Posts tagged: Environmental Protection Agency

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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 David Guest's blog posts
16 February 2011, 2:38 PM
Rep. Rooney seeks to block EPA's water pollution limits

Florida Slime

From the Now We’ve Seen Everything Department (A large and busy department here in the Sunshine State):

Florida Republican Congressman Tom Rooney has introduced language into the federal budget bill to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing important new public health protections for Florida.

As you’ve read in this space before, the EPA’s new water pollution limits are designed to control the public health threat posed by the green slime that continually breaks out on Florida waterways. This horrid slime is fed by partially treated sewage, animal waste and fertilizer pollution. (Pictures here. ) Florida health authorities have had to close swimming areas and drinking water plants because of this toxic algae. The algae outbreaks can cause breathing problems, sores, rashes, illness, and even death.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
16 February 2011, 12:10 PM
Americans overwhelmingly want the clean air that Congress is trying to take away

Many of our elected representatives in Congress just aren’t working for the will of the people. Right now, in direct opposition to the opinion of a large majority of Americans, these members of our government are putting in overtime to roll back important limits on air pollution coming from some of the worst industrial polluters in the nation.

They seek to block implementation of health protections that will reduce emissions of mercury, lead, cancer-causing dioxins, soot and other harmful air pollutants, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars in the process. (And that’s not all they’re up to—these efforts to kill clean air protections are part of a widespread campaign in Congress to kneecap environmental protections generally. See here and here.)

Americans overwhelmingly want air pollution protections for their health and the health of their children. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. voters “feel that Congress should not stop the EPA from updating Clean Air Act standards.” This according to poll results released today by the American Lung Association, conducted collaboratively by Democratic and Republican polling firms. These bipartisan pollsters wrote:

View Marty Hayden's blog posts
16 February 2011, 10:38 AM
Amendments to funding bill target everything from wolves to water to health
Wolves are on the congressional hit list

House Republicans are using the oft-repeated refrain of “fiscal restraint” as their excuse for gutting several environmental initiatives that will put the public in harm’s way. But there simply is no excuse for hacking away at health protections that will leave our air and water dirtier and our children and seniors at risk.  It’s not hard to see their real agenda. In many cases their proposals are clearly designed to make it easier for some of America’s biggest polluters to dump their pollution on us rather than pay to dispose of it responsibly. 

House GOP’s Public Enemy Number 1: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The spending legislation introduced this week slashes the EPA budget by $3 billion and blocks the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. And in a symbolic dig against the White House, the bill also stymies President Barack Obama from replacing departing lead White House climate and energy advisor Carol Browner.
 
The spending plan also tries to block the EPA from fully implementing the Clean Water Act, while effectively letting major polluters foul our water. This will jeopardize drinking water for 117 million Americans and could leave millions of  acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams and rivers without Clean Water Act protections from pollution. But it doesn’t stop there.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
16 February 2011, 7:53 AM
Theft of protections against toxic coal ash is on House agenda
Aerial view of coal spill in Kingston, Tennessee

The highwaymen of the 112th Congress are trying to take away the authority of the EPA and rob the will of the people on a variety of critical public health and environmental issues by attaching riders to the House budget bill (the Continuing Resolution). The spending legislation introduced by the House Appropriations Committee this week would not only slash billions of dollars from programs protecting public health by ensuring clean water and air, but it would also undo or block key environmental initiatives.

While belt-tightening is a necessity, the special interest giveaways and legislative earmarks protecting big polluters are no less than highway robbery. Their attempt to pillage vital health protections guaranteed by our federal environmental statutes threatens the quality of our air and water, and places our most vulnerable communities and citizens at great risk.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:53 PM
Legislative amendments target air, water, public lands and wildlife

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health. 

Not since the darkest days of the Bush administration have we seen such an onslaught on the environment—and the hits are still coming. By mid-day today (Tues., Feb. 15), the list has grown to include attacks on a number of endangered species, including wolves and salmon, and on the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep lethal pollutants out of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Some amendments are outright handouts to our nation’s worst polluters.

