Thursday, September 21, 2017

Clean Air Act Digest, 4.22.13

Clean Air Act Digest



Last Monday, April 15, was the legal deadline under the Clean Air Act for finalizing the landmark carbon pollution standards for new power plants that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed one year ago. A record-breaking 3.2 million Americans raised their voices in public comments in support of the proposed standards, which would assure that all new power plants use modern technology to limit their dangerous carbon pollution.

The president has rightly said that it is our obligation to curb the dangerous carbon pollution that is driving climate change. He has committed his administration to deliver on that obligation. So it is regrettable that EPA will not meet this statutory deadline. EPA has indicated that it is continuing to work on the standards but has not indicated when it expects to finalize them.

A number of states and environmental organizations have notified EPA that they will take legal action to enforce the agency’s obligation if the standards are not issued within 60 days, i.e., by mid-June. This 60-day notice is required under the Clean Air Act before an enforcement lawsuit may be filed. We hope the administration will use this time to complete work on these critical standards.


Last Thursday, the Environmental and Public Works committee held a confirmation hearing for Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Given her track record of protecting America’s families from toxic pollution, her confirmation will help us all breathe easier. Throughout her decades of public service, McCarthy has proven to be a pragmatic and inclusive defender of environmental protections. She has worked both at state agencies and the EPA and has consistently demonstrated her commitment to public health and climate action. While the hearing itself went smoothly, it is expected that she will face opposition on the Senate floor. The next step is for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to vote to confirm McCarthy, possibly in the next couple weeks, sending the nomination to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.


Show Your Support for the Proposed Cleaner Gasoline and Tailpipe Standards (“Tier 3”)

On March 29, EPA proposed standards for cleaner gasoline and vehicles. While vehicles are now cleaner than they used to be, this is still significant news. With plans to finalize this proposal in 2013, EPA is expected to establish more stringent tailpipe standards and reduce the sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017. The benefits have been compared to taking 33 million cars off the road, and these results can be achieved for a penny or less per gallon of gasoline.

These proposed standards are supported by a diverse coalition of organizations and industry—and a majority of Americans, too—because they will reduce air pollution, save lives, and create thousands of new jobs in an ailing economy. However, oil companies and their allies in Congress are working hard to stop the proposed standards, making misleading, discredited claims regarding the impact the standards will have on consumers. There is still time to make your voice heard. We encourage you to participate in the public comment period before it ends on June 13, 2013. In addition to taking individual action, consider sending an action alert to your members and supporters either via your own organization’s action alert or the links provided below.

Stand up for clean air and submit your official comment for cleaner gasoline and tailpipe standards now!

Kids Don’t Deserve Asthma: Take Action for Cleaner Tailpipes!, Sierra Club Action Alert

Breaking News: EPA Proposes Tough New Standards, American Lung Association Action Alert

Call to Action: Support the Cleaner Gasoline and Tailpipe Standards (Tier 3), Great round-up of resources and ways to get involved from the Union of Concerned Scientists


Public Hearings and Public Comment Period

The public hearings for the Tier 3 proposed rulemaking will be held on April 24, 2013 at the Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia, 1800 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 and April 29, 2013 at the Doubletree Magnificent Mile, 300 E. Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60611. To sign up to testify at one of the public hearings, call (734) 214-4454. Public comments must be submitted on or before June 13, 2013. For more details, please see the action alert above.


Oil Industry Inflates Cleaner Gasoline Cost Claims with Windfall Profits, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 4.22.13

America Needs Clean Transportation, Not Just Clean Cars, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 4.19.13

Clean Vehicles: Saving Oil & Reducing Pollution, USCAN Webpage with Tier 3 Materials, 4.18.13

Costly Climate Impacts Show Why We Need Power Plant Carbon Standards, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog, 4.12.13

EPA Proposes Stronger Standards on Gasoline and Cars to Reduce Smog, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 3.29.13

EPA Proposes Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards, Environmental Protection Agency Fact Sheet

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:

Congressional Attacks on the Clean Air Act

Industrial Carbon Pollution Standards

Standards for Power Plants and Other Major Emitters

Clean Vehicle 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 for more details. Click here for past issues.