Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

The Dog Ate My Clean Air Standards

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Chris Jordan-Bloch:
In the Shadow of the Stacks

"It's like hell. Living in hell," says Marti Blake, when asked about being neighbors with a coal-fired power plant. "It's filthy, it's dirty, it's ...

by Sam Edmondson:
Deadly Air Bill Voted Down in Senate

There are some straight spines left in the U.S. Senate, which today voted down a resolution from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) that would have effectively ex...

by Sam Edmondson:

The historic victory for clean air announced a few days ago—limits on the mercury, arsenic and other toxic emissions from coal plants—has ...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
17 November 2011, 3:38 PM
EPA's clean-up of toxic air pollution remains unfulfilled
Not only will clean air standards have a tremendous impact on the health of the American public, they will also create thousands of new utility jobs.
(Chris Jordan / Earthjustice)

In 1990, Congress gave the Environmental Protection Agency a very important homework assignment: protect the American public from mercury, lead, benzene, dioxins and other invisible toxic air pollutants, because what we can't see can hurt us.

Twenty-one years later, these dangerous pollutants are still pouring forth in large quantities from smokestacks across the country. Some of the nation's biggest polluters—cement kilns, industrial boilers and coal-fired power plants—are going to have to cut down on their toxic pollution as the Clean Air Act requires, have yet to do so.

In many cases, the reason is that the EPA has time and again failed to turn in its homework—critical clean air standards that require industries to install pollution controls that are readily available and affordable. Pressure and opposition from industry has routinely been a roadblock. In this way, polluting industries and their allies in Congress have played the part of the dog, scarfing the standards that would cause dirty industries to clean up their facilities. But even when the EPA has turned in clean air standards to clean up polluters, more often than not they are covered in industry's slobber—watered down and full of loopholes that benefit polluters.

"The Clean Air Act is actually a very clear law," said Earthjustice's Jim Pew in a recent article that's part of the Poisoned Places series, co-reported by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. "One administration after another has just refused to implement it because they didn't want to offend the powerful industry interests that didn't want to have to control their pollution."

And many of the standards that have been turned in "provide far less protection than the Clean Air Act requires," added Pew. "People in many communities are exposed to unacceptable levels of pollutants that can cause cancer, birth defects and other serious health effects."

Unlike most students who fail to turn in their homework, the EPA is required by law to take these steps. When it doesn't, Earthjustice uses the courts to remind the agency of its responsibility under the law. This process led the EPA to issue the first ever emission standards for coal-fired power plants, released last March. A final standard is due one month from today, on December 16, 2011. More than 800,000 citizens submitted comments in support of strong standards, but some entrenched industry interests have also pushed back hard, claiming that the standards are "job-killers."

The credible evidence out there indicates that now is precisely the time that clean air standards should be issued. Not only will they have a tremendous impact on the health of the American public, they will also create thousands of new utility jobs.

Be sure to take a look at the well-researched and highly informative investigative reporting from NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. It's a treasure trove of good information about a system that is broken in many ways. Earthjustice will continue our work to improve it and to ensure that the right of all Americans to breathe clean air is protected.

as before you many see more relaxing of certain regulations in an economic climate where we need to be able to have more output and create more jobs. While both a nuisance as well as important, regulations have to be reviewed and adjusted on frequent basis. Otherwise the costs of new regulations can be high ( and really hinder both economic growth and job creation down the line, which at this time we can’t afford for such tight regulation to constantly impede our progress if it is one that we can live without. Of course this is not advocating for deregulation of any sort, but there probably are one or two that could be at least slowed down.

A number of impressive features are kytutyhdfg in the iPhone 4, such as the all new "retina display", 5 megapixel digital camera, new operating system, and completely redesigned casing.For starters, the screen is arguably one of the most impressive features of the iPhone 4, and indeed one of the most advanced of any phone on the market. Utilising a pixel configuration of 640x 960, it can display up to 16M colours. The screen measures 3.5 inches and utilises LED-jdthrtyrdty IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen technology. It is named retina due to the fact that the naked eye cannot perceive the individual pixels, hence the breathtaking display quality.The iPhone 3GS has a 3.2 megapixel camera, but the iPhone 4 has improved on this with a 5 megapixel dfhertrg. With a high operating pixel resolution, and the ability to shoot HD video in 720p quality, it is simple to use yet very powerful. This makes it ideal for those who simply like to take spontaneous snapshots, as well as those who are ertdfgfgh about their photography. There are a number of included image enhancing features, along with loads of downloadable photography apps via the AppStore.Users are treated to a great web browsing experience with the iPhone 4. Both HSDPA and Wi-Fi connections provide the optimum levels of dtyhrtyrt based upon location and network coverage. Cellular networks rely on GPRS and EDGE, whilst Bluetooth and micro USB connections allow users to connect their handset to compatible hardware devices, whereby a number of different ktyrtrf can be carried out. Of course, access to the AppStore is provided as standard, allowing users to browse and download apps from every conceivable category. There thousands of apps mjmhfgh, many of which are free of charge, and have the capability to turn the iPhone 4 into a highly versatile device. The versatility and customisation levels of the software, coupled with powerful hardware such as a 1 GHz Apple A4 kfyutyre is surely a major part of the appeal of the iPhone series. The iPhone 4 is a highly capable entertainment and multimedia device, mvbcfgh web browser, productivity tool for the office, and indeed a very impressive mobile phone. Whatever you are looking for in a new smartphone, you cannot go wrong with the Apple jyhsthgf 4.

