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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection, Safe Energy

Stepping Up to Bigger Savings

Energy efficiency is one of the best investments Maryland can make in its electricity system. Energy efficiency saves money on energy, increases the reliability of the state’s electricity supply, and reduces harmful pollution from power plants. Recognizing these benefits, the state passed the EmPOWER Maryland Act in 2007, which directs utilities to cut per-capita energy use 15 percent below 2007 levels by 2015.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Solid Waste

MARYLAND PIRG JOINS CEDAR LANE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH IN BI-ANNUAL CLEANUP IN SUPPORT OF BOTTLE BILL

Bethesda, MD: On Sunday, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church and Maryland PIRG hosted a litter cleanup of Rock Creek with more than 30 volunteers. They were joined by Joanna Guy, Maryland PIRG Program Associate, Charlotte Brewer, the Environmental Chair at Cedar Lane, and VIP guest Christina Denny, Miss Maryland 2013. The Cedar Lane Church has been hosting the bi-annual Rock Creek cleanup for over 10 years. This year, the Church was thrilled to host the event to demonstrate the problem of recyclable bottle litter and support of Maryland PIRG’s Don’t Trash Maryland Campaign, which is working to increase recycling and reduce litter by passing a Maryland bottle bill.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students

Thousands of American students are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes about private student loans.

Sallie Mae, the student lending giant, generated the most private student loan complaints nationally, and ranked first or tied for first in every single state. Student loan borrowers in the U.S. carry $24,803 on average in total student loan debt.

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Private Loans, Public Complaints

This report is the second of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints in the private student loan sector with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their student loans.

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News Release | Tax

JPMorgan Shouldn’t Get Tax Break for “London Whale” Settlement

“On Wednesday, reports emerged that JPMorgan Chase will agree to admit to wrongdoing and pay a $100 million penalty for improper market manipulation that led to a multibillion dollar trading loss. Yet unless the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) explicitly forbids it, the bank could write off the settlement as a tax deduction, forcing taxpayers to shoulder some of the cost of JPMorgan’s admitted reckless behavior.

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News Release | Maryland Environmental Health Network

Health Advocates Call for Stronger Protections from Environmental Threats for Children

The Maryland Environmental Health Network (MDEHN) released a report today documenting progress and challenges in protecting children from environmental health threats in Maryland. The 2013 Maryland Children’s Environmental Health Report details how contaminants in a community's environment – in water, land, air, and homes – can harm children – and offers policy-makers strategies for more protective action.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Activists, Citizens, Lawmakers Come Together To Oppose Citizens United

Annapolis- Marylanders gathered today to voice their support for an amendment to over tune Citizens United, the controversial court decision that led to the rise of super PACs and unlimited independent political spending in our elections. Lawmakers and activists spoke out against the decision and its corrosive effect on democracy.Annapolis- Marylanders gathered today to voice their support for an amendment to over tune Citizens United, the controversial court decision that led to the rise of super PACs and unlimited independent political spending in our elections. Lawmakers and activists spoke out against the decision and its corrosive effect on democracy.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG and Demos | Democracy

New Report Shows Impact of Big Money in the 2012 Election

AnnapolisIt took just 32 billionaires and corporations, giving an average of $9.9 million apiece to Super PACs, to match every single dollar that small donors gave to the Romney and Obama campaigns, according to Billion Dollar Democracy, a new report by Maryland PIRG and Demos. Those small donations, which amounted to more than $313 million, came from more than 3.7 million individuals.

 

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News Release | US PIRG | Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

January 3 – A report released today spotlights a common practice where corporations that commit wrongdoing and agree to financial settlements with the federal government, go on to claim such settlement payments as tax-deductible business expenses. The new study, released by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG), follows a record year of corporate settlements, while many more settlements relating to banking, environmental, and consumer safety issues are expected.

 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

First Step to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff: Close Offshore Tax Loopholes

With Congress scrambling to agree on ways to reduce the deficit, Maryland PIRG joined with MaryPIRG Students and a concerned College Park student  today to point out a clear first step to avoid the “fiscal cliff”: closing offshore tax loopholes. Many of America’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals use accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. This tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue each year.  Maryland PIRG released new data illustrating the size of this loss with 16 dramatic ways $150 billion could be spent.

 

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Powering Maryland's Future

Marylanders count on a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity, available at a reasonable cost. Yet, the future of our electricity system is in doubt.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

squandering the stimulus

America’s dependence on oil has become increasingly painful. Two thirds of oil in the United States goes to transportation, with the largest share consumed by cars and trucks. As the rising price of gasoline makes driving more expensive, Americans have sought alternatives by driving a little less and riding public transportation more.

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Toxic Baby Furniture

Furnishings containing formaldehyde – a toxic chemical linked with allergies, asthma, and cancer – can contaminate indoor air within Maryland homes. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to harm.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Toxic Baby Furniture

To evaluate the potential dangers children face, Maryland PIRG Foundation purchased 21 products intended for use in a baby’s nursery and hired a professional laboratory to test them. Six of the products produced high levels of formaldehyde vapor. In particular, several brands of cribs and changing tables emit formaldehyde at levels linked with increased risk of developing allergies or asthma.

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Report | Higher Ed

The Campus Credit Trap

Credit card lending is enormously profitable. According to annual Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ (FRB) Reports to Congress, it is the most profitable form of banking. But the credit card industry is saturated. The average adult had nearly five credit cards in 2006 and the average household received 5.7 credit card solicitations monthly in 2004, according to the 2007 FRB report.

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