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  • Framework for VW Settlement Announced | PennPIRG
    the harm caused by its deceitful use of defeat devices in 567 000 clean diesel cars emitting up to 40 times the legal limit of smog causing NOx pollutants A proposal to hold Volkswagen accountable to consumers our environment and public health and that deters future violations by VW or other companies should be evaluated by the following criteria Mitigate past ongoing and future emissions Affected cars that can be fixed to meet emission standards should be fixed Affected cars that can only be partially fixed should receive the available repair if owners choose not to accept buybacks of their cars Volkswagen should offset its past and ongoing emission violations The future emission violations of cars that are not fixed or only partially fixed should also be calculated and offset Develop a robust in use testing protocol to ensure that if the vehicles are repaired the vehicles remain in full compliance for the vehicles full useful life in real world driving conditions The emissions control system must not be allowed to degrade over time to exceed the standards and EPA and CARB must assure the public that there is no further cheating by Volkswagen Make consumers whole by offering to buy back their affected cars Simply fixing the cars still leaves customers less than whole Whether a full or partial fix is available the cars could get lower gas mileage and have weaker performance than promised and advertised and the Kelley Blue Book values will likely diminish further Full compensation is a buyback at full purchase price of the cars However VW should at least compensate owners 1 5 times the Kelley Bluebook value of the affected vehicles on the day before the scandal was discovered or publicized as NHTSA has ordered manufacturers in some other recalls to do Bought back cars that cannot be fully repaired to meet emission standards should be scrapped Mitigate environmental harm caused by scrapping cars Environmental harm caused by scrapping cars should be assessed and offset Assess large civil penalties The Clean Air Act sets a maximum penalty of 37 500 per car or over 18 billion in total penalties A large civil penalty will send a strong deterrent message to others not to violate the law VW should not be allowed tax write offs for any penalties Set up Supplemental Environmental Projects SEPs In addition to offsetting the NOx emissions directly attributable to the defeat devices and offsetting environmental harms caused by scrapping cars VW should set up Supplemental Environmental Projects SEPs Volkswagen would be motivated to work with the EPA to create a SEP which could offset a portion of the civil penalties while achieving concrete pollution reductions The SEP should direct a substantial amount of funds perhaps calculated on a per car basis to create a fund for state and local governments as well as private sector entities to implement projects to reduce pollution from on road vehicles and increase deployment of zero emission electric vehicles Any SEP should be above

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/framework-vw-settlement-announced (2016-04-27)
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  • Public Health | PennPIRG
    The State of Antibiotics 2016 Progress in 2015 and hope for the new year Wednesday December 23 2015 By Anya Vanecek Public Health Digital Campaigner This was a big year for the fight to save antibiotics Now we re looking to the future and looking forward to continuing our efforts to stop the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming Public Health Food Read more about Progress in 2015 and hope for the new year All I want for Christmas is responsibly raised meat Monday December 21 2015 By Anya Vanecek Public Health Digital Campaigner I don t want a lot for Christmas there is just one thing I need Public Health Food Read more about All I want for Christmas is responsibly raised meat It keeps getting better Wednesday December 16 2015 By Steve Blackledge Public Health Program Director By next summer all of the chicken served on Papa John s pizzas and poppers will be raised without antibiotics The pizza chain s announcement adds them to a growing list of restaurants that are helping to stop the overuse antibiotics on large industrial farms Public Health Food Read more about It keeps getting better Predictable Problems in the FDA Annual Report Tuesday December 15 2015 By Bill Wenzel Antibiotics Program Director Not only did the FDA s voluntary Guidance for Industry 213 not lower the sale and use of antibiotics for food producing animals these sales actually increased 4 Public Health Food Read more about Predictable Problems in the FDA Annual Report The Phantom and Other Menaces Monday December 7 2015 By Anya Vanecek Public Health Digital Campaigner In the midst of warnings that the post antibiotic era is quickly approaching we see evidence that it has already arrived Public Health Read more about The Phantom and Other Menaces Not so secret Santas in Congress Using Spending Bill To Roll Back Health Safety Wallet Protections Monday November 30 2015 By Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director With spending authorization for the federal government set to end on December 11 Congressional leaders are working with powerful special interests on their not so Secret Santa lists to use spending bills as vehicles to gut health safety and wallet protections popular with the general public but not with Wall Street or the U S Chamber of Commerce They know they cannot win a fair fight So they re loading up the must pass funding bill with so called riders which are unrelated policies that couldn t get passed on their own Everything we fought for in Wall Street reform including the CFPB is on the chopping block So are many other PIRG health safety wallet and democracy priorities Public Health Read more about Not so secret Santas in Congress Using Spending Bill To Roll Back Health Safety Wallet Protections News Release U S PIRG Public Health Medical Professionals Call for Action to Save Antibiotics Nearly six hundred medical and health care professionals from across the nation are calling on major restaurant chains to set

