Clean Air Act Digest, 4.27.12
In previous issues, we have reported on the surface transportation bill moving in Congress. Last week, the House passed an extension of the surface transportation law (H.R. 4348) and this week voted to go to conference with the Senate, which has passed a bipartisan transportation bill (S. 1813). Fortunately the bills do not include provisions jeopardizing the Clean Air Act, although the House bill contains several highly controversial provisions, including a rider to block EPA from issuing new standards for the disposal of coal ash from power plants.
In the House, markup in the Energy and Commerce Committee of the Gasoline Regulations Act (H.R. 4471), which would gut a key provision in the Clean Air Act, was bumped from the schedule by another bill but is expected to receive a vote in committee in a couple weeks and then head to the floor of the House.
The American Lung Association has coined a more accurate name for the bill: the Gutting Air Standards Protection (GASP) Act. Contrary to the claims of its sponsor, Rep. Ed Whitfield, and supporters, the GASP Act would do nothing to reduce gasoline prices. In fact, it would delay several important rules to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and it would eviscerate the Clean Air Act’s health-based standards for ozone (smog). EPA would be required to factor in economic considerations when determining how much air pollution is safe to breathe, rather than determining whether air is healthy based solely on public health and science.
On Wednesday, Senator Hatch (R-UT) introduced the WEST Act. This bill includes a number of anti-environmental bills passed by the House last year, including several dirty air bills that target the Clean Air Act:
* H.R. 1633 would block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating health standards for coarse particle or soot pollution, under the legislative guise of blocking nonexistent and unplanned EPA regulation of so-called “farm dust.”
* H.R. 910 would block the Environment Protection Agency from enforcing Clean Air Act safeguards against carbon pollution. The bill would give the biggest polluters a free pass for unlimited carbon pollution by simply declaring that carbon dioxide is not an air pollutant and repealing EPA’s science-based endangerment determination. The bill would repeal every action EPA has already taken and block every action EPA is developing to limit carbon pollution from power plants, oil refineries, and other industries.
The 60-day public comment period on EPA’s proposed standards for carbon pollution from new power plants began on April 13, and supporters are seeking a record number of positive comments. On Tuesday, April 24, a broad coalition of clean air, labor, and other progressive organizations delivered more than 735,000 public comments after the first week of the public comment period. Check out some pictures of the event here. See the action alert below.
American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report
ALA released the State of the Air report this past Wednesday. Breathing polluted air can harm your health and even shorten your life. State of the Air is a report card on air pollution in communities across the nation. The more you learn, the more you can protect your health and take steps to make our air cleaner and healthier. For 13 years, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from state air quality monitors to compile the State of the Air report.
Support EPA’s Proposal to Limit Industrial Carbon Pollution from New Power Plants:
The EPA’s proposed limits on industrial carbon pollution from new power plants are critical to protecting the health of our kids and families, sparking innovation in clean technologies and creating American jobs. Industrial carbon pollution spewing from power plants threatens our health. Carbon pollution fuels climate change that raises temperatures and makes smog pollution worse, which can trigger asthma attacks and permanently damage and reduce the function of children’s lungs. It’s no surprise the American people support the Clean Air Act and the EPA’s efforts to update and enforce clean air standards, including carbon and mercury emissions from power plants.
Tell the EPA that you support its efforts to protect our health with new standards to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants and urge the agency to move forward with carbon pollution standards for existing plants.
Help drive comment collection by crafting an action alert for your organization. The carbon pollution standard was published in the Federal Record on Friday, April 13, launching the official sixty-day comment period.
Current Action Alerts:
Fight for Starving Polar Bears, National Wildlife Federation Action Fund
Take Action: Help End Dirty Energy, Environmental Defense Fund Action Alert
Stop Industrial Carbon Pollution, Earthjustice Action Alert
EPA will hold public hearings on the recently proposed standards. Details on the timing and location for those hearings are not yet available. Stay tuned for updates.
Americans File More than 735,000 Comments in Support of Carbon Pollution Standards, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 4.27.12
POLL: Small Businesses Want Government Investments in Renewable Energy Technologies and Support EPA Clean Air Standards, Small Business Majority, 4.24.12
There They Go Again: House Republicans Seek to Eliminate Right to Breathe Clean Air, Call it a “Study,” Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, 4.16.12
Don’t forget the Clean Air Act fan page on Facebook.
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.