Posts tagged: Clean Air Act

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Clean Air Act


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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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.

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View Paul Cort's blog posts
25 March 2014, 11:00 AM
Calif. agency seeks to relax existing regulations on diesel trucks, buses
(iStockphoto)

For as long as I have been working on air pollution issues in California, I can still be left speechless by agency decision-making—such as the recent proposal by the California Air Resources Board to relax regulations requiring the cleanup of diesel trucks and buses.

First let me say that CARB is to be commended for adopting these groundbreaking regulations in the first place. The rules, first adopted in 2008, will require owners and operators over the next 10 years to upgrade their old, dirty diesel trucks and buses operating in California. This rule is a central piece of the strategies to meet soot and smog standards in the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles.

View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
14 March 2014, 5:58 PM
Some of the quotable best from the Senate's #Up4Climate event
(USDA Photo)

The sound of the Senate call to action on climate change from Monday evening through Tuesday morning is still ringing through our ears.

In case you missed the big #Up4Climate all-night Senate floor takeover, or in case you are still finding inspiration from it, here are some of the highlights:

  • One of the event organizers, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), reminded his colleagues, and the nation, “When America leads the rest of the world follows."
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) sounded a similar refrain indicating that "The solution to climate change is American innovation ... Never bet against it."
  • And for those who may have forgotten what’s at stake in the climate fight, several Senators spelled it out, including Senator Mark Udall (D-CO): “We’ve seen megafloods and megafires, and [climate change is] threatening our way of life in Colorado. We don’t inherit this earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children. Lets act now,” he urged.
  • He was followed by his cousin, Tom Udall (D-NM), who focused on solutions: “When it comes to renewable energy, we [in New Mexico] are out there to make sure we orient ourselves toward renewables and act on climate change.”
  • And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also spoke eloquently about our potential. “I for one refuse to believe that harmful pollution is the only way to grow our economy," she said. "We have everything it takes, from sustainable sources, to manufacturing industry, to renewable know-how to power our country.”
  • Senators Whitehouse and Boxer also delivered powerful messages as the co-chairs of the Senate Climate Task Force and long-time agitators for action to combat climate change.
View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
05 March 2014, 12:26 PM
Louisianans take action to find out what's happening with their dirty neighbors
Flaring at the Shell's refinery in Norco, Louisiana. (Photo courtesy of iWitness Pollution Map)

This guest blog post was written by Molly Brackin, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade which works with communities overburdened by pollution.

Since 2000, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade has worked with communities throughout Louisiana that neighbor oil refineries and chemical plants.

Their mission is to support communities’ use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution. The Bucket Brigade model is to equip communities most impacted by pollution with easy-to-use tools to monitor their environment and hold industry accountable.

Molly Brackin.

Molly Brackin is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, where she serves as the Monitoring & Evaluation Associate. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, where she specialized in hazard mitigation and disaster.

View Suma Peesapati's blog posts
31 December 2013, 10:03 AM
The journey towards a clean energy future in New Mexico
The Four Corners Power Plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for the past fifty years. (Photo courtesy of Ecoflight)

Arizona Public Service Company officially announced yesterday that it will retire Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Four Corners Power Plant by January 1, 2014 and install long-overdue pollution controls on the plant’s remaining two units by July 31, 2018.

Built before the Clean Air Act was enacted, this coal plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for the past fifty years. Uncontrolled pollution from this plant threatens the health of its Navajo neighbors and mars visibility in surrounding national parks, including the iconic Grand Canyon. Retirement of three of the plant’s units is an important step forward for environmental justice, protection of public lands, and our ongoing struggle against climate change.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
09 December 2013, 2:13 PM
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would yield up to $280 billion in health benefits
A regional smog layer extends across central New York, western Lake Erie and Ohio, and further west. Winds bring ozone and chemicals that participate in its formation to areas downwind of emission sources. (NASA JSC)

Today, the highest court of the land will hear argument in a case that is important to anyone with lungs.

Here’s the issue in brief: after a court of appeals invalidated the U.S. EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), environmental groups, the EPA itself and various states, asked the Supreme Court to get involved.

