Clean Air Act Digest, 6.25.12
This past Wednesday, June 20, Clean Air Act defenders were given a reason to celebrate, as S.J. Res. 37 was voted down in the Senate by a margin of 46-53. Senator Inhofe’s resolution under the Congressional Review Act would have done away with life-saving mercury and air toxics standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and also prohibited the agency from issuing similar standards in the future. Senators who voted against S.J. Res. 37 should be recognized for their choice to champion public health over the interests of corporate polluters. Thanks to their votes, thousands of lives will be saved and many jobs will be created as power plants advance toward cleaner technologies. Follow this link to see how your Senators voted. Also, be sure to see the action alert below in order to thank or express disappointment to your Senators.
Unfortunate news came out of the House last Thursday, June 21,with the passage of H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a package of bills that would roll back the Clean Air Act and expand oil and gas drilling on sensitive federal lands. The American Lung Association dubbed Title II of the bill (which was originally HR 4471) the Gutting Air Standard Protections (GASP) Act. The GASP Act poses a major threat to public health, due largely to provision that requires the consideration of economic factors when setting health standards for ozone pollution (smog). Rep. Gene Green offered an unsuccessful amendment to strike that provision. See here for the final vote outcome.
On Thursday, the broad coalition of groups supporting climate change and clean air safeguards announced more than two million comments in support of the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standard, which limits industrial carbon pollution from new power plants. Congratulations to all involved in comment collection! This unprecedented tally is the largest number of comments ever submitted to the EPA during a public comment period, and far exceeds the number of comments EPA has ever received on any prior issue. The official comment deadline closes June 25. EPA will continue to accept public comments, and thousands more are expected be generated in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to submit your own.
Today, June 25, EPA proposed changes to its 2010 air standards for the Portland cement manufacturing industry, including an extended compliance period. A thirty-day comment period will begin when the proposed revisions are published in the Federal Register, and EPA will finalize the rule by December 20, 2012. More information on the proposed changes will be provided in the next Digest.
–Thanks to Sierra Club for the language!
Time to give some THANKS—or express disappointment— for your Senators’ votes on S.J. Res 37.
Extremists in the Senate, led by James Inhofe of Oklahoma, attempted to roll back recently finalized Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants (MATS). Passage of Senator Inhofe’s bill would have repealed these life-saving protections and blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from future actions to clean up dirty power plants. These protections will clean up more than 90 percent of the mercury emitted from dirty and outdated coal-fired power plants, our country’s largest remaining source of mercury pollution.
To learn more about this extremist effort, and to learn who deserves a big THANKS— and who needs to hear how disappointed you are—check out this blog by NRDC:
To get you started on how you might show your gratitude or frustration, linked is some sample language originally drafted by our friends at the Sierra Club. Also, check out Sierra Club’s email action alert to take action yourself or to use as a template to create an action alert for your organization.
Latino Public Health Professionals to the White House: It’s Time to Limit Carbon Pollution!, ThinkProgress Blog, 6.22.12
Dirty Energy Money Buys Yet Another House Vote: H.R. 4480, Oil Change International Blog, 6.21.12
More Than Two Million Comments in Support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Carbon Pollution Standard, Joint Press Release, 6.21.12
American Lung Association Urges U.S. Senate to Reject Latest House Leadership Attempt to Roll Back Clean Air Protections, American Lung Association Press Release, 6.21.12
League of Women Voters Comments on the Carbon Pollution Standard, League of Women Voters of the United States, 6.13.12
Senate’s Vote Against Bill to Scrap Clean Air Standards Consistent with Small Business Opinions, Small Business Majority Press Release, 6.20.11
Fighting to Protect American Families from Mercury Pollution, White House Blog, 6.20.12
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.