Clean Air Act Digest, 3.6.13
Energy Production and Project Delivery Act of 2013 (S.17)
Last week, Senator Vitter (R-LA) and Congressman Bishop (R-UT) introduced the “Energy Production and Project Delivery Act of 2013,” S. 17. This bill repackages many of the last Congress’ legislative attacks on our air, water, and lands. In particular, the bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from curbing carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act until China, India, and Russia take “substantially similar” action. Under the guise of protecting jobs, the bill would also require EPA to perform an economic analysis of the employment effects of using the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution. Finally, S. 17 would expedite the permitting of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
REINS Act (S.15, H.R 367)
Last week, Senator Paul (R-KY) reintroduced the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (’REINS’) Act,” S. 15/H.R. 367. The House version was reintroduced by Rep. Young (R-IN) in January. These bills would allow one chamber of Congress to block enforcement of existing statutory protections—from worker safety, to public health, to Wall Street reform, undoing more than 100 years of safeguards. This would make Congress the required arbiter of every technical question and business dispute and would allow a single chamber of Congress to stop any regulation, regardless of the facts. The REINS Act would effectively rewrite virtually every regulatory statute, including environmental statutes, making their requirements unenforceable.
Drastic across-the-board federal budget cuts known as the “sequester” went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2013, after embittered budgetary debates between Congress and the President ended in impasse. These cuts, a blanket 5.3% trimmed across all discretionary funds, pose serious threats to a suite of economic, environmental and social provisions and will hamper the ability of many federal agencies to implement their programs. Widespread and serious budgetary shortfalls are expected to cause significant layoffs and furloughs at many agencies. Funding levels for the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, will be reduced to their lowest levels since the 1980s under the sequester. Weather forecasts, too, are expected to suffer, as funding delays the launch of polar satellites critical for observing the path and potential severity of climate change-fueled storms like Sandy. Despite the many threats posed by the effects of the sequester, a recent blog highlights some of the financial tolls climate disruption, too, takes on US taxpayers.
On March 4, the Obama Administration announced its picks to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy. Gina McCarthy, currently head of EPA’s Air and Radiation Office, was tapped to serve as EPA Administrator, and Ernest Moniz, a MIT nuclear physicist and professor, as Energy Secretary. Many welcomed McCarthy’s nomination, since she has focused significant efforts on enacting standards to protect public health from harmful air pollution.
Show Support for Veteran Clean Air Advocate Gina McCarthy
Recently Nominated as the New Environmental Protection Agency Chief
By nominating Gina McCarthy to be the next EPA administrator, President Obama is showing America that he understands how vital this job is—and that he’s ready to take bold action for clean air, public health and climate change solutions. As head of the EPA’s clean air division, McCarthy fought hard to get strong safeguards across the finish line, and she was instrumental in placing emissions limits on new power plants and requiring better vehicle fuel efficiency. She’s helped secure historic public health safeguards, including life-saving standards to restrict soot, mercury and other toxic—safeguards that will avert thousands of heart attacks and premature deaths each year and prevent tens of thousands of asthmas attacks annually.
You can make a difference by participating in a petition drive to support Gina McCarthy as the new EPA chief .
Below are a few examples, templates, and action alerts. If you need additional messaging materials, sample language, or plan to create a petition, please contact JP Leous at email@example.com.
Tell Your Senators to Help Put a Clean Air and Public Health Expert at the Helm of the EPA, Environmental Defense Fund Action Alert
A Clean-air Champion for the Climate Fight, Sierra Club Action Alert
Sample Email Alert Template, Sierra Club
Thank President Obama for Appointing Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator, Moms Clean Air Force Action Alert
Stand with Gina, Webpage, 3.5.13
Compilation of Reactions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy Nominations, US Climate Action Network Webpage, 3.4.13
Sequester This: U.S. Consumers Paid a 2.7% Climate Disruption Tax in 2012, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 3.1.13
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.