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As experts recognize new form of black lung, coal industry follows familiar pattern of denial (11/1/13)

Yet, while other variants of black lung are defined explicitly in Labor Department regulations, Latusek’s form is not, and doctors paid by the coal industry continue to testify that there is no evidence of any connection between mining and this form of disease. This leaves the complex medical issue to... Read more...

EPA Cooling Water Rule Delayed Again (11/1/13)

EPA is "discussing a new deadline" with environmental litigants for finalizing its technology requirements for cooling water towers at large, existing power plants, EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said today. The regulation was due to be finalized by Monday, according to a court settlement EPA has with environmentalists. The agency's proposed... Read more...

White House Will Focus on Climate Shifts While Trying to Cut Greenhouse Gases (11/1/13)

White House aides said President Obama would sign an executive order on Friday morning directing federal agencies to make it easier for states and communities to build resilience against storms, droughts and other weather extremes. Read more...

Johns Hopkins medical unit rarely finds black lung, helping coal industry defeat miners' claims (10/30/13)

More than a half-dozen doctors who have seen the X-ray and CT images of his chest agree he has the most severe form of black lung disease. Yet his claim for benefits was denied in 2011. The medical opinions primarily responsible for sinking his claim didn’t come from consultants-for-hire at a... Read more...

J.P. Morgan’s $5.1 Billion Settlement Is Tax Deductible (10/29/13)

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s $5.1 billion settlement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be entirely tax deductible for the bank, according to a person familiar with the situation—effectively lessening the bank’s true payout and shifting part of the settlement’s cost to taxpayers. Read more...

U.S. Says It Won’t Back New International Coal-Fired Power Plants (10/29/13)

In an aggressive move to impose President Obama’s environmental policies overseas, the Treasury Department on Tuesday largely declared an end to United States support for new coal-fired power plants around the world. The decision means that Mr. Obama’s administration will no longer contribute to coal projects financed by the World... Read more...

USDA plan to speed up poultry-processing lines could increase risk of bird abuse (10/29/13)

Nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are unintentionally boiled alive each year in U.S. slaughterhouses, often because fast-moving lines fail to kill the birds before they are dropped into scalding water, U.S. Department of Agriculture records show. A USDA proposal would make the problem of inhumane treatment worse, according to government... Read more...

Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners (10/29/13)

Part 1 of a 3-part series, 'Breathless and Burdened: Dying from black lung, buried by law and medicine' Read more...

Federal Judge Gives EPA 60 Days to Set Deadline for Coal Ash Regulations (10/29/13)

A federal judge issued a memorandum today in a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to finalize federal coal ash regulations. The Court gave the EPA 60 days to “file a written submission with this Court setting forth a proposed deadline for its compliance with [EPA’s] obligation to review... Read more...

Deregulating Wall Street Makes Bankers Richer And Hurts Everyone Else (10/28/13)

Deregulating the financial sector robs from the poor and gives to the rich, according to a new paper from a pair of University of Maryland economists. Their argument makes a persuasive mathematical case for either tightening financial regulations or dramatically increasing the way financial sector profits are taxed. Read more...

After Year of Working Around Federal Cuts, Agencies Face Fewer Options (10/27/13)

While the most dire predictions may not have materialized in 2013, the tricks that many agencies employed — deferring maintenance, using unspent money from earlier years, cutting staff by attrition — are likely to be exhausted by 2014, when federal departments must trim an additional $24 billion from already tight... Read more...

White House changes to food import rule weaken consumer protections (10/25/13)

Originally, the FDA was going to require the importer to conduct or obtain documentation of an onsite audit in all cases where the food is subject to a “designated food safety regulation.” Most kinds of imported foods would have automatically required an onsite audit. Once the White House was through with... Read more...

F.D.A. Moves to Regulate Food for Animals (10/25/13)

The Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Friday that would govern the production of pet food and farm animal feed for the first time. The regulation would help prevent food-borne illness in both animals and people, officials at the agency said, as people can become sick from handling contaminated animal... Read more...

MSHA cites 3 mines under new 'pattern of violations' rule (10/24/13)

Federal inspectors on Thursday took stepped-up enforcement actions against three coal mines -- including two in West Virginia -- citing them under a tougher new "pattern of violations" rule written in the wake of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration used the updated rule... Read more...

Bloated Government? Federal Employment at 47-Year Low (10/22/13)

Floyd Norris: Now, the federal government employs exactly 2 percent of the people with jobs in this country. In 1966, the figure was more than twice that, 4.3 percent. Read more...

Chemical safety groups push for action ahead of agency recommendations (10/22/13)

Health, safety and environmental organizations called Tuesday upon supporters to press the White House to impose new chemical regulations in the wake of April’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. As part of its campaign, the coalition issued a video showing images from disasters, overdubbed with excerpts of Obama speaking at... Read more...

