Clean Air Act Digest, 7.15.11
This past Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2012 Environment and Interior appropriations bill. The base bill contained dozens of policy riders that would put our nation’s air and water at risk; during the mark up, the bill was further loaded down by amendments that will imperil the quality of the air we breathe.
While the environmental community has expressed disappointment with the entire package for a variety of reasons, the assaults on public health are particularly egregious:
– The “Anti-Science, Pro-Pollution” soot amendment would block the EPA from considering the harmful health effects of soot.
– The “Dirty Air, Anti-Science” rider (Sec 431) would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward with carbon pollution standards for the biggest polluters.
– The “Death and Disease from Cement Pollution” amendment would give cement plants a free pass to continue emitting mercury, a potent neurotoxin.
– The “Mercury Poisoning, Death, and Asthma Attacks” amendment would delay the Cross-State Air Pollution rule and the Mercury Air toxics standard for at least two years. These protections are designed to curb smog, soot, and toxic air pollution from power plants and are expected to save tens of thousands of lives each year.
The appropriations bill is expected to move the House floor as early as next week. Please consider sending an alert to your membership, see below for sample text.
Energy and Commerce Committee:
On Tuesday the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the ‘‘Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011” (TRAIN Act; H.R. 2401). The legislation targets a specific list of life-saving public health protections provided by the Clean Air Act. This bill requires redundant analyses of Environmental Protection Agency rules, wasting both time and taxpayer dollars. Representative Whitfield (R-KY) offered an amendment that would delay the EPA’s plans to limit mercury and air toxics from power plants. The amendment passed with bipartisan support.
Clean Air Act: Reducing Pollution, Saving Lives
Early next week more than 60 people from across the country will gather in Washington, DC in support of healthy families and communities. As part of a two-day conference and advocacy day the participants represent the diverse voices of faith, consumers, public health, women, small business and communities of color. These individuals come united to express strong support for the Clean Air Act and in opposition of any efforts to weaken it. The 10 diverse organizations involved include the American Lung Association, Consumers Union, Health Care Without Harm, Interfaith Power and Light, League of Women Voters, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Council of Churches, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, Small Business Majority, and US Climate Action Network.
Consider sending an action alert to your membership on the Interior Appropriations bill. Sample text is below.
Subject: Oppose the FY 2012 Interior and EPA appropriations bill (bill # TBA)
Dear Representative ,
I urge you to oppose the FY 2012 Interior, EPA and Related Agencies appropriations bill (bill # TBA) and any amendment that would further block protections for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the lands and wildlife that we value. The bill is already loaded up with at least 23 policy riders that would undermine environmental laws. We must cut wasteful spending, but gutting critical programs and cutting special deals to protect big polluters won’t balance the country’s checkbook.
I do not want to return to a time when our rivers were so polluted they burned and our air was too thick with pollution to safely breathe. I want to ensure that the next generation is able to enjoy America’s treasured landscapes and unique wildlife.
Congress should not hijack spending bills to launch sneak attacks that undermine the public’s right to clean air, clean water and the preservation of America’s natural heritage.
Once again, I urge you to oppose the FY 2012 Interior, EPA and Related Agencies spending bill. Congress should be investing in America’s future, not destroying it.
[Your name and address]
Mercury and Air Toxics Comment Deadline Extension:
We now have until Thursday, August 4th to submitt comments, for those who haven’t made their voice heard it’s time to take this extra oppurtunity to urge the EPA to finalize strong air pollution standards for power plants.
Three months ago, after 20 years of delay, the Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed strong mercury and air toxics standards for power plants. EPA’s proposed standards for power plants that burn coal and oil are projected to save as many as 17,000 American lives every year by 2015.
Don’t waste any more time to weigh in and speak up for standards that will save lives and protect children. Please see the Sierra Club’s fact sheet for more information on the proposed standards and check out this sample action alert and comment card template that can be used to draft your own.
More resources :
Unbranded Mercury and Air Toxics Comment Postcard, Sierra Club
Public Comment How-to for EPA’s Proposed Mercury Rule, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Sample action alerts:
Tell the Obama Administration to Reduce Toxic Air Pollution from Power Plants, Natural Resources Defense Council
Tell EPA: Close Toxic Air Pollution Loophole from Coal-fired Power Plants, American Lung Association
Comment Delivery Event:
Thousands of Americans have been sending public comments to the EPA, urging them to strengthen clean air standards that will reduce this dangerous air pollution. A coalition of organizations and activists will deliver comments to the EPA that have been collected across the country. Dozens of representatives from the environmental, public health, minority, faith, business and other communities and elected officials will be presenting the Environmental Protection Agency with public comments asking them to set strong standards on power plants to reduce mercury pollution.
Please join the rally to make it a success. Contact Lyndsay.Moseley@sierraclub.org for more information.
When: Tuesday, July 19th, 12:00-12:30 p.m.
Where: 5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02108
House Spending Bill Halts Endangered Species Listing, Blocks Clean Water Protections and Guts Clean Air Act, National Wildlife Federation News 7.14.11
Paying to Pollute: Will House Coal Ash Bill Benefit Big Contributors or Pollution’s Victims?, Environmental Integrity Project 7.12.11
Small Business Majority Letter, John Arensmeyer Founder & CEO 7.12.11
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 Kate Smolski at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Click here for past issues.