Clean Air Act Digest, 8.6.12
On Tuesday and Thursday of last week, Rep. Whitfield, chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, convened two forums on the Clean Air Act. The stated goal of the forums was to “provide an opportunity for members of Congress to hear a broad range of perspectives from experts about their experiences in implementing the Clean Air Act.” Participants at the forums were primarily commissioners of state environmental services departments from across the country. Prior to the forums, a group of environmental organizations sent a co-signed letter to Representative Whitfield and the members of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, urging them to recognize the successes of the Clean Air Act and pledge not to diminish the law.
On Wednesday night, the House passed H.R. 4273, Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act, by voice vote. This legislation 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 under special orders from the Department of Energy. The bill waives health and environmental safeguards when the Department of Energy issues orders under section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act requiring specific power plants to continue operating to ensure that sufficient electricity is generated. The environmental community sent a letter on Wednesday morning urging members to oppose the bill.
On August 1, the Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing titled, “Update on the Latest Climate Change Science and Local Adaptation Measures.” The testimony from the majority witnesses–scientists and health officials–focused on the latest science and the public health threats from climate change. See EPW’s website for the written testimony. The hearing was preceded by a floor speech by Senator Sanders (I-VT), in which he challenged Senator Inhofe’s (R-OK) position on climate change, calling it “dead wrong.” See here for Senator Sanders’s press release.
–Thanks to Sierra Club for the language!
Support EPA’s Rule for Strong Soot Protections
The EPA recently proposed a new rule to protect America’s families and children from fine particulate matter, also called soot. Soot is a danger to some of the most vulnerable segments of the population, including children, the elderly, those with heart and lung disease, and low income people. This dangerous form of air pollution can cause damage to the heart and lungs, asthma attacks, and even premature death. EPA made the right choice to keep our air clean and safe to breathe, but the agency is already facing pressure from big polluters who are trying to stop this life-saving standard. However, we have a chance to show our support for this vital clean air protection. The EPA is currently taking public comments on the proposed soot standard. Your public support will make a difference, so take action today and tell polluters it’s time to clear our skies and protect public health. Use the action alerts linked below to send a comment to the EPA and support the proposal today!
Stand Up for Strong Soot Protections, Sierra Club Action Alert: http://bit.ly/LPfONG
Support the EPA’s Limit on Harmful Soot Pollution, Moms Clean Air Force Action Alert: http://bit.ly/S6pOFL
Help Us Cut Deadly Soot Pollution, Earthjustice Action Alert: http://bit.ly/NhCsRU
Joint Letter Opposing Olsen Bill (HR 4273), Joint Sign-on, 8.1.12
Business Groups’ Letter to Energy and Power Subcommittee on Clean Air Act Forums, Business Group Sign-on, 8.1.12
Joint Coalition Letter to Chairman Whitfield on Clean Air Act Forums, Joint Sign-on, 7.31.12
California Asthma Dr. Supports Strong Limits On Soot Pollution, Moms Clean Air Force Blog, 7.27.12
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.