A vital air safeguard, the 2011 rule would require power plants in more than two dozen states to clean up nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution that drifts across state borders and contributes to harmful soot (particles) and smog (ozone) pollution in downwind states. This cleanup would every year prevent 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits, 19,000 episodes of acute bronchitis, 420,000 upper and lower respiratory symptoms, 400,000 episodes of aggravated asthma, and 1.8 million days of missed work or school. The EPA also projects that the rule’s pollution reductions will help protect not just people, but also the natural resources on which we depend, including national and state parks, and ecosystems including the Adirondack lakes and Appalachian streams, coastal waters and estuaries, and forests. Overall, the rule would provide up to $280 billion in health and environmental benefits.

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View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
12 November 2013, 4:07 PM
November is Oil Industry Accident Awareness Month in Louisiana
Over 6,000 people live within two miles of the Valero Refinery, in Meraux, LA. (Photo courtesy of Louisiana Bucket Brigade)

Six accidents a week and more than two-million pounds of air pollution are what Louisiana residents lived with in 2012—and they can expect more accidents and more pollution. Louisiana’s 17 refineries reported 327 accidents in 2012. The evidence is mounting that many refinery accidents are not being reported, and some of those reported are only due to community member’s forcing industry into the light.

That is why the Louisiana Bucket Brigade teamed up with the United Steelworkers and others to release the report Mission: Zero Accidents that draws attention to the dangerous conditions residents and workers are exposed to near Louisiana oil refineries. Refineries underreporting and providing little to know information on the majority of reported accidents leave workers and communities vulnerable.

View Abigail Dillen's blog posts
14 October 2013, 2:18 PM
Strong power plant carbon limits are critical for tackling climate change
EPA is now taking the next step to control pollution from new power plants. (Calin Tatu / Shutterstock)

This op-ed originally ran on October 11, 2013, on LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cements the urgency for U.S. leaders to move boldly and quickly on climate change, and the most logical place to start is the nation's fleet of power plants.

Recently, when the Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, groups involved with climate change cheered the announcement. Cleaning up power plants is an essential first step to addressing climate change and its effects, from superstorms to catastrophic fire seasons. Power plants are by far the biggest carbon polluters in the country, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. There is no excuse for building any new, dirty plants without carbon pollution controls.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
10 October 2013, 11:32 AM
Health issues growing as wood furnaces become more commonplace
Outdoor wood furnaces for sale in Delaware. (Samuel Houchins)

Many Americans are looking to escape high heating bills and have found what seems to be the perfect solution: outdoor wood boilers. Commonplace now along rural roads, they look like sheds with chimneys on top, and circulate water into homes for heating systems or hot water.

But they aren't as innocuous as they may look. Which is why Earthjustice, on behalf of several health and environmental groups, filed a lawsuit Wednesday over the EPA’s failure to update standards for these units. But we aren't the only ones crying foul. Filing a similar complaint were the states of New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The issue in a nutshell: these units emit high volumes of particulate matter (which can lodge deep within the lungs causing serious cardiovascular and respiratory harm) carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and carcinogens. We know all these chemicals are toxic soup for our lungs and health. And EPA’s failure to update the standards means that homeowners install thousands of new wood-burning boilers, furnaces and stoves each year that produce far more dangerous air pollution than cleaner units would.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
18 September 2013, 11:29 AM
Cleaner air starts with a button and ends with stronger pollution laws
Photo courtesy of epSos.de (Flickr)

Tired of breathing dirty air during your daily commute? Just turn on your car vent’s recirculation button, advises researchers from the University of Southern California. Their study found that pushing this little-used button—which typically shows an arrow with a car around it—can cut pollution levels by 80 percent as compared to pollution levels found out on the road.
 

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
05 September 2013, 10:20 AM
Clean air safeguard would save thousands of lives
A regional smog layer extends across central New York, western Lake Erie and Ohio, and further west. Winds bring ozone and chemicals that participate in its formation to areas downwind of emission sources. (NASA JSC)

On Wednesday, we filed a legal brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a very important air safeguard to take effect. So what’s so important about the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and how does it work?

Let’s get to the numbers first. The rule saves lives, plain and simple. According to the EPA, the air safeguard would every year prevent:

  • 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths
  • 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks
  • 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits
  • 19,000 episodes of acute bronchitis
  • 420,000 upper and lower respiratory symptoms
  • 400,000 episodes of aggravated asthma, and
  • 1.8 million days of missed work or school.
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