Clean Air Act Digest, 2.21.12
Long-Awaited Payroll Tax Cut Extension:
A clean payroll tax cut extension was wrapped up last week, and the final legislation did not include any anti-environmental riders. This is a tremendous victory for the clean air community as this bill was considered a vehicle for clean air attacks, and the opposition attempted to attach dirty riders up until the last minute. The conferees reached a deal on Thursday morning, and both Houses of Congress passed the extension on Friday morning. As you may recall, House Leadership added both boiler legislation and Keystone XL legislation to the House version of the extension before the holidays.
Dangerous Transportation Bills:
Unfortunately, several anti-clean air riders are now in play in both the House and Senate transportation bills. Amendments to eliminate the EPA’s ability to curb toxic pollution from boilers and cement plants have been filed. In addition, the House bill contains many problematic provisions, including the redirection of funding from transit, biking, and walking projects to build more highways. To read more about problematic provisions of the bill, see Rob Perks’ blog. See how to take action below.
Life-Saving Mercury Standards:
EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards were published in the Federal Register last Thursday, February 16. These standards for the first time set national limits on mercury, arsenic, lead, acid gases, and other toxic air pollution from power plants. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that harms children’s developing brains and nervous systems, and power plants are the largest industrial source of mercury in the U.S.
As expected, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolution, designed to eliminate the finalized standards and block the EPA from ever issuing a substantially similar standard. Senator Inhofe’s CRA resolution would guarantee this health toll would continue every year, unabated, with EPA stripped of the tools to address those hazards. Americans would be denied, indefinitely, the enormous health benefits from reducing 90% of the mercury and 88% of the acid gas pollution from power plants that burn coal and oil. To read more, see John Walke’s blog.
Urgent: Oppose the House Transportation Bill (H.R. 7)
The House transportation bill (H.R. 7), the worst transportation bill ever to be brought to the floor for a vote, contains many bad provisions, including elimination of dedicated funding for public transit—buses, subways, streetcars—and for bike and pedestrian routes. Please consider taking individual action or having your organization post an action alert.
To oppose the bill, just dial: 877-573-7693
Here are some sample action alerts:
For more information or messaging materials, please contact Lara Levison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This fun, simple, and easy effort will utilize social media to call for federal protections against coal ash. This event will target the White House, US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and White House Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson with thousands of tweets. Dozens of national and regional groups have already committed their involvement, and we hope you can to. New to Twitter? You’ve still got time to sign up for an account and make your first tweet about coal ash!
Here are some sample tweets:
Friends don’t let friends dump #coalash. @whitehouse give us a rule in 2012. #kickcoalash.
@lisapjackson American needs strong coal ash protections! Over 150 contaminated sites is too much. #kickcoalash.
@JonCarson44, my kitchen trash is WAY cleaner than #coalash. @Whitehouse we need regulations now! #kickcoalash
For more information, please contact Jared Saylor at email@example.com.
Oppose S.J. Res. 37, the Congressional Review Act Resolution to Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Life-saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants, Group Sign-on Letter, 2.17.12
Utilities Blowing Smoke on Coal-Plant Retirements, Ceres Blog, 2.17.12
Polluters Move to Block Landmark Mercury Protections, Joint Press Statement, 2.16.12
4 of 5 Americans Hit by Recent Weather Disasters; New Report Says Global Warming to Bring More Extreme Weather, Environment America Report, 2.16.12
Business groups Urge OMB to Finalize Review of Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits Under the New Source Performance Standards Program, Business Groups Letter, 2.15.12
Air Pollution Linked to Heart Attack Risk, Analysis Shows, The Guardian, 2.15.12
Report Links Michigan Deaths to Coal-fired Plants, Great Lakes Echo, 2.14.12
U.S. Carbon Emission Rules Could Ultimately ‘Send The Message That Coal Is Dead’, The Huffington Post, 2.13.12
Let Loose the Defenders of Mercury Poisoning, Natural Resources Defense Blog, 2.12.12
Don’t forget the Clean Air Act fan page on Facebook.
Check out USCAN’s Clean Air Act Pages for the latest materials.
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.