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/topics/public-health (2016-04-27)
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  • Food | PennPIRG
    better Wednesday December 16 2015 By Steve Blackledge Public Health Program Director By next summer all of the chicken served on Papa John s pizzas and poppers will be raised without antibiotics The pizza chain s announcement adds them to a growing list of restaurants that are helping to stop the overuse antibiotics on large industrial farms Public Health Food Read more about It keeps getting better Predictable Problems in the FDA Annual Report Tuesday December 15 2015 By Bill Wenzel Antibiotics Program Director Not only did the FDA s voluntary Guidance for Industry 213 not lower the sale and use of antibiotics for food producing animals these sales actually increased 4 Public Health Food Read more about Predictable Problems in the FDA Annual Report News Release PennPIRG Food Tax Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies Per Taxpayer but Only Half of an Apple Apiece Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year according to PennPIRG s new report Apples to Twinkies 2013 Meanwhile subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy just one half of an apple per taxpayer per year Read more about Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies Per Taxpayer but Only Half of an Apple Apiece Report PennPIRG Food Tax Apples to Twinkies Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year according to Penn PIRG s new report Apples to Twinkies 2013 Meanwhile subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy just one half of an apple per taxpayer per year Read more about Apples to Twinkies Issue Health Care Fighting The High Cost Of Rx

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/topics/food (2016-04-27)
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  • Taco Bell Moves Away From Chicken Raised on Medically Important Antibiotics | PennPIRG
    announced that it will no longer serve chicken raised on medically important antibiotics and Tyson Foods a major chicken producer and a supplier to McDonald s followed suit Months later Subway announced a transition away from all meat raised on antibiotics Taco Bell s commitment to save antibiotics makes it even clearer this is not a fad it s an industry wide shift to protect public health and more restaurants like KFC should get on board said Wellington U S PIRG has helped build a coalition of over 20 000 doctors nurses and other health professionals calling for an end to the overuse of antibiotics on livestock and poultry Taco Bell s announcement is one more step in the right direction to help protect life saving medicines KFC Taco Bell s sister brand should follow this example and serve up a bucket of original recipe chicken raised without routine antibiotics said Wellington Background Antibiotic resistant infections kill 23 000 Americans and sicken 2 million every year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Most large industrial farms administer antibiotics up to 70 of antibiotics sold in the U S are used on livestock and poultry on a routine basis to animals that often aren t sick to promote growth and prevent disease brought on by unsanitary production practices That overuse breeds antibiotic resistant bacteria that rapidly multiply and spread off of farms via contaminated meat direct human to animal contact and through the air water and soil Taco Bell s announcement comes after U S PIRG and 80 other organizations sent a letter in January to Taco Bell s parent company Yum Brands urging the company to commit to a strong antibiotics policy For more info consult our website U S PIRG is an independent non partisan group

