Clean Air Act Digest, 8.5.11
House Interior and Environment Appropriations:
The FY2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill (H.R. 2584) was debated on the House floor last week. The base bill contained dozens of policy riders that would put our nation’s air and water at risk and during the committee mark up, the bill was further loaded down by amendments that will imperil the quality of the air we breathe. Rep. Capps was set to offer an amendment that would protect communities from mercury and other air toxics emissions from coal fired power plants by striking the language in the bill that would have undone the Mercury Air Toxics standard. Lucky after a few amendments and hours of debate House leadership pulled the bill to move on the debt ceiling legislation. However, we could see Interior Appropriations return after the August recess so watch for possible future actions on this legislation.
Unfortunately, on July 26 the EPA announced it was delaying the release of the final ozone rule for the fourth time. The current ozone standard that states have to meet is 84 parts per billion (ppb). Last year, the EPA proposed a standard within the range of 60 and 70 ppb, as recommended by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). The final ozone standard is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget and should swiftly be set to protect the health of the American people.
Legislation introduced by Senator Collins (R-Maine), and a bipartisan group of 5 other Senators that would delay the EPA standard to reduce air toxics from boilers and incinerators for 15 months is up to 22 cosponsors.This bill is an unnecessary measure given 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. A similar measure in the House introduced by Reps. Griffith and Butterfield now has 93 cosponsors. For more information on this harmful legislation see EarthJustice’s fact sheets: Senate, House and the NRDC blog: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jwalke/why_do_some_in_congress_want_t.html
At the end of last week a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced legislation (H.R. 2681) that would delay EPA’s timeline for regulating emissions from cement kilns. For more information, see the factsheet on the Energy and Commerce website. In the same week, 25 Senators sent a letter to Senate leadership, outlining concerns about jobs losses cement industry. To see the text of the letter click here. The rule, that went into effect last August is expected to save up to 2,500 lives per year.
Mercury Air Toxics:
August 4 marked the end of the Mercury Air Toxics Rule comment period. Over 800,000 concerned citizens across the country submitted a comment in unprecedented numbers calling for the EPA to reduce harmful mercury and other air toxics from power plants.
On July 29, after forming an agreement with the state of California and major automakers, the White House has set forth new fuel efficiency and auto pollution. Automakers’ vehicle fleets must now average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. According to an analysis done by Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the new fuel economy standards would cut oil consumption by as much as 1.5 million barrels per day, or 23 billion gallons of gasoline annually, by 2030.
Take the Clean Air Promise!
As Congress continues to consider several bills that would limit the EPA’s ability to enforce clean air standards that protect us from air pollution, the League of Women Voters and leading public health, advocacy and environmental organizations have launched the Clean Air Promise campaign – an effort to bring the coordinated assault on the clean air act to the attention to parents, families,communities and our leaders and ask them to promise to protect clean air.
Making the promise for clean air will send a message to the big polluters that it’s time to change business-as-usual. Visit www.peoplenotpolluters.org and make the promise.
Red Carriage TV Advertisement, American Lung Association
800,000 Strong for Kids Health, Against Mercury Pollution Clean Air Promise Press Release
Clean Air Act Saves Americans $50 Trillion and Counting, Union of Concerned Scientists Clean Air Ticker
Support The Capps Amendment to H.R. 2584; Protect Kids From Toxic Mercury Pollution, Group Letter 7.28.11
http://www.peoplenotpolluters.org/, The Clean Air Promise Web Page
President Obama’s Decision To Miss The Health Standard Deadline Is Untenable, American Lung Association Press Release 7.26.11
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.