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Clean Air Act

The Evergreen Community Power Plant (located at bottom center in the above image) is a small power plant that emits toxic chemicals, including lead and mercury. But the nearby community may not even know it's there because the facility avoids public discl

(This blog post first appeared in the Huffington Post on August 29, 2014.)

When you think about sources of toxic air pollution, one of the first things you might picture is a large power plant with huge smoke stacks belching black clouds into the sky. But the truth is that smaller power plants collectively contribute more to the cancer risk faced by Americans every day.

A flock of birds fly past a smokestack of a coal-fired power plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently held hearings in four cities on its proposed carbon pollution standards for the nation's existing power plants. Hundreds of Americans from all walks of life showed up at each hearing to express their support for the EPA’s safeguards.

Here are remarks from the Pittsburgh hearing delivered by Earthjustice attorney Shannon Fisk.

Jesse Marquez of the Coalition for a Safe Environment (third from left) shows EPA staffers and others a Wilmington oil refinery, shortly before the public hearing.

On a sunny Wednesday in Wilmington, California, this week, instead of spending the day at work or taking their kids to the beach, community members gathered to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what it is like living near large oil refineries. The stories kept pouring in; children who were too sick to be allowed outside, explosions that send neighbors scurrying to safety, a pre-school teacher explaining how she has to evacuate her kids when the odors get too strong, and parents who can’t afford the medicine their kids need.

The U.S. Supreme Court.

For the third time since 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.

In announcing the court's opinion Monday, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “It bears mention that EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case.”

Today, because of unrelenting pressure from so many people who have demanded action on climate change, the Obama administration proposed the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution limits on existing power plants—the single biggest source of climate pollution.

Just getting this rule proposed has taken years of effort, and we are thankful for all of our supporters who sent messages urging our public officials to address climate change

Carbon limits for power plants are vitally important for a few key reasons:

Supreme Court columns reach up toward a blue sky.

Over the last few weeks, the nation’s federal courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court—have blessed Americans with four major clean air victories that will save tens of thousands of lives and allow millions of us to live healthier. Some of these achievements came only after years of struggle by Earthjustice and our allies.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.