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Tag Archive: EPA

Why are efforts to regulate potentially hazardous plastics stalled?

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Image of EPA Administrator Lisa JacksonIn late 2009, when Lisa Jackson, at the time President Barack Obama's new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), invoked a long-existing but never-before-used power to  to create a list of "chemicals of concern," the administration appeared to be putting chemical companies on notice that it planned to be aggressive about regulating risks from exposure to the industry's product. Jackson's list included eight of the common plasticizers known as "phthalates" that have been shown to cause to reproductive abnormalities in animal studies and that have also been linked to health problems in humans. They are used ...

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Sunlight’s Priorities for the Next Administration

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Regardless of who wins the presidential election, the next administration will have enormous power to say how open our government will be. We have organized our priorities for the next administration below, to share where we think our work on executive branch issues will be focused, in advance of the election results. From money in politics to open data, spending, and freedom of information, we'll be working to open up the Executive Branch. We'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for Sunlight's Executive Branch work, please leave additional ideas in the comments below. (We'll also be sharing other recommendations soon, including a legislative agenda for the 113th Congress, and a suite of reform proposals for the House and Senate rules packages.) Sunlight Reform Agenda for the Next Administration:

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Senate hears from heavy hitters on both sides of fracking debate

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The effect on the water supply of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking -- a method for extracting heretofore hard to reach natural gas reserves -- has caught national attention, even inspiring a fiercely critical movie. Now, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is looking into the effect of fracking on the air -- and getting an earful from witnesses from organizations on both sides of the debate with long track records in Washington's influence game..

The panel's Clean Air and Nuclear Safety subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday on recently issued Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performance standards for reducing ...

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EPA’s Apps for the Environment Challenge

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App contests are a dime a dozen these days. Right now there are 111 listed on challenge.gov. A quick review of the challenges showed that few agencies do anything to reach out to developer communities once the contest is posted. The EPA, however, has done a fantastic job with their Apps for the Environment contest by actively working with participants. Ethan McMahon, dedicated public servant and EPA employee, came to the last django-district meetup to try and get developers involved in the contest.

The EPA has compiled a great list of data sets and web services for developers to use. If you've looked these over and still don't have an idea, there is a curated list of potential app ideas to get you going. Still without an idea? The public has been submitting their own suggestions on the EPA's data blog.

One of the biggest issues with app contests like this has less to do with the quality of submitted applications and more with the proper usage of the data; many of the datasets that the government produces are quite complex. People have spent their entire careers becoming experts in their field, so how can a developer understand the data in the few months they have to create an app? EPA has really excelled in this area by hosting weekly webinars (I hate that word, it's netposium from here on out) to help developers understand the data sets they are working with. You can suggest a netposium or ask specific questions about the data by emailing greenapps@epa.gov. I'd love to see the netposiums continue after the contest ends so that anyone working with EPA data will have a rich resource to which they can refer.

Submissions are due by September 16, so get coding!

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Business community has its guns aimed at the environment, financial reforms

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In a bid to roll back laws and regulations, some passed and some proposed, in the last two years, business conglomerates have targeted a handful of federal agencies -- with the Environmental Protection Agency receiving the bulk of the attention -- in reply to a request by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., calling for industry feedback on which rules the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee should investigate.

Issa, the Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee released close to 2000 pages of letters, research studies, expert testimonials and comments addressed to the executive bodies in charge of the rule making. The documents ...

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EPA limits chemical accident data citing security concerns

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It has been 20 years since Congress included provisions in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments to inform citizens of risks from factories using hazardous substances, but the data that details the potential effects of accidents at these sites is largely unavailable to the public.

In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency began requiring plants that use a threshold amount of certain toxic or flammable substances to submit a risk management plan detailing what they are doing to prevent accidents and how they would respond if one occurred. But some lawmakers became concerned about one section of risk plans that laid ...

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Quest for EPA documents reveal deliberate misclassification by agency staff

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For the past four years, as executive director of Citizen Action New Mexico, Dave McCoy has been hounding the local and federal government for documents.

McCoy alleges that Sandia National Laboratory’s Mixed Waste Landfill monitoring wells are mismanaged by the New Mexico Environment Department, and that the public water supply is in danger of contamination.

He requested documents from an EPA regional office that assessed the state’s oversight of the landfill and after getting little information, complained to the EPA’s inspector general. The watchdog concluded in an April report that some officials deliberately failed to document management ...

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OGD: Reviewing EPA’s interactive datasets

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The Environmental Protection Agency has been ahead of several other cabinet level agencies when it comes to putting data online. For several years now some of their main datasets are available with interactive features such as maps and in a downloadable format. Now according to EPA’s open government plan, the agency is planning on releasing several new data driven projects by the end of 2010, some of which are already public.

The first, managed by Horizon Systems is a suite geospatial data that compiles the features of several databases related to watershed management. This project part of which which ...

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