it would be hard to imagine …"

"… through its “practice of mixing its coal tar sludge, a listed hazardous waste that is toxic for benzene, on the ground in violation of hazardous waste r …"

"… s waste that is toxic for benzene, on the ground in violation of hazardous waste regulations,” according to prosecutors. Just before a 2009 EPA inspecti …"

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 "Louisiana":

"… ical plants and other industrial facilities along the chemical corridor of Louisiana and Texas. Those unplanned emissions — known in regulatory parlance as …"

"… helped reduce incidents by 6 percent in the most recent year of reporting; Louisiana officials cite a 41 percent decrease since 2008. Yet those numbers tell o …"

"… nts in eight years, according to company reports compiled by the nonprofit Louisiana Bucket Brigade. State regulators later deemed the leak “preventable,” …"

"… y the state. The Bucket Brigade stands by its analysis, and explains that Louisiana doesn’t have a standardized system for companies to report upset events. …"

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 "Louisiana":

"… blanket exemptions with rules that, critics say, aren’t much firmer. In Louisiana and Texas, plant managers can claim unauthorized releases are “upsets” …"

"… ply put, says Tim Knight, an environmental-compliance administrator at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, “Industry will have problems.” E …"

"… ity.” Officials at the agency’s regional office encompassing Texas and Louisiana launched a program in 2011 inviting the area’s top 17 emitters to the ta …"

"… regulators responded to repeated upsets by the biggest Texas emitters. In Louisiana, Bucket Brigade advocates have turned toward a little-known EPA program th …"

'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.

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 "Congress":

"… tts, have not responded to interview requests. Meanwhile, some members of Congress are pushing potential change to support industry. The House science commi …"

'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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Homeland Security Department":

"… ticular facility…” The groups said they supported continuation of the Homeland Security Department’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, begun in 2 …"

"… dvocates and others say the program is riddled with loopholes. It bars the Homeland Security Department, for example, from requiring any “particular security measure,” exempt …"

"… that blew up this week, is among the 4,458 facilities nationwide that the Homeland Security Department considers high-risk. The company stored anhydrous ammonia, a toxic gas th …"

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

How industry scientists stalled action on carcinogen

By David Heath

Tens of millions of Americans drink tap water tainted with chromium. But industry pushback has made it hard for the EPA to regulate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George Washington University":

"… fferent. The company hired academic scientists, such as Steven Patierno at George Washington University, who testified that saliva and stomach acid render toxic chromium harmless …"

"… ngerous only in high doses. Celeste Monforton, a professorial lecturer at George Washington University’s School of Public Health who has written about industry scientists’ i …"