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 Raviya Ismail's blog posts
24 June 2010, 9:19 AM
Industry complains of economic woes, Houstonians fear polluted air

Concerned Houston citizen Rosalie Guerrero recently visited a young mother who lives near a facility pumping chemicals in the air. The mother had given birth to a baby with half a brain. The baby suffered for 6 months before dying.

“I’d like to see how much that life costs,” said Rosalie, testifying at a U.S. EPA hearing in Houston on the detrimental effects of living near facilities that emit lead, mercury and cadmium in the air. “There is a cost associated with that.”

Advocates for clean air testified alongside industry representatives at hearings in Houston and Los Angeles Tuesday regarding recent EPA proposals to cut emissions of hazardous air pollutants like mercury and other toxic metals at nearly 100,000 facilities nationwide.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
23 June 2010, 3:02 PM
Clean air advocates tell EPA at public hearings to cut toxic emissions

Clean air advocates, many sporting "Don't Trash Our Lungs" t-shirts, spoke out yesterday at public hearings in Los Angeles and Houston for much-needed reductions in toxic air pollution. Held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the hearings focused on recent EPA proposals to cut emissions of hazardous air pollutants like mercury and other toxic metals at nearly 100,000 facilities nationwide.

While aspects of the EPA's proposals will result in significant benefits to public health if finalized, the agency also made an irresponsible and dangerous offering to industry in the form of a loophole that would allow many facilities to burn industrial wastes without any meaningful oversight or pollution controls.

I attended the L.A. hearing to ask that EPA issue final standards that are maximally strong and protective of public health and ditch the loophole that endangers communities across the country. Hundreds of Earthjustice supporters in the L.A. area, which is notorious for its poor air quality, also submitted comments asking for the same, and I was able to read excerpts from many of these during my testimony.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
11 June 2010, 8:44 PM
Let’s turn this bad action-adventure plot around
Have we been cast as extras in a fossil fuels end-of-days flick?

Is it just me? Or did this week's oil and gas news have a doomsday quality to it?

On Monday we had not one, not two, but three industrial gas disasters: a natural gas pipeline in Texas exploded, killing one worker, injuring several others and sending up a geyser of flame visible for miles around; a fireball and explosion burned seven workers drilling for natural gas in West Virginia; and authorities shut down activities at a Pennsylvania gas drilling site after a plume of toxic wastewater shot 75 feet into the air from a ruptured gas well, raining chemicals down on the site for 16 straight hours.

All of this as BP kept churning out an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico and investigations continued into the Massey mine disaster in West Virginia that killed 29 miners.

Looking around at this fossil fuels end-of-days drama unfolding around us, I can't help but feel like we've all been cast as extras in some scary action-adventure movie.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
11 June 2010, 4:32 PM
Hazardous waste exemption, oil dispersants, BP goes Orwellian

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

This week, Earthjustice scored a big victory for our lungs with the announcement that the EPA is finally abandoning a dangerous rule—granted by the Bush administration—that would permit the unregulated burning of hazardous waste.

BP's latest effort to clean up its soiled image took it into even murkier waters after the oil giant recently began buying search terms like "oil spill" on Google and Yahoo search engines so that the company's official web site would be the first link to appear on a search page.

Amidst a vote on Sen. Murkowski's (R-AK) resolution to bail out big polluters, Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen called on the Senate to put aside partisan politics and protect the American people by voting against this bill. Thankfully, the Senate has voted 53-47 against the bill.

Campaign manager Brian Smith reported on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's recent announcement of a memorandum of understanding to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, which has the goal of tapping into the estimated 1 million megawatts of potential wind power that exists off the east coast.

Earthjustice was curious to know just what's in all of those chemical dispersants that we're dropping into the Gulf of Mexico by the millions of gallons, so we filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get more information. Here's what we found (hint: it's not good).

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
09 June 2010, 1:29 PM
Vote down Sen. Murkowski's resolution to bail out big polluters
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Yesterday the White House took a firm stand against an effort to undermine the 40-year-old Clean Air Act, reverse a Supreme Court decision, and block the federal fuel efficiency standards that were finalized this past spring, which will reduce the nation's consumption of oil by at least 455 million barrels.
 
The effort at hand is a seldom-used congressional "Resolution of Disapproval" by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), on the Senate floor for a vote tomorrow, June 10. The resolution, which was influenced by oil- and polluter-industry lobbyists, is at the center of a fury of political positioning and partisan politicking. Its purpose is to block the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases, authorized by the Clean Air Act and reaffirmed by the 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA Supreme Court decision.
 
