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Dec. 10, 2014 by Erin Kesler

Media Advisory: CPR and the University of Maryland Carey School of Law to Co-Host a Luncheon with Maryland Attorney General-Elect Brian Frosh on Environmental Enforcement

Contact: Erin Kesler                                     Email: ekesler@progressivereform.org Telephone: (202) 747-0698 X4

What: CPR and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law will host a luncheon and Q&A session with MD Attorney General-elect Brian Frosh on the state of environmental enforcement in the Chesapeake Bay. Mr. Frosh will speak to a group of Bay advocates, University of Maryland faculty, attorneys at firms that represent Maryland businesses, and interested citizens and students, and take questions from the audience, including media.

BackgroundYesterday, the Center for Progressive Reform and Chesapeake Commons released an interactive map detailing the extent of pollution caused by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) along Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  The map, released concurrently with a report from the Environmental Integrity Project drawn from its data, relies on farmer-reported information to find that all but one of the sixty CAFOS examined has excessive phosphorus levels caused by over-application of manure. The pollution that results from the farms strains Maryland’s efforts to enforce its pollution-control limits as mandated by federal and state law. Maryland’s Governor-elect Larry Hogan vowed yesterday to fight any effort to implement the Phosphorous Management Tool (PMT) proposed under Governor O’Malley’s Administration …

Dec. 8, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Recent stories about "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay are a reminder that despite progress on some water pollution fronts, we still have a serious problem to address. One politically popular approach to addressing the problem is a market-based solution, in which hard-to-regulate "non-point" pollution sources (farming, run-off, other sources without a "pollution pipe") and point sources engage in pollution-credit trades. So, for example, an industrial polluter might pay farmers to control run-off of fertilizer, thus reducing the flow of nutrients that cause dead zones. The interesting idea has been tried in some places, but has faltered because very few trades have actually been made, presumably because farmers lack incentive to overcome the challenges of striking deals and then implementing the pollution-control measures. It's just not their area of expertise.

In an op-ed published today in the Houston Chronicle, CPR Member …

Dec. 8, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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At the Maryland Farm Bureau's Annual Convention today, Maryland Governor-Elect Larry Hogan vowed to fight against the state's proposed phosphorus management tool (PMT) regulations.

CPR President and University of Maryland law professor Rena Steinzor reacted to Hogan's comments, "It’s truly a shame that Governor-elect Hogan is indicating so early that he is willing to jeopardize the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay by rejecting pollution controls out of hand rather than working with scientists to improve them.  As the Governor-elect will soon discover, farmers have an interest in minimizing the use of excess fertilizer because it is as expensive as it is unnecessary.  Large animal feeding operations looking for a cheap way to dispose of manure by dumping it on the ground year round, even in the dead of winter, may have an economic interest in defeating these controls.  But for the rest …

Dec. 5, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Today, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by CPR President Rena Steinzor and Public Justice Center attorney Sally Dworak-Fisher entitled, "Maryland's whistleblower laws need teeth."

According to the piece:

Whistleblowers can help identify and put a stop to all sorts of illegal activity, if they're properly protected. Dozens of state and federal laws include provisions intended to shield whistleblowers from retaliatory actions by employers who have been outed. But this piecemeal approach, with different laws enforced by different agencies, is too complicated and has too many holes.

To take the load off of overburdened state investigators, Marylanders need a new law that gives whistleblowers the right to sue employers who retaliate. A comprehensive law with that fail-safe mechanism would be an invaluable tool for promoting better practices at worksites across the state because it would encourage workers to raise red flags when their employers skirt the …

Dec. 3, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Today the President addressed the Business Roundtable on the subject of regulation.

When speaking about revising current regulations, he spoke about the need to keep child labor laws.

According to CPR Executive Director Matt Shudtz:

The President was right to start his remarks with the clear examples of how strong (or to the business lobby, “costly”) regulations save lives and improve the environment. There are hundreds more where they came from, including our labor laws. That’s what makes his later statement about child labor laws so jarring. Keep in mind, this is the same president whose administration pulled back a proposal that would have saved kids from green tobacco poisoning and dangerous farm equipment. He needs to do more than keep the laws on the books—he needs to be moving forward with new rules that address the many hazards that are currently unregulated.

