02/18/2011 11:09 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While Congress Debates EPA, CO2 Keeps Rising

Welcome to our new blog, "The Watchdog," which will keep a close eye on regulatory agencies and how their actions impact the lives of everyday Americans. Though the rules and regulations they write -- from determining how much arsenic is allowable in your drinking water to whether your favorite TV show can drop the F-bomb in primetime -- affect all of us, their deliberations and the way that lobbyists influence their decisions receives very little coverage.

To make sense of these debates, follow the implementation of health care reform and financial reform and decipher the minutia of the Federal Register, "The Watchdog" is on the case. If you have any tips or suggestions, send them to

02/18/2011 10:44 AM EST

While Congress Debates EPA, New Report Shows Biggest One-Year Increase In CO2 Pollution

Last year saw the biggest annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the U.S. since the EPA began tracking such emissions in 1995, reports the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established by former EPA enforcement attorneys:

Even as a fierce debate rages in Congress today about whether or not to handcuff the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deal with coal-fired power plant pollution, a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants in the U.S. rose 5.56 percent in 2010 over the year before, the biggest annual increase since the EPA began tracking emissions in 1995. The report is based on data from the EPA's "Clean Air Markets" website, which tallies emission reports from electric generators.

Texas power plants led the pack in 2010, with nearly 257 million ton of CO2 emissions, as much as the next two states combined (Florida and Ohio), and more than seven times the total CO2 emissions from power plants in California. Despite a favorable climate for wind energy and falling natural gas prices, Texas opened three new coal plants toward the end of 2010, with a combined capacity of 2,156 megawatts. The 10 worst states for CO2 pollution identified in the report are Texas, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri.

02/18/2011 10:40 AM EST

The Wake-Up Call: Budget Amendments Stymie Proposed Regs

- Amendments to GOP budget bill seek to prevent coal ash regulation as hazardous waste, PCB cleanup

- Credit ratings of U.S. chemical manufacturers could be hit by EPA emissions regulation

- Can new bank regulations help customers recover demandable deposits during a bank run?

- Probes of potential fraud in the foreign exchange markets highlights the gaps in regulation, per Reuters.