The spending bill will fund the government so that it can continue operating after March 4, but first the Senate must pass the bill. Today, Pres. Barack Obama warned that he would veto the bill as constructed.

The following is a list of the most harmful provisions and amendments proposed so far:

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:09 PM
Join the campaign for clean air

Do you think that all Americans have the right to clean air? Then sign the Right to Breathe Declaration!

The Clean Air Act—signed in 1970 by Pres. Nixon and improved upon in 1990 by George H.W. Bush—has benefitted millions of Americans in its 40-year history. Just last year, for example, clean air health protections helped save the lives of more than 160,000 Americans.

More work remains to be done. Some of the dirtiest industrial polluters, such as coal-fired power plants, aren’t currently subject to any limits on their emissions of mercury, lead, soot and other dangerous air pollutants. Americans deserve health protections against this toxic pollution. Show your support by signing the declaration. Here’s a short video on the Right to Breathe.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
14 February 2011, 5:30 PM
Five state AGs send letter urging support for cement plant health protections
Cement kiln near Midlothian, TX. Photo: Samantha Bornhorst

Attorneys general from five states—New York, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut—sent a letter today to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, urging a rejection of Rep. John Carter’s (R-TX) resolution to block health protections against cement plants’ toxic air pollution.

Led by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, the quintet—which for their action to defend Americans’ health should be considered as a worthy addition to the “Fab Five” list—correctly note that reducing cement plants’ emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants will save lives and lead to the creation of American jobs manufacturing, installing and maintaining pollution control equipment.

Most importantly, these health protections will save the lives of 2,500 Americans every year—by reducing emissions of particulate matter from the cement industry by 92 percent. Cement plants’ mercury emissions—the third largest of all U.S. industries—will also be reduced by 92 percent. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxicant that can impact a child’s ability to think and learn. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that more than 300,000 babies born every year may face a higher risk of developmental damage because of mercury exposure.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
11 February 2011, 4:45 PM
1,882 health pros demand clean air from Obama, House, Senate

This week, nearly 2,000 health and medical professionals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia told our elected representatives at the White House and in Congress to stand up for clean air. These professionals are intimately familiar with the impacts of air pollution on people—asthma, heart disease, stroke, cancer—especially such vulnerable groups as children and the elderly.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
10 February 2011, 5:30 PM
New study challenges marketing campaign
Rod Bremby

A study released today by MSB Energy Associates calls into question claims that the new Sunflower coal-fired power plant expansion near Holcomb, Kansas will be the “cleanest” in the country.

Among the report’s findings:
- 669 coal-fired power generating units have lower emissions of particulate (soot) air pollution
- 321 coal-fired units have lower emissions of mercury
- 53 emit lower rates of sulfur dioxide, and
- 18 emit lower rates of nitrogen oxides

These findings are based on a controversial air permit approved by the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment in December 2010.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
10 February 2011, 3:30 PM
The Clean Air Act, that's what

(Clean air is a life saver, which is why Earthjustice is working to ensure that polluters don’t stand in the way of safeguards against air pollution. Here’s a round up of some recent news in the ongoing campaign to protect our Right to Breathe.)

Use the #right2breathe hashtag on Twitter to track campaign updates.

EPA chief Lisa Jackson talks health on Capitol Hill
Tapped to testify on a bill that would shackle her agency and prevent it from doing its job to protect the American people, Lisa Jackson took an important message to Congress: Clean air saves lives and improves our health.

“Last year alone,” she said, “EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act saved more than 160,000 lives,” avoided 100,000 hospital visits and millions of respiratory illness cases, and kept Americans in work and at school. Clean air keeps us safe and healthy. Pro-polluter factions in Congress apparently think that isn’t a big deal, but I bet the 160,000 people whose lives were saved last year disagree.

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