Clean Air Watch

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Guest Post: Alternative Energy Vehicles and the Environment

[Clean Air Watch periodically accepts guest posts to this space. The attached piece from Nik Donovic -- which highlights the benefits of hybrid vehicles -- struck a particular cord. We hope you find it interesting.]

It’s not tough to make an argument on why alternative fuel vehicles are the right choice for the environment and the American people. Choosing the right car can help in reducing your carbon footprint, as well as serve to cut down on our reliance of foreign petroleum. Hybrid cars are a good middle ground if you are not fully ready to purchase an electric car. Hybrids run on two fuels or energy sources – the traditional gasoline engine, and an alternative fuel source such as hydrogen-run motors or an electric engine. Hybrids produce 80% less harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases, making them a great alternative for breathing cleaner air.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Threat for clean air: Congressional spending panels take dead aim at ozone and other big clean air and water standards

I know many of you inside the Beltway are aware of today’s developments, but I do want to put out this alert for those outside the Beltway.  And for those of you inside, please take note: this isn’t just the run-of-the mill hearing or bill introduction.  This is a real threat to clean air.

Clean air protections are under a real cloud because of back-door attacks in both House and Senate appropriation legislation.  Today the House appropriations panel, on a party-line vote, endorsed a spending bill with a series of amendments, or “riders” that would block key environmental safeguards.  Among those was an amendment offered by West Virginia Republican Rep. Evan Jenkins, which would prohibit the EPA from tightening the smog standards until at least 85 percent of counties are able to meet the existing standard of 75 parts per billion.  It may sound innocuous, but this is a despicable ploy to block tougher smog standards.  In effect, it would deny all Americans the right to breathe safe air until the most polluted cities like Los Angeles and Houston have clean air – something that could take many years.

Later today, a Senate spending panel also endorsed a delay in the smog standards.  These lawmakers appear to be trying to set up a game of chicken with the President.  Could there be another government shutdown over this festival of dirty air and water amendments?  Or will they ask the President to negotiate – to choose which of his environmental priorities to salvage, and which to write off?  Stay tuned.

We expect more trouble tomorrow from newly elected Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) who says he will release a letter from other doctors calling for retaining the current standard.  To contrast with this, I comment to your attention recent letters from 1,000 medical professionals and from major health and medical groups, all of which called for tougher standards to provide better health protection. Here are links:




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Guest Post: Tesla’s Powerwall – Fueling a Cleaner Future?

[Periodically we publish guest posts that we believe are of general interest.  The item below is from Beth Kelly]:

Affordable solar power has been a dream of the environmental movement for years. The digital revolution—which has seen computing become remarkably smaller, faster, and cheaper with each passing year—had, until now, outpaced all other industries in terms of dramatic breakthroughs. But with solar technology progressing at the rate it is today, some believe that the clean tech industry is less than 20 years away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.

Of course, the world’s energy needs will keep increasing, so these estimates are something of a moving target. But several factors are spurring a wider accessibility of solar power, coming together to deliver cost-effective solar energy solutions to ordinary, everyday people. Elon Musk, the bold multi-hyphenate entrepreneur who has already made his mark in the e-payment and space exploration industries, is also devoting a large percentage of attention to the business of “renewables” and clean power. His grand visions of a new world of energy have brought a new battery storage unit out of the shadows of developmental research and into the wider consumer landscape.

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The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation's air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. The last major change in the law, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, was enacted by Congress in 1990. Legislation passed since then has made several minor changes.