|Peter Bahouth, Executive Director
July 18, 2011
Bright Spots Across the Country
On Monday the House of Representative voted down a bill that would have repealed a set of lighting efficiency standards set to phase in at the end of the year. The legislation (H.R. 2417) from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) failed on a vote of 233-193. The legislation was considered under suspension of the rules, a procedure that requires a two-thirds majority to pass. The Obama Administration weighed in, stating this measure would result in negative economic consequences for U.S. consumers and the economy. The Department of Energy has estimated that the lighting standards that H.R. 2417 would have repealed could collectively save U.S. households nearly $6 billion in 2015. Gene Kirpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters stated after the vote “We applaud those members of the U.S. House who voted to reject this hidden energy tax that would prevent consumers from saving money…It’s time to let these efficiency standards go to work saving consumers money while spurring innovation, creating jobs and reducing pollution.”
Meanwhile, as the House continues to attack important public health standards under the Clean Air Act in routine spending bills, more than 60 people from across the country will gather in Washington, DC in support of the Clean Air Act, healthy families and communities. The participants represent the diverse voices of faith, consumers, public health, women, small business and communities of color rallying to express strong support for the Clean Air Act and opposition of any efforts to weaken it. US Climate Action Network is one of 10 diverse organizations converging in DC as part of this two-day conference and advocacy day. Other participants 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, and Small Business Majority. For more information see the press release here. Also, check back to our blog, twitter, and Facebook later today for more detailed coverage.
Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at 11 of its coal-fired plants in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. A huge supplier of energy to the Southeast, servicing approximately nine million people, TVA is an independent, corporate agency of the United States. As part of the settlement, TVA agreed to close 2700 MW of coal plants by 2018 and also invest $350 million on clean energy projects that will reduce pollution, save energy and protect public health and the environment. An estimated investment of $3 to $5 billion was also part of the deal, to be spent on new and upgraded state-of-the-art pollution controls. This investment alone will prevent approximately 1,200 to 3,000 premature deaths, 2,000 heart attacks and 21,000 cases of asthma attacks each year, a total of $27 billion in annual health benefits. The initiative continues EPA’s focus on improving compliance with the new source review provisions of the Clean Air Act among industries that have the potential to cause significant amounts of air pollution.
Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and a member of TVA’s Integrated Resource Planning Advisory Group noted, “We applaud the settlement reached between TVA, EPA and other parties leading to the retirement of 2700 MW of coal plants in the Tennessee Valley. This is particularly good news, because Johnsonville and Widows Creek were oldest, dirtiest and least efficient plants in TVA’s coal fleet.”
Events this week prove that the fight continues against big polluters who prefer to waste energy and dirty our air instead of moving toward the clean energy economy of the future.
Kate Smolski, Domestic Policy Director