Clean Air Act Digest, 1.20.12
The House was back in session this week; the Senate will convene next week. As you’ll recall, before the holidays both chambers passed a temporary payroll tax cut extension bill through the end of February. For more information see Frances Beinecke’s Blog. In the midst of the negotiations at the end of the year, House Republicans attempted to add riders to this legislation that would delay the much-needed cleanup of toxic pollution. As the debate on the extension of the payroll tax cut bill moves forward, we will likely see similar attacks on the Clean Air Act and clean air standards.
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
The D.C. Circuit court stayed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on December 30th, days before the rule was scheduled to go into effect. This standard is expected to save up to 34,000 lives each year and protect 240 million Americans from dangerous air pollution that crosses state lines. While the delay is disappointing, the stay ruling is only temporary as the court reviews the petitioners’ case. In fact, this week the D.C. Circuit Court announced that they would speed up the briefing schedule, a positive sign for implementing the final standard. For more information about the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, see John Walke’s blog.
In a decision made early last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with Sierra Club and Earthjustice and reinstated EPA’s Industrial boilers standards finalized in February. EPA is currently working on re-proposed standards for these facilities and expects to finalize these new standards by May. In a letter to Senator Wyden (D-OR), Administrator Jackson emphasized that the EPA will not enforce the previously finalized standards. Industries that would like to see an additional delay are advocating for legislation that will further stall these standards. It is important to note that the court’s recent decision does not have any significant real-world implications because compliance with the standard is years away.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released a new, interactive reporting tool for major greenhouse gas (GHG) sources in the US. It’s a user-friendly way to explore which facilities are the biggest sources of health-harming carbon pollution. This is a long-awaited moment that will allow us to track where and which facilities are the biggest producers of carbon pollution, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs, some of which are right in our backyards. You can now find out some of the major sources of carbon pollution and other GHGs in your state in 2010–and see the relative contributions of power plants and other large facilities. The EPA website compiles GHG emissions data from 2010, the first year of reporting from industries that are participating in their system. This is a great start at tracking carbon pollution–the major cause of climate change. For more information, please see Kim Knowlton’s blog.
Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants
EPA is expected to release much-delayed draft rules to reduce carbon pollution from power plants around the end of January. The standards will apply to new power plants as well as plants that are modified or reconstructed. Stay tuned for updates on this important step forward in reducing greenhouse emissions.
Tell Key Agencies to Move America Forward with Strong Fuel-Efficiency Standards
With the support of 13 major automakers and millions of Americans, the Obama administration proposed new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for light trucks and cars in November. If enacted, vehicles for model years 2017-2025 will be required to meet the equivalent of a 54.5 mpg standard by 2025. According to an analysis conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, a fleet-wide 54.5 mpg standard in 2025 would reduce America’s annual oil diet by 23 billion gallons and help cut global warming pollution by roughly 280 million metric tons. This is great news for American pocketbooks and the planet—but as you can imagine, Big Oil and other special interests aren’t too happy. The Obama Administration needs to hear loud and clear support for these new standards.
Just as a reminder, the deadline for comment collection has been extended until February 13th, 2011.
See sample action alerts supporting strong fuel-efficiency and global warming pollution standards on USCAN’s Clean Vehicles web page.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool Webinar:
Mark your calendar for a webinar presented by EPA on the new greenhouse gas reporting tool, described above, on Wednesday, January 25, 2 p.m. Learn how your organization can easily obtain detailed information on greenhouse gas emissions from major sources in your region and around the country. Contact Lara Levison at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to join the webinar.
Clean Cars Public Hearings:
This week, NHTSA and EPA held two of three public hearings on the new clean car standards for model years 2017-2025. So far, hundreds of people have testified in Detroit and Philadelphia to support stricter fuel economy requirements that would create jobs, reduce oil consumption, create cleaner air, save drivers money and help automakers increase their profits. The last hearing will be Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf, 555 North Point Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Publication Tool, Environmental Protection Agency Web Page
It’s that Simple, New Sierra Club TV Ad YouTube (Mercury and Air Toxics Thank You)
Who are the Carbon Polluters in Your Backyard?, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog 1.11.12
A Coal-Fired Plant That Is Eager for U.S. Rules, New York Times 1.6.11
Former NFL Player Jerome Bettis Knows the Effects of Asthma First Hand, Environmental Protection Agency PSA YouTube 1.5.11
‘Clearing the Air’: Dr. G.R. Scott Budinger interviews Drs. Kent Pinkerton and C. Arden Pope on the United States’ current Ozone standards, American Thoracic Society Interview 1.1.12
Health and Climate Change- Accounting for Costs, Natural Resources Defense Council Fact Sheet
54.5 MPG by 2025, Sierra Club Fact Sheet
Don’t forget the Clean Air Act fan page on Facebook
Check out USCAN’s Air Toxics Standards Section for the latest materials on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
Clean Air Act Digest is a publication put together by US Climate Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. Please contact Lara Levison at email@example.com for more details. Click here for past issues.