The EPA is being stripped of authority by Congress, or I should say the Republicans in the House. They voted that EPA is overstepping it's bounds and they are trying to limit regulations on businesses as far as air pollutants are concerned.

Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011- Vote Passed (262-161, 10 Not Voting)

The House voted to delay the EPA’s implementation of air pollution rules for cement plants by 15 months. The Senate is unlikely to take up the bill. The White House has also threatened to veto the bill.

Rep. Chris Gibson voted YES......send e-mail or see bio


EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 - H.R.2250

This House bill would delay EPA rules on industrial boilers


North American-Made Energy Security Act- Vote Passed (279-147, 1 Present, 5 Not Voting)

This House bill would require the White House to decide by November 1 whether to allow construction of a 1,700 mile oil pipeline running from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast. The application to build the pipeline was made nearly three years ago. The White House said the State Department is committed to completing its review by the end of the year and called the bill "unnecessary."


Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act - Vote Passed (235-186, 12 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to transfer a parcel of federal land near Superior, AZ to Resolution Copper Mining. The Senate is unlikely to approve the measure.


To require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes

House Roll Call No. 741
112nd Congress, 1st Session

Passed: 249-169 (see complete tally)

The House passed H.R. 2401, to require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, by a recorded vote of 249 ayes to 169 noes, Roll No. 741. Consideration of the measure began September 22nd.


And this from a letter I received from Chris Gibson in response to a letter I wrote to him.

In 1970, the EPA was established to safeguard the nation's environment and protect public health. While the original charter was well-intentioned, and the agency has contributed to environmental restorations in many parts of the country, the EPA has trended away from its original mission and has grossly overstepped its legal authority. In recent years, the EPA has ignored Congressional intent and pursued a radical environmental agenda that often disregards the economic impact on farmers and businesses. New York's 20th Congressional District is home to some of the most breathtaking landscape in the country, and I am mindful of the need to preserve that gift for future generations. However, as I travel the state and district I continually hear from farmers, small businesses, and individuals about burdensome regulations from the EPA that have hindered our economic recovery and stifled growth.

I believe the EPA has gone far past its original goals of safeguarding the public's air and water quality, and is now operating at a level never imagined by Congress when the agency was created. Recent proposals and rules issued by the EPA have attempted to regulate things like dust content in the air. While dust might be unpleasant, it in no way poses a serious risk to the American people. Expensive efforts to regulate these types of farming activities work only to stifle economic growth. I voted in support of several amendments to H.R. 1 (the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year) that prohibited the use of funds for enforcement of onerous EPA regulations. For example, Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced an amendment that would withhold EPA funding for the implementation of strict Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for dairy operations and other farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This amendment was a direct response to the EPA's efforts to impose water regulations that New York farmers can never comply with. I supported this amendment in addition to other efforts to defund EPA regulations that place an undue burden on businesses and farmers, without providing a noticeable effect on environmental or public health conditions.

In addition to the long list of recent regulations, the EPA has also made efforts to regulate green house gas emissions under existing law. In April of 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, the EPA Administrator was charged with determining whether or not emissions of certain greenhouse gases may endanger the public health. On April 17, 2009 the EPA issued a proposed finding that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution which may endanger public health or welfare. The EPA performed an analysis of six concentrated greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro fluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. They determined that the gas levels are likely the cause of changes in our climate, which in turn impacts human health. The public comment period for this finding closed on June 23, 2009.

On December 7, 2009, after almost 400,000 public comments were issued on the subject, the EPA issued a statement finding that the six greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. The Administrator also concluded that the combined emissions of these greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution. This effort launched by the current Administration is a direct result of their inability to pass climate change legislation in the last Congress. I strongly disapprove of any efforts that expand existing law in order to circumvent Congressional action, or in this case, inaction. I do not believe the original intent of the Clean Air Act was to give explicit authority to regulate climate change to the EPA. Proposed federal climate regulations would have a devastating economic impact.

I fully recognize the need to safeguard our environment and public health. However, our government must do so in a way that does not sacrifice our economy. The people of the 20th district sent me to Congress to combat excessive regulation and help foster the conditions that unleash the private sector. Creating onerous regulations and mandates on businesses and farmers limits will only limit the competitiveness of American businesses in the global economy and drive jobs overseas. When evaluating EPA regulations and proposed rules, we must be more mindful of the economic impact. I look forward to working with my colleagues on finding ways to protect the environment while fostering economic growth.

Rep Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) recently introduced legislation to reign in certain aspects of the EPA in an effort to protect our environment and our economy. H.R. 199, Protect America's Energy and Manufacturing Jobs Act of 2011 is currently being reviewed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. While I do not serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I assure you that I will keep your thoughts in mind should Rep. Capito's legislation come to the House floor for a vote.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.