Clean Air Watch

Latest from the Clean Air Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Professor Tribe, the Polluters' Hired Gun, Once Called Justice Sotomayor a "Bully" and Questioned her Intelligence!

As the Supreme Court considers the various cases in which Harvard Professor Tribe represents some of the planet's most vile polluters, it is remarkable to note that "Larry" once told President Obama that Justice Sotomayor is a "bully" and "not as smart as she seems to think she is."

I am sure she will rise above such petty comments while considering the arguments of The Professor's clients.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Peabody Hired Gun Laurence Tribe also Working for Coal Giant to Kill Life-Saving Mercury/Toxic Standards

Of course, there has been much written in the past week and earlier about Harvard Prof. Laurence Tribe’s attack on the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Working as a hired gun for Peabody Energy Co., Tribe used a lot of highfaluting arguments involving the Constitution. (As you may know, some of the other expert Harvard profs. have refuted him.)

Perhaps less known is that Professor Tribe also represented Peabody in a case being argued tomorrow before the Supreme Court – an attempt to kill EPA’s life-saving mercury/toxic pollution standards for power plants. See below the cover sheet of his “amicus” brief, in which, by the way, he does not invoke highfaluting constitutional arguments. This looks like a pure Have Gun, Will Travel type of thing.

Tribe has disclosed this activity, as well as his ongoing work for two other notorious polluter lobbies, the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers.

In reading through his fairly extensive client list, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Harvard isn’t paying the professor enough. Perhaps we could convince Harvard to pay him more – and spend more time working with students rather than big polluter groups?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Quick Thoughts About NAM's Hyperbolic Report on Smog

I know few of us are thinking about smog on a day like this. But I see that the good people of NAM are – out with yet another hyperbolic report about the alleged impact of cleaning up the air.

Here are a couple of very quick thoughts to put these scare tactics into perspective:

As you can see, NAM has produced a very florid map purporting to show areas of the country that would be out of compliance with an ozone standard of 65 parts per billion, down from the current level of 75. (As I am sure you know, this is the most extreme outcome of EPA’s proposal, which was a range of 65-70).

But this map appears to be based on old information – data from 2011-2013. It apparently does not factor in one basic reality – that the air will be cleaner a decade from now than it is today because of various in-the-works pollution controls such as the Tier 3 clean-car, clean-gasoline standards.

EPA’s own projections conclude that outside California, only 9 counties in the entire country would be out of compliance with a standard of 70 in 2025, and that an additional 59 counties would fall short of a 65 standard.

By the way, I believe many if not most of these counties would meet a standard of 65 if EPA adopted tougher standards to reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxides from new big-rig trucks. California is looking at exactly such a strategy. (Parts of California might not have to meet a new standard until as late as 2037.)

Another huge flaw in NAM’s logic: the business lobby contends that tougher air quality standards equate to “no growth.” All you have to do refute this notion is look at the facts:

IF NAM were correct, there would be “no growth” today in current dirty-air areas such as Texas and California. I offer for your consideration the most recent data on economic growth from the U.S. Department of Commerce Growth was very high in such “nonattainment” states as Texas – and was pretty strong even in California!!

Perhaps NAM has decided to appropriate a line from Groucho Marx: “Are you going to believe me, or what you see with your own eyes?”

Clean Air Watch in the News

Learn more about the Clean Air Act

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.