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/taco-bell-moves-away-chicken-raised-medically-important-antibiotics (2016-04-27)
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  • Leading Groups Send Criteria for Evaluating VW Settlement | PennPIRG
    harm caused by its deceitful use of defeat devices in 567 000 clean diesel cars emitting up to 40 times the legal limit of smog causing NOx pollutants A proposal to hold Volkswagen accountable to consumers our environment and public health and that deters future violations by VW or other companies should be evaluated by the following criteria Mitigate past ongoing and future emissions Affected cars that can be fixed to meet emission standards should be fixed Affected cars that can only be partially fixed should receive the available repair if owners choose not to accept buybacks of their cars Volkswagen should offset its past and ongoing emission violations The future emission violations of cars that are not fixed or only partially fixed should also be calculated and offset Develop a robust in use testing protocol to ensure that if the vehicles are repaired the vehicles remain in full compliance for the vehicles full useful life in real world driving conditions The emissions control system must not be allowed to degrade over time to exceed the standards and EPA and CARB must assure the public that there is no further cheating by Volkswagen Make consumers whole by offering to buy back their affected cars Simply fixing the cars still leaves customers less than whole Whether a full or partial fix is available the cars could get lower gas mileage and have weaker performance than promised and advertised and the Kelley Blue Book values will likely diminish further Full compensation is a buyback at full purchase price of the cars However VW should at least compensate owners 1 5 times the Kelley Bluebook value of the affected vehicles on the day before the scandal was discovered or publicized as NHTSA has ordered manufacturers in some other recalls to do Bought back cars that cannot be fully repaired to meet emission standards should be scrapped Mitigate environmental harm caused by scrapping cars Environmental harm caused by scrapping cars should be assessed and offset Assess large civil penalties The Clean Air Act sets a maximum penalty of 37 500 per car or over 18 billion in total penalties A large civil penalty will send a strong deterrent message to others not to violate the law VW should not be allowed tax write offs for any penalties Set up Supplemental Environmental Projects SEPs In addition to offsetting the NOx emissions directly attributable to the defeat devices and offsetting environmental harms caused by scrapping cars VW should set up Supplemental Environmental Projects SEPs Volkswagen would be motivated to work with the EPA to create a SEP which could offset a portion of the civil penalties while achieving concrete pollution reductions The SEP should direct a substantial amount of funds perhaps calculated on a per car basis to create a fund for state and local governments as well as private sector entities to implement projects to reduce pollution from on road vehicles and increase deployment of zero emission electric vehicles Any SEP should be above and

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/leading-groups-send-criteria-evaluating-vw-settlement (2016-04-27)
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  • John Oliver Takes Aim At Credit Reports In 'Last Week Tonight' | PennPIRG
    people As John Oliver reported A 1998 survey by the Public Interest Research Group found nearly one third of all credit reports contained serious errors That wasn t our first report it was one in a series that began in 1990 and continues through today The three big credit bureaus Equifax Experian and TransUnion have been the subject of the most complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB since the start of last year We drilled down into these complaints in 2013 with our report Big Credit Bureaus Big Mistakes The FTC which was the agency previously charged with enforcement over the bureaus is largely run by machines they have as few human helpers as possible and was never given enough guns by Congress to fight back In the Matrix movie trilogy set in a future dystopia where humans fight back against computers and machines hero Neo asks for guns lots of guns In 2010 however The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 established the CFPB would have the guns that the FTC has never had By law the CFPB has supervisory authority over big banks and over payday lenders mortgage lenders and private student lenders of any size Unlike the FTC CFPB gained the additional big gun of supervisory authority the right to go inside a firm s operations at any time if it defines other firms as larger marketplace participants The first financial sector that the CFPB designated here was you guessed it the credit reporting industry Four things credit bureaus don t want you to know Everyone has trouble fixing their own credit reports but you can premeptively figure out if something is wrong before you apply for a job or a place to live Our advice Get your own credit reports here at the FTC for free before you apply for credit or a job to see if they are accurate In 2013 over 40 years after enactment of the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act the credit bureaus are finally getting around to sharing consumer complaint details with creditors a new technology will go live later this year to enable nationwide credit bureaus to provide lenders with images of any validating documents submitted by consumers According to the CFPB 44 of consumers submit a dispute in writing Our advice A detailed report on this system by colleagues at the National Consumer Law Center is called Automated Injustice Additional NCLC information on fixing credit bureau mistakes is here Free credit reoprts aren t always free Don t be fooled by some free credit reports The Experian owned website freecreditreport com and others that tout free trial offers for report and score monitoring products The catch First the trial offers last as little as 7 days and you may only be able to access the products 5 of those 7 days and if you fail to cancel properly you will be billed up to 19 99 month or more for ongoing monitoring Worse in

