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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View Tom Turner's blog posts
07 September 2010, 10:48 AM
McKibben & 350.org have a wonderful plan

About 30 years ago, after some prodding from environmental groups, Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. He gave a ringing speech at the time, hoping that this gesture would help build a solar revolution. He established a Solar Energy Research Institute and put Denis Hayes, the director of the first and subsequent Earth Days in charge.

Several years later, Ronald Reagan ordered the panels taken down, having belittled Carter for worrying so much about the energy crisis. He replaced Hayes with a dentist, and SERI was soon abolished. If Carter's bold move had succeeded who knows how much better off we'd be now, but there's no point bemoaning the failures of the past.

Turns out the panels were donated to Unity College in Maine where they've been doing their bit to help the climate problem for most of three decades. Now Bill McKibben and his colleagues at the wonderful 350.org are returning a symbolic panel to where it started. They put one of the panels on a biodiesel-powered truck the day after Labor Day and will deliver it to the White House on Friday, September 10, after stopping for rallies in Boston and New York.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
31 August 2010, 4:31 PM
New poll shows majority of voters support EPA action

In 2011, the EPA is expected to propose the first-ever limits on global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants—good news, considering these pollution giants are responsible for a third of CO2 emissions in the United States. To the industry lobbyists and their mouthpieces in Congress who are resorting to all sorts of fear-mongering to smother these critical efforts: take heed—the American public isn't on your side.

A new poll from the Benenson Strategy Group, commissioned by NRDC, polled 1,401 registered voters and found that 60 percent support the regulation of global-warming gases from power plants and refineries, another significant source of such pollution. And in a vote of confidence for the EPA, 54 percent expressed confidence in the agency's ability to control the emissions.

Along with a suite of other pollution control rules the EPA is and will be pursuing, the forthcoming rules to limit global warming pollution from coal plants provide a tremendous opportunity to protect our health and planet while building a clean energy future. Those on the payroll of big polluters will try to keep us stuck in the past, but a vocal American public that demands strong action on global warming from the EPA and the Obama administration can help carry us forward.
 

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
23 August 2010, 10:38 PM
A notable episode of congestion reminds us of the cost of "convenience"
Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/securityguard/3573714028/

Somewhere between reports of the re-education of a certain beloved “puny and decadent” ABP (American-Born Panda) nicknamed Butterstick and the Chinese economy swapping global economic rankings with its neighbor across the East China Sea, one particular tale from China is drawing escalating amounts of fascination and Facebook Shares.

We’re talking, of course, of the 60 mile-long, 9-day-weary-and-counting traffic jam on a major thoroughfare leading to Beijing. This one may be creeping into the record books, one hard-fought inch at a time.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
23 July 2010, 12:01 PM
Tell the EPA by Aug. 3 to protect communties from waste burning

City-dwellers are intimately familiar with the pros and cons of living with neighbors. Their heavy footsteps thunder overhead, their loud music penetrates the walls, and strange odors sometimes drift down the halls. These are nuisances, no doubt, but not all neighborly disturbances are so innocuous.

Consider, for example, communities across the country that live near chemical plants, paper mills and other polluting industries. Air pollution from these industrial neighbors often results in higher rates of asthma and other serious illnesses in local communities.

Sadly, a recent rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could leave such communities exposed to unregulated toxic emissions from the burning of scrap plastics, used chemicals, and other industrial wastes. These emissions contain pollutants like mercury, benzene, lead and dioxins that can cause respiratory illness, birth defects, cancer and other serious health problems.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 July 2010, 2:05 PM
The one place a climate and clean energy bill should never go

Update (7/22): On 7/22 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the forthcoming energy bill will no longer include the section that would address climate change and limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate, he said, will address climate change in a separate bill in the fall after August recess.

In his statement to the press this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill. But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.  I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who again find themselves on the wrong side of history. But as we work through our differences on a comprehensive energy bill, Republicans have an immediate choice to make."

Senator John Kerry, the Senate's key negotiator of the draft climate language that was taken out of the bill package today, told press: "Harry Reid, today, has committed to giving us that opportunity, that open door, if you will, over the next days, weeks, months, whatever it takes, to find those 60 votes. So the work will continue every single day."

Sen. Kerry has said he will continue negotiatons with electric utilities, and before today, he indicated that those negotiations need more time. If these negotiations continue, he and other Senate leaders must take the polluter giveaways described below off the table.>

Back in May, when the Kerry-Lieberman draft climate bill came out, we told you about one deadly provision in it that needed to meet the chopping block fast, before it threatened American lives and decades of cleaner air in the United States. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen wrote about this in his Huffington Post column, "Giving a Free Pass to Soot, Smog, and Toxic Air Pollution is No Way to Pass a Climate Bill."

