Clean Air Act Digest, 1.25.13
On January 24, 2013, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced a new bicameral Task Force on Climate Change. Rep. Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will co-chair the Task Force along with Senator Whitehouse, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Task Force aims to raise awareness on Capitol Hill about climate change and to generate reports and other educational materials. Following the announcement, Rep. Waxman, Senator Whitehouse, and Rep. Edward Markey sent a letter to President Obama stating, “We believe, as you do, that climate change is a profound threat to our nation, that our window for preventing irreversible harm is rapidly closing, and that leaders have a moral obligation to act.” They additionally thanked the President for his remarks on climate change in his Inaugural Address and encouraged him to take strong concrete actions toward addressing the issue.
In his Inaugural Address on January 21, President Obama issued a powerful call to action on climate change: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Read the President’s full statement on climate change here and the complete speech here. Since the current Congress is unlikely to pass climate legislation, the Administration is expected to move forward using its authority under the Clean Air Act—including carbon pollution standards for existing power plants—and other executive branch tools.
Clean Air Wins:
In a win for clean air, this week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated EPA rules that allowed proposed major coal plants and other sources to be built even if they would worsen clean air standards for soot. The illegal rules 1) waived compliance with standards whenever a proposed plant fell below set “significant impact levels,” and also 2) vacated an exemption from pre-construction monitoring requirements when a proposed plant fell below set “significant monitoring concentrations.” Earthjustice brought the case to court on behalf of Sierra Club.
Clean Air Loses:
Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit denied all petitions for rehearing en banc in the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) litigation—refusing to reconsider or reverse the 2-1 decision from August 2012 that voided the EPA rule addressing transported smog and soot pollution from upwind states into the eastern half of the United States. The next course of action is for the EPA and the Solicitor General’s office (or intervenors on EPA’s behalf) to decide whether or not to petition the Supreme Court for certiorari, or ask the Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal.
Coal Blooded Action Toolkit, NAACP, 1.25.13
The Coal Blooded Action Toolkit is a companion to “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People.” This toolkit serves as a plan of action for NAACP units that want to take action on the findings of the report, particularly on the failing coal-fired power plants highlighted in the report. Both the report and toolkit can be found here: http://www.naacp.org/pages/coal-blooded1
D.C. Circuit Declines to Rehear Decision Vacating EPA Cross-State Air Rule, Bloomberg BNA, 1.25.13
Rep. Waxman and Sen. Whitehouse Form Bicameral Climate Change Task Force, Press Release with video, 1.24.13
President Obama Vows Action on Climate; Latino Groups Support Swift Action, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 1.22.13
Obama’s Inaugural Speech on Climate Sets Stage for Action, tcktcktck Blog, 1.22.13
Speech Gives Climate Goals Center Stage, The New York Times, 1.21.13
Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama, White House Release, Complete Inaugural Speech, 1.21.13
Union of Concerned Scientist’s Clean Air Act “Ticker”, Moms Clean Air Force Blog, 1.18.13
Above is a sampling of the most recent resources related to upholding the Clean Air Act. Don’t forget USCAN has a series of pages that compile items like these and much more:
Clean Air Act Digest is a publication put together by US Climate Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. Please contact Lara Levison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Click here for past issues.