Clean Air Act Digest, 7.22.11
Clean Air Act Conference:
On July 18 and 19 over 60 advocates came to Washington DC in support of clean air standards that reduce harmful air pollution and protect public health; standards that are under attack by polluters and their allies in Congress. As part of The Clean Air Act: Reducing Pollution, Saving Lives Conference participants came from all walks of life, from more than 10 states and were armed with personal stories and community statistics about the public health and economic benefits of clean air. Conference advocates, organized by a coalition of 10 diverse organizations,visited CApitol Hill to urge their members of Congress to oppose efforts to block clean air standards that would reduce air pollution from mercury, greenhouse gases, ozone, and harmful toxics like arsenic, soot, and other substances emitted by power plants and other polluters. They also meet with White House staff to express strong support for the Administration promulgating strong standards the will reduce smog, carbon, mercury and other air pollutants. Participating organizations included 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.
Legislation S.1392 introduced Wednesday by Senator Collins (R-Maine), and a bipartisan group of 5 other Senators would delay the EPA standard to reduce air toxics from boilers and incinerators for 15 months. An unnecessary measure since the boiler standard, which already includes a 3 year window for facilities to comply, has been stayed until April of next year allowing facilities to continue to dump unlimited amount of pollution into the air we all breathe. Equally troubling is a provision in the bill inserted by Senator Wyden (D-Oregon) that would classify certain materials as nonhazardous fuel including biomass, scrap tires, non-chlorinated plastics, latex paint water and others allowing facilities to burn these materials with no regulation, monitoring or reporting of their emissions. A similar measure in the House introduced by Reps. Griffith and Butterfield now has 77 cosponsors.
Mercury and Air Toxics Comment Delivery Rally:
Tuesday afternoon, a crowd of concerned citizens gathered in Boston outside the Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 office to deliver more than 639,000 comments calling for strong mercury safeguards. These comments, collected from every state in the nation, support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their efforts to curb dangerous mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. A coalition of more than 200 health, environmental and social justice organizations worked together to make this impressive show of support possible. See the Sierra Club’s blog post about the event here.
– Check out some photos on Environment Massachusetts facebook page. Please note if these photos are used please credit Devin Dobbins-McCarthy.
– Check out a video clip from NH fisherman Eric Orff.
– Also, check out Bill Hodges’ video post to Examiner.com
Interior and Environment Appropriations:
As we reported last week, the FY2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill (H.R. 2584) moved out of the House Interior Appropriations Committee. 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. As a reminder, some of the worst riders include:
– 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.
We are expecting to see a series of bad amendments on the floor. Debate could start as early as next Tuesday (7/26). To see a full list of riders, visit NRDC’s website: http://www.nrdc.org/legislation/2011riders.asp Please consider sending an alert to your membership, see below for sample text.
On Thursday afternoon the Administration released a Statement of Administration Policy opposing the passage of H.R. 2584, stating “The Administration strongly opposes a number of provisions in this bill, including ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.”
Several weeks ago Administrator Jackson delivered a proposed ozone standard to OMB. While the details and numbers are yet to be released, industry is wasting no time attacking the proposal. Late last week the Business Roundtable sent out a letter claiming outrageous costs as a consequence of new standards that will protect our health.
On Wednesday NRDC released “Toxic 20.” The report analyzes the contribution of power plants make to industrial air toxics. The report names the “Toxic 20” states with the most toxic air pollution from power plants. To learn more visit, http://www.nrdc.org/media/2011/110720.asp
A coalition of environmental groups has launched a ticker counting the deaths that delaying the cleanup of toxic and other dangerous pollution from power plants could cause at www.dirtysecrets.org. That site describes the amendments and explains why the amendments have such a high body count. Please feel free to use this site to help make clear the impact of these votes and who is supporting them.
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 Approaching Soon:
We now have until Thursday, August 4th to submit comments, for those who haven’t made their voice heard it’s time to take this extra opportunity 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
An Open Letter to President Obama from Groups Protecting Public Health on Ozone, More than 265 Groups Letter 7.21.11
The “Toxic 20” States with the Highest Levels of Toxic …, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog 7.20.11
Benefits from EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Environmental Defense Fund Web Page with State Fact Sheets
Check out USCAN’s updated Wall of Opposition to Rolling Back the Landmark Clean Air Act, pdf 7.21.11
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.