Well, this idea to use harmful air pollutants that have long been controlled through the Clean Air Act as bargaining chips in order to get industry on board is still ominously hanging around. And it needs to go away immediately. Take action now and tell your senators to step in and stop this now.

Here are some details on what exactly is happening:

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 July 2010, 9:54 AM
Report from agency's Inspector General exposes unlawful delay

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fallen far behind in one of its most important responsibilities: to protect the American public from toxic air pollutants. The New York Times recently reported on a new study from the agency's Inspector General which found that the EPA is currently violating federal law by failing to put these protections in place. Because of the EPA's failures to set vital clean air standards, millions of Americans still face appallingly high risks of cancer, birth defects and other devastating illness—all because of exposure to toxic air pollution that can and should be controlled.

This grim news does not result from an oversight or an accident. As the EPA recognized in its response to the report, the Bush administration intentionally cut the agency's budget for controlling toxic air emissions by 70 percent. Time was spent instead on reducing protections: a federal court observed in 2006 that the EPA under Bush was "devot[ing] substantial resources to discretionary rulemakings, many of which make existing regulations more congenial to industry, and several of which since have been found unlawful."

It is hardly surprising that when the Bush administration cut the budget for reducing toxic air emissions by more than half, the staff could not do their job. As a result, health protections that Congress required the EPA to issue years ago have never been put in place, the toxic pollution continues unabated, and people go on suffering unnecessarily. One key statistic on that suffering: the Inspector General reports that "1 in every 28,000 people could develop cancer from air toxics exposure."

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
06 July 2010, 2:21 PM
DC/East Coast residents will finally be able to take their breathing outside

Anyone who lives in Washington, D.C. and other smog-laden eastern regions may have kept their breathing indoors for the last few days as a result of the high pollution levels. Recent announcements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signal the agency is doing something about that.

In two moves toward cleaner air, the EPA first agreed to review hazardous air pollution rules for 28 industries—from pesticide production operations to pharmaceutical plants—and also proposed limits for interstate air pollution in 31 eastern states and Washington, D.C. The interstate rule is aimed to slash sulfur dioxide (linked to a number of adverse effects on the respiratory system) and nitrogen oxides (also very harmful to human health). EPA estimates that this rule would avoid annually an estimated 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma and 1.9 million days of missed school and work as a result of reactions to ozone and other air pollutants.

In other words, this is a big deal.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
06 July 2010, 9:55 AM
EPA to set emission standards for 28 polluting industries

In 1970, the Clean Air Act first took aim at toxic air emissions from industrial facilities across the United States. Forty years later, it finally hit a major target.

Actually, 28 major targets. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today agreed to review and update Clean Air Act rules that rein in emissions of nearly 200 hazardous air pollutants released by 28 kinds of industrial facilities.

All those numbers will translate to one important thing: fewer toxic pollutants in our air that are linked to cancer, birth defects, anemia, nervous system damage, lung and respiratory ailments, and other illnesses. The 28 categories of industrial facilities include pesticide production operations, pharmaceutical plants and lead smelters.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
28 June 2010, 12:33 PM
Port Arthur, TX residents continually exposed to toxic emissions
Hilton Kelley of Port Arthur, TX.

When Hilton Kelley of Port Arthur, Texas moved back to his hometown more than a decade ago, he didn't realize that he'd spend the ensuing years battling for clean air. And on a muggy Tuesday afternoon, he drove 90 miles west toward Houston to attend yet another EPA hearing to comment on air pollution rules.

Kelley, 49, lives in an area where there are 20 facilities, small and large, continuously pumping chemicals into the air.

"We have become the dumping ground for America's toxic waste," said Kelley. The Port Arthur community is comprised of residents that often times need two or three jobs to make ends meet, he said. "It's an area of least resistance."

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
24 June 2010, 12:03 PM
Coalition takes the fight to court

The state of Washington announced a deal with Canadian-based TransAlta Corp. last week to "clean up" pollution from mercury and oxides of nitrogen. But the plan is sorely lacking.

A coalition of faith, environmental and public health groups are working to see the TransAlta coal plant, the state's largest single pollution source, converted to cleaner fuels or shut down by 2015. Coalition members were not impressed by this sweetheart deal and have already taken their case to the courts.

TransAlta is by far Washington's largest emitter of neurotoxic mercury, and of the NOx pollution that contributes to haze over numerous national parks and wilderness areas in the Pacific Northwest.