White House Changes to FSMA Rule (10/22/13)

Consumer advocates have noticed two edits they don’t like as they work to digest hundreds of pages that show changes the White House Office of Management and Budget made to two key Food Safety Modernization Act proposals. First: The OMB struck FDA’s plan to require onsite audits as part of its... Read more...

Jensen Brothers Take Responsibility But Blame PrimusLabs (10/21/13)

The brothers, who will accept responsibly for the nation’s most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness in a generation, are prepared to say that blame clearly rests with the third-party auditor they relied upon to keep their cantaloupes safe for human consumption. After first pleading not guilty last month to all charges,... Read more...

Scalded by Coffee, Then News Media (10/21/13)

Video: In 1992, Stella Liebeck spilled scalding McDonald’s coffee in her lap and later sued the company, attracting a flood of negative attention. It turns out there was more to the story. Read more...

White House FSMA Rules Redline (10/21/13)

The FDA Friday quietly posted the White House’s redline version of the proposed Foreign Supplier Verification Program and third party auditor accreditation rules to the regulatory docket, offering the first look at what exactly what the Office of Management and Budget changed during the two years it was reviewing these... Read more...

Schumer, LI families, push for rearview cameras on cars (10/20/13)

Sen. Charles Schumer and two Long Island families vowed Sunday to fight the federal Department of Transportation's delays in enforcing a 2008 law requiring all new cars to come with lifesaving rearview cameras installed. "This law was signed by President Bush," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said with the two families of children... Read more...

You Thought the Government Shutdown Was Over. You Were Wrong. (10/18/13)

Federal employees had to take unpaid furlough days. Beneficiaries were thrown off of federal programs. Courthouses had to be sold. Federal agencies like the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health strained to meet commitments, leading to more crime, more outbreaks of disease and less... Read more...

Poll: Majority wanted EPA open during shutdown (10/17/13)

The Environmental Protection Agency should have kept operating during the government shutdown, a majority of people said in a new poll. The poll from left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that 65 percent of the public opposed the EPA being prevented from doing its work. Read more...

Request That Silica Commenters Disclose Funding Sparks Debate on Transparency, Bias (10/17/13)

In a move widely believed to be a first, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has asked parties who submit comments about the agency's pending silica rule to disclose their financial backers and potential conflicts of interest, teeing up another debate over the proper way to conduct rulemaking. Read more...

Why another CR would hurt food safety (10/16/13)

As congressional leaders negotiate to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling — which will likely include another short-term continuing resolution at post-sequester levels — the FDA stands to get uniquely screwed by the deal. Unlike most federal agencies, the FDA does well and even surpasses sequester caps when lawmakers... Read more...

JPMorgan agrees to $100M CFTC fine on 'London Whale' charges (10/16/13)

JPMorgan admitted to reckless behavior and will pay the Commodity Futures Trading Commission $100 million to settle charges stemming from the bank's "London Whale" trading debacle. The fines closed out a 17-month investigation by the regulator into the billions of dollars in losses the world's biggest bank suffered in a complex... Read more...

No new regs for Wednesday (10/15/13)

There won’t be any new regulations issued on Wednesday, though one public meeting is being announced. Read more...

Coal ash leads to lawsuit in West Virginia, Pennsylvania (10/14/13)

More than 50 West Virginia and Pennsylvania property owners are suing FirstEnergy over groundwater pollution, soggy yards and foundation damage they blame on a leaking coal ash impoundment and the 7-mile waste pipeline that feeds it. Read more...

Study links warmer water temperatures to greater levels of mercury in fish (10/13/13)

Killifish are not usually big eaters. But in warmer waters, at temperatures projected for the future by climate scientists, their metabolism — and their appetites — go up, which is not a good thing if there are toxins in their food. Read more...

Shutdown savages some regulators (10/13/13)

The government shutdown’s axe has dealt an uneven blow to the nation’s financial regulators, virtually shuttering at least one agency while leaving others at full strength. On balance, financial regulators have been spared the brunt of the shutdown, though thousands of additional furloughs could be on the way as leftover... Read more...

The Tea Party thinks it hates Wall Street. It doesn’t. (10/12/13)

When it comes to financial regulation, there are no substantial issues on which Tea Party Republicans differ from Wall Street. Read more...

International derivatives trading rules take effect (10/11/13)

New rules for international derivatives dealers are changing the paradigm for the roughly $700 trillion swaps market, a top financial regulator said on Friday. On Thursday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) guidance for international derivatives deals went into place, setting rules of the road for deals between international firms and... Read more...

Clinical Trials Continue, but Only at a Crawl (10/10/13)

The federal government has continued to enroll critically ill people in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health since the government shutdown began last week, but the pace has slowed drastically, and many other sick people are having to wait for treatment. Read more...

