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 "United States":

"… to keep up with the ever-expanding array of chemicals made and used in the United States. The EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System – IRIS – has …"

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 "Environment":

"… lth-protective, than the old one. The decision by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was a boon for oil refineries, petrochemical plants and o …"

"… ott, the state’s governor-elect, has taken legal action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 19 times since 2010, arguing that overly restrictive r …"

"… e emissions. Ron Melnick, a former scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, analyzed the TCEQ’s 139-page description of …"

"… ental community tends to rely on a single expert—Elena Craft of the Environmental Defense Fund—to weigh in on risk assessment science. Air Alliance Hous …"

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 "Ohio":

"… hexavalent chromium. Dourson left the EPA in 1994 to start TERA, based in Ohio. The group’s website notes that 63 percent of TERA’s revenue in 2 …"

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 "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… stein, a faculty emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh who served as an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official during the Reagan administration. The beginning of a shift is un …"

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 "Congress":

"… hief lobby group, the American Chemistry Council, has persuaded members of Congress that the findings of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Depa …"

"… d by Robust Science.” Part of the disparity is that in the 2011 report, Congress asked the academy only to critique the EPA’s draft assessment rather tha …"

"… its negative assessment of arsenic over to the academy. At the same time, Congress also insisted that the EPA redo all ongoing assessments to address the cri …"

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 Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… easonable question: 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 isn’t t …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ncy could review the drinking water standard. But an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that one member of Congress effectively blocked the release of the E …"

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 "Earthjustice":

"… operations. The 112-page petition, filed by the public-interest law firm Earthjustice, asks the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to develop “r …"

"… s, and birth defects, among others,” the petition says. Emma Cheuse, an Earthjustice lawyer, said in a telephone interview that “people across the United Sta …"

"… 45,000 new wells are expected to be drilled each year through 2035,” the Earthjustice petition says. “The oil and gas expansion has brought drilling activiti …"

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 "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… ry was released, the Austin American-Statesman reported that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which funded the study, had slashed AACOG’s air-quality planning …"

"… mously on April 23 to 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 money is crit …"

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 "Earthjustice":

"… pecially teen pesticide handlers,” Eve C. Gartner, a staff attorney with Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest law organization, wrote The Center for Public …"

"… putting the minimum age to 16 are both “illuminating and disturbing,” Earthjustice’s Gartner said. Farmworkers advocates also pushed the EPA to require med …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… toxic sludge on Feb. 2 after a storm pipe broke. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is agreeing to regulate the disposal of coal ash as part of a settlement i …"

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 "Superfund":

"… Mara Burger, suggests the EPA decision not to clean up the sites under its Superfund program indicated that the federal agency did not consider the Lakeland ar …"

"… er the Lakeland area "problematic" from a public health standpoint. Under Superfund law, the federal agency is authorized to remediate contaminated sites that …"

"… the federal agency spokeswoman said. The EPA decision not to enforce its Superfund standards at the Florida sites is consistent with a controversial new guid …"

"… ivate meetings that they strongly opposed the agency declaring the parcels Superfund sites. Such a move could make mining companies liable for as much as $11 b …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… d it seems this ruling will preserve that interest.”     …"

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 "Toxic Substances Control Act":

"… al statutes meant to protect consumers from toxic substances. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act, passed in 1976, grants the Environmental Protection Agency power to requi …"

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 "Kentucky":

"… ministration’s second term climate agenda,” wrote Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who chairs the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Whitfield is …"

"… Whitfield’s actions. He notes that the coal industry employs 14,000-plus Kentucky residents, and provides nearly 92 percent of the state’s electricity. …"

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 "Buffalo":

"… manager in July — and hope, in the town of Tonawanda, just upstate from Buffalo, that the prosecution will help end decades of concern over the toxins tai …"

"… Coke and Kamholz are scheduled to be sentenced July 15 in federal court in Buffalo, though the defense is asking for a delay. While the convictions could yie …"

"… s. For Joyce Hogenkamp, watching lawyers present evidence in the downtown Buffalo courthouse made her think of her late mother. Growing up on Hackett Drive …"

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 "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

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

'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 …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ed at the White House Office of Management and Budget. The list, which the Environmental Protection Agency wants to put out for public comment, includes bisphenol A, a chemical used …"

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 "Hexavalent chromium":

"… ent chromium example was the major impetus for this revision,” he said. Hexavalent chromium, best known as the toxic chemical compound from the hit film Erin Brockovi …"

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