Clean Air Act Digest, 5.31.13
On May 21, the House Appropriations Committee allocated $24.3 billion to the subcommittee that funds the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior, and related agencies. This amount is 18 percent below the funding amount provided in the 2013 fiscal year and would result in drastic cuts to climate change and emissions reduction programs, among others. This amount is 20 percent below President Obama’s budget request and 14 percent below current sequestration funding levels. These cuts would make it extremely difficult for the EPA to carry out environmental standards under the Clean Air Act. (Source: E&E Daily, May 22)
On May 22, the House unanimously approved H.R. 271, “Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2013.” This bill takes the unprecedented step of authorizing total civil and criminal amnesty from all federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations for electric power producers that are under special orders from the Department of Energy to continue operating their plants to ensure a reliable supply of energy. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), is seeking partners in the Senate to introduce a similar bill.
Gina McCarthy’s nomination for EPA administrator is still pending in the Senate and may not be voted on until July. Support the McCarthy nomination; see the Action Alert section below.
On March 29, EPA proposed standards for cleaner gasoline and vehicles, known as “Tier 3” standards. While vehicles are now cleaner than they used to be, this is still significant news. While the proposal was announced on March 21, it was not printed in the Federal Register until May 21. Oil companies and other Tier 3 opponents argued that the comment period for these standards was not long enough to address potential problems and violated the Clean Air Act by starting the public comment period before the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register. The deadline for public comments has now been extended from June 13 to July 1. For more information on Tier 3 and examples of action alerts, see Digest for May 20.
Urge Your US Senators: Support Veteran Clean Air Advocate Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy’s nomination for EPA administrator is up for vote in the Senate, but some Republican members are still trying to undermine her legitimacy.
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 toxics—safeguards that will avert thousands of heart attacks and premature deaths each year and prevent tens of thousands of asthmas attacks annually.
McCarthy’s nomination vote has been pushed back, probably until the beginning of July. There is still time to make a difference. Contact your Senators and urge them to support Gina McCarthy as the new EPA administrator.
Tell the Senate: Confirm Gina McCarthy as EPA Chief, League of Conservation Voters Action Alert
Support Gina McCarthy as EPA Chief, Environmental Defense Fund Action Alert
Tell Your Senators: Support Gina McCarthy’s Nomination as EPA Administrator, Change.org/Moms Clean Air Force Action Alert
Confirm Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator Now!, MomsRising Action Alert
Urge Senate to Support Gina McCarthy for EPA, Interfaith Power and Light Action Alert
Support Sufficient Funding for EPA, Joint Sign-on Letter, 5.28.13
Tweetable Clean Air and Climate Facts, Moms Clean Air Force
Everyone Has the Right to Breathe Clean, Healthy Air, 50 States United for Healthy Air
Gina McCarthy’s Nomination Deserves Strong Bipartisan Support, Huffington Post Blog, 5.28.13
Citizen Army Lobbies Congress for Clean Air, Earthjustice Blog, 5.17.13
ICYMI: Stand with Gina Webpage
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 email@example.com for more details. Click here for past issues.