Furloughed Inspectors Leave Gaps in Safety Oversight (10/9/13)

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government has sidelined thousands of inspectors who monitor everything from air and water pollution to safety hazards at factories and the condition of nursing homes. Read more...

Government shutdown puts squeeze on health, safety (10/9/13)

Cutbacks and furloughs are hampering investigations ranging from a fatal subway accident in Washington, the heart of the shutdown crisis, to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened people in at least 18 Western states. Domestic violence shelters are threatened, mine safety could be, and efforts to improve vital weather forecasting... Read more...

Government shutdown worst-case scenario realized: Salmonella outbreak (10/8/13)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is operating with about one-third of its staff on the job during the shutdown, confirmed Tuesday that it has now brought back 30 furloughed employees in its foodborne division to help handle the outbreak, which has sickened 278 people in 18 states. Unlike... Read more...

Shutdown furloughs about to hit nuclear safety agency (10/8/13)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday it expects to furlough some 3,600 employees at the close of business on Thursday if Republicans and Democrats in Congress still have not resolved their impasse over federal spending. The 300 essential personnel who would stay on include about 150 so-called "resident inspectors." Read more...

Chemical agency warns it has ‘no ability’ to respond if disaster strikes (10/8/13)

The chairman of the federal Chemical Safety Board warned Tuesday that the agency would be unable to respond to a major disaster, thanks to a lingering government shutdown that has forced the furlough of more than 90 percent of its workers. The board has suspended its investigation of April’s deadly blast... Read more...

The Government Shutdown Trickle-Down: 50 Effects Of The Budget Standstill (10/8/13)

A week after Congress failed to agree to fund the operation of the government, the impacts of the shutdown are starting to trickle down. No longer is the story being told in numbers (workers furloughed, budgets cuts, jobs at risk). Increasingly, it's being told with people's angst, frustration and weariness. Businesses... Read more...

Govt health and safety efforts slowed or halted (10/8/13)

The government shutdown has slowed or halted federal efforts to protect Americans' health and safety, from probes into the cause of transportation and workplace accidents to tracking the flu. Read more...

Can miners afford for MSHA to miss inspections? (10/8/13)

We may not know yet exactly why and how these three coal miners — Roger R. King, Robert Smith, Chris Stassinos — died, and whether the government shutdown was one of the causes. But given what we do know about the dangers of the mining industry, the history of the... Read more...

Nuclear regulator prepares for furloughs (10/7/13)

Like some other agencies, the NRC has been using some leftover money, which it calls the “no-year” fund, to keep workers on the job while the rest of the government has shut down. That money will run out after Thursday, though, an agency spokesman told The Hill. Read more...

There’s a Major Foodborne Illness Outbreak and the Government’s Shut Down (10/7/13)

While the government is shut down, with food-safety personnel and disease detectives sent home and forbidden to work, a major foodborne-illness outbreak has begun. This evening, the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture announced that “an estimated 278 illnesses … reported in 18 states” have... Read more...

Federal shutdown vexes greens, pleases industry (10/7/13)

“The government shutdown we now face means no cops on the beat against toxic pollution. It means that we’ll have to dress like oil executives if we want to visit our national parks and monuments,” Sierra Club President Michael Brune said in a statement earlier this week. Read more...

Shutdown means no new regs on Tuesday (10/7/13)

There will be no new regulations, just a small number of public notices about permit applications that have been filed, upcoming public meetings and other administrative notifications. Read more...

Chemicals from coal ash leaching into groundwater near Flemington community (10/6/13)

Two wells were drilled just a half mile from the power plant, where arsenic, boron and other poisons are leaching from unlined coal-ash ponds into area groundwater supplies. The contaminated water plume is slowly creeping toward the new wells, turning Flemington residents once again into sitting ducks. Read more...

Government shutdown halts FDA food inspections. Should you worry? (10/4/13)

The FDA will maintain certain emergency services during the shutdown, including managing high-risk food recalls and other “critical public health issues,” per the memo. But the lack of routine health inspections, and the management oversight of more routine food supply hiccups that the FDA deals with on a day-to-day basis... Read more...

Kids feel pain of government shutdown (10/3/13)

The federal shutdown has forced pre-kindergarten classes to close. Patients with incurable diseases have been turned away from a federal hospital. Millions of America's poorest children are at risk of losing baby formula and healthy meals provided by federal programs. Read more...

A Blind Spot on Rearview Cameras (10/3/13)

The delays are political, not the result of procedural or technological problems. The rearview rule is one of many held up by the federal budget office during the election campaign in 2012; the new deadline for the rule would delay it beyond the 2014 midterm elections. The unavoidable conclusion is... Read more...

Dems prod SEC on corporate giving rule (10/2/13)

The Securities and Exchange Commission should move forward with regulations requiring publicly traded firms to disclose their political spending to shareholders, a pair of Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee said Wednesday. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are seeking to ramp up pressure on the agency as it... Read more...

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