In an official statement yesterday, the White House threatened to veto the resolution if it is passed by the Senate tomorrow. Meanwhile, Sen. Murkowski and her Republican allies held a press conference to solicit public attention and support for this vote. The rest of the Senate and, more importantly, the public, should see through their smoke-and-mirrors routine. After all, the connection between reducing our national dependence on oil and controlling fossil fuel pollution are two sides of the same coin.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
02 June 2010, 12:23 PM
Gulf oil spill finally brings out heartfelt sentiments and promises

For the first time since oil started flooding the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama has shown passion and vision about where this unfolding tragedy should lead us -- to end our national addiction to oil and other forms of carbon-based energy.

"The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century," the president vowed today in a speech clearly aimed at a rising chorus of critics who, like us, wonder why the president has been so inspirationally absent on what may be this nation's worst environmental disaster. Last Friday, while standing amid the oily carnage on a Louisiana beach, Obama did little more than pluck a tar ball from the sand and show it to the press. What a letdown. What a missed opportunity.

Today was better.

In a speech on economics at Canegie Mellon University, President Obama steered straight to the oil spill and said it exemplified what we must leave behind on our way to a clean energy future. "I will make the case for a clean-energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done. But we will get this done," he said. He gave a string of assurances and promises about how he will shape that future, among them these:

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
02 June 2010, 11:36 AM
Residents of Mossville, La. speak out in debut of a new CNN investigation
Aerial view of a chemical plant in Louisiana.

Breathing isn't a choice. Everyone does it, no matter where they live. But for many Americans, where they live has a tremendous impact on the quality of the air they breathe.

Take a look at Mossville, Louisiana for instance, which is home to 14 chemical plants. The town's residents are plagued by severe health problems like cancer and kidney disease attributed to pollution from these local facilities.

Tonight at 8 PM ET/PT, CNN will profile the toxic plight of Mossville and its residents in "Toxic Towns USA," which is part of a two-night special investigation called "Toxic America" that culminates a "year-long, stunning look into toxic chemicals, health and the environment," according to the network. The investigation will continue tomorrow night with "Toxic Childhood" at 8PM ET/PT.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
01 June 2010, 3:45 PM
What in the world is going on?

While the federal government launches a criminal investigation into the cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, some in the Senate are still making designs for a big polluter bailout.

On Friday, 13 leading environmental officials joined the ranks of the many who have protested this effort in Senate, which was put forth in a proposal by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) months ago and will come to a Senate vote on June 10.

Her proposed legislation would keep us hooked on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels, and protect the oil and coal industries from having to clean up their pollution, by removing the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate global warming-causing greenhouse gases. The EPA has this authority by way of the Clean Air Act, one of our nation's most effective and successful environmental laws, and the Supreme Court's 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling.

In a letter to Senate leaders, the bipartisan group of state environmental agency heads and leaders from both coasts and parts in between defends the 40-year-old Clean Air Act, and argues that any reversal or delay of the EPA's science-based findings on the threat of global warming would be unacceptable.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 May 2010, 3:27 PM
Life-saving Clean Air Act protections are not bargaining chips

Last week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) released a long-awaited discussion draft of their climate and energy bill, the American Power Act. Among the bill's big giveaways to polluters was a surprise invitation to exempt dirty old power plants from clean-up requirements for soot, smog, and toxics such as mercury.

To be clear, this attack on the Clean Air Act goes well beyond controversial waivers of EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases. It undercuts safeguards that are slated to save tens of thousands of lives every year. This sweetener for coal plants is poisonous for Americans.

Every year, soot from coal plants kills an estimated 24,000 people and causes hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma and other serious illnesses, especially in children. The vast majority of this suffering, including 90 percent of premature deaths, is preventable with the installation of available, cost-effective pollution controls. However, power companies have managed, often illegally, to keep running dirty coal plants for maximum profit.

Finally, after years of court battles to enforce the Clean Air Act, we are on the verge of a solution. The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to set protective standards that would force long overdue clean-ups. By 2020, EPA estimates that emission reductions from effective implementation of the Clean Air Act will save us $1.2 trillion per year in mortality costs alone.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
30 April 2010, 10:04 AM
New EPA rules will cut air toxics, but a loophole leaves some vulnerable
Solid waste incinerator. Photo: EPA.

Americans can breathe a sigh of relief today, thanks to new rules announced by the Environmental Protection Agency that will reduce toxic air pollution in communities across the country. The rules come three years after Earthjustice and others stopped the Bush administration from deregulating toxic emissions from industrial boilers, incinerators, and process heaters.

These sources may sound obscure, but consider that highly polluting materials like coal, discarded tires, used chemicals and other industrial wastes are burned in boilers and solid waste incinerators at hundreds of thousands of facilities in the U.S. Chances are, you or someone you know lives, works, or commutes by one of these facilities, perhaps without even knowing it.

Cancer, reproductive disorders, birth defects and other serious health problems can be caused by the toxic air pollutants from these sources. Now, many of these facilities will be subject to strong pollution controls.

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