Dec. 1, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Today is the deadline for comments from the public on EPA's proposed rule to limit carbon emission from existing power plants.

CPR Member Scholar and University of North Carolina School of Law professor Victor Flatt submitted a comment on the rule.

According to his comments:

What I would like to focus on is suggesting that the agency definitively interpret Section 111(d) to allow states to utilize a greenhouse gas market reduction strategy that allows greenhouse gas reductions to come from any source.

Section 111(d) specifies that the Best System of Emissions Reduction adopted by a state be modeled on the CAA’s section 110, which governs the State Implementation Plans (SIPS).  While the EPA has not had cause to consider the direct meaning of this before, I believe that it means that 111(d) provides a hybrid sort of emissions reduction based on proposed …

Nov. 25, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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The Board of Directors of the Center for Progressive Reform today announced the selection of Matthew Shudtz as Executive Director of the 12-year-old organization. Shudtz, who succeeds Jake Caldwell, has been Acting Executive Director of CPR since July of this year.

Shudtz joined CPR’s staff in 2006 as a Policy Analyst, and was subsequently promoted to Senior Policy Analyst. His work has focused on OSHA and related workplace health and safety regulations and toxic chemical control and reform. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 CPR reports and publications including, “At the Company’s Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions,” “Winning Safer Workplaces: A Manual for State and Local Policy Reform,” and  “Reforming TSCA: Progressive Principles for Toxic Risk Regulation.” He holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and a B.S. in Earth and …

Nov. 25, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Today, the Supreme Court agreed to review a challenge to an EPA rule to reduce mercury pollution. 

The Utility Air Regulatory Group and the National Mining Association, and twenty-one states, appealed an April 2-1 federal appeals court ruling that upheld EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

According to Center for Progressive Reform President and University of Maryland School of Law professor Rena Steinzor:

The Supreme Court’s decision to grant review is lamentable. It’s no surprise that the coal-fired power plants want to overturn EPA’s carefully crafted controls on mercury and other toxic pollutants.  But this rule was mandated by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments because mercury, in very small quantities, damages brain and nervous system development in children and babies in utero.  The rule would control, for the first time, not just mercury but acid gases and heavy metals such as chromium …

Oct. 9, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Today, OSHA announced that it is seeking new ideas from stakeholders about preventing workplace injuries caused by exposure to harmful chemicals. The agency wants to identify new ways to develop Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), the basic standards for reducing air contaminants.  

CPR's Executive Director Matthew Shudtz responded to the development:

It’s great that Dr. Michaels is continuing to seek new ways to eliminate or manage chemical hazards in the workplace.  OSHA has been relying on outdated standards for too long. But rulemaking is not the only way to address these hazards.  OSHA needs to use the enforcement tools it has available, especially the General Duty Clause.  With the General Duty Clause, OSHA can cite employers who are lagging behind industry standards for chemical exposure.

Last year, OSHA released new web-based tools to help employers voluntarily limit the exposure of workers to hazardous substances. In a …

Sept. 10, 2014 by Erin Kesler
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Today, the National Association of Manufacturers released a report produced by economic consultants Crain and Crain on the "cost of regulations to manufacturers and small businesses."

CPR Senior Analyst James Goodwin responded to the study:

Past Crain & Crain reports on the costs of regulation have been roundly and rightly criticized for unreliable research methods, including basing their studies on opinion polling. Not much has changed about their method in this latest iteration, unfortunately. They still pretend to project actual costs by relying on opinion surveys, and they still refuse to account for the enormous benefits of regulation to the economy and to Americans’ health and well being.  This is not surprising considering that National Association of Manufacturers V.P. Ross Eisenberg admits that they have instructed previous consultants to only look at the potential costs of regulations. The only good thing that can be said about …

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