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/john-oliver-takes-aim-credit-reports-last-week-tonight (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    In the past teens saw their premiums soar or were denied coverage when they turned 19 even if they d been insured their whole lives Now they can remain on their parents plans until age 26 Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 Report PENNPIRG Education Fund Budget Following the Money 2015 Every year state governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services subsidies to encourage economic development and other expenditures Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are spent as well as possible Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation The Innovative Transportation Index This report reviews the availability of 11 technology enabled transportation services including online ridesourcing carsharing ridesharing taxi hailing static and real time transit information multi modal apps and virtual transit ticketing in 70 U S cities It finds that residents of 19 cities with a combined population of nearly 28 million people have access to eight or more of these services with other cities catching up rapidly Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland 2014 Among the toys surveyed this year we found numerous choking hazards and five toys with concentrations of toxics exceeding federal standards In addition to reporting on potentially hazardous products found in stores in 2014 this installment of the report describes the potential hazards in toys and children s products Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund and Demos Democracy The Dominance of Big Money in the 2014 Congressional Elections In 2014 large donors accounted for the vast majority of all individual federal election contributions this cycle just as they have in previous elections Seven of every 10 individual contribution dollars to the federal candidates parties PACs and Super PACs that were active in the 2013 2014 election cycle came from donors who gave 200 or more Candidates alone got 84 percent of their individual contributions from large donors Keep Reading Report PennPIRG and Consumers Union Public Health Prescription For Change Our September 2014 survey of physicians paints a grim picture of the growing problem of antibiotic resistant infections The overwhelming majority of surveyed doctors reported that one or more of their patients had been diagnosed with a presumed or confirmed case of a multi drug resistant bacterial infection in the past twelve months They also expressed concern about the use of antibiotics in livestock production facilities on healthy animals in order to promote growth and prevent disease Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Blog Post Transportation Owning Fewer Cars Isn t Just For Millennials Sean Doyle New transportation options are making it easier for people to use transit more own fewer cars and even save money on transportation Keep Reading Blog Post Financial Reform We oppose latest effort to weaken CFPB other bank regulators Ed Mierzwinski Today the House Financial Services Committee holds its latest cattle call markup of a package of industry

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=1 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    The report also found that Bank of America was the most complained about company in 45 states and Washington D C for mortgage problems It s the sixth in a series of our reports analyzing nearly 500 000 complaints posted to the CFPB s Public Consumer Complaint Database Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Democracy Big Money Dominates in Congressional Primaries Our analysis of fund raising data from 2014 s congressional primaries examines the way these dynamics are playing out state by state across the country While some states show markedly more inequity than others the picture painted by the data is of a primary money race where large donors carry more weight than ordinary Americans Nationwide just under two thirds of all candidate contributions came from the largest donors those giving over 1 000 And fewer than 5 500 large donors matched the primary contributions coming from at least 440 000 donors nationwide Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation Millennials in Motion Millennials are less car focused than older Americans and previous generations of young people and their transportation behaviors continue to change in ways that reduce driving Now is the time for the nation s transportation policies to acknowledge accommodate and support Millennials demands for a greater array of transportation choices Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Public Health Weak Medicine Antibiotic resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people per year in the United States causing more than 23 000 deaths State governments the FDA and other branches of the federal government should take steps to protect human health from the antibiotic resistant bacteria that can develop on factory farms Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Budget Tax Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole New report tells how some states have found a simple reform to reclaim significant revenue lost to offshore tax havens Includes estimates of how much each state loses in state revenue to offshore tax haven abuse and how much each state would gain by closing the water s edge loophole Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection The Unfriendly Skies It seems as if every consumer has an airline problem story how they were trapped on the tarmac tricked by fees missed their connection or lost their bag What many consumers don t know is that they have a number of new rights as well as a right to complain both to the airline and to the government This report tracks five years of consumer complaints and highlights which airlines received the most complaints and what kinds of complaints were most common Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Blog Post Financial Reform Debating trade and consumer protection in Brussels today Ed Mierzwinski I am in Brussels today debating consumer protection and the proposed US European trade treaty known as the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP Today s public

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=2 (2016-04-27)
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