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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guest Post: A Response from the Authors of Struggling for Air

[Editor's note: We recently published a critique of the book Struggling for Air by two key staff authors of the 1970 Clean Air Act: Billings-Jorling letter . We are pleased today to publish a response, below, by the book's authors. We would encourage you to read the book -- and the subsequent correspondence.]

September 13, 2016

Dear Mr. Billings and Mr. Jorling,

We were very sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with Struggling for Air, as we are great admirers of your work and of the major public health victories you made possible. While we respect your opinions, we do feel that several of your criticisms are the result of misunderstandings regarding the content and intent of our book.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Guest Post: Setting the Record Straight on the Clean Air Act



AN OPEN LETTER TO RICHARD REVESZ AND JACK LIENKE
--by Leon G. Billings and Thomas C. Jorling

[Editor's note: a recent book by two academics, Struggling for Air, was critical of the content and process associated with the writing of the 1970 Clean Air Act.  The book has prompted the following open letter by two people intimately involved with the law's drafting.  I should note that I worked for Mr. Billings for about a decade, some years after his federal service.  He has never received sufficient credit for his service -- or for a law that has produced such dramatic success. (If it's so bad, why are the big polluters always trying to change it? See Dirty-AirBnB.)  But let the letter below speak for itself.]

Earlier this year, in a book entitled, Struggling for Air, the authors to whom this letter is addressed included observations, conclusions and innuendo that misrepresented the actions, questioned the motives and insulted the authors of the Clean Air Act of 1970. 
Their allegations appear to be based on publications by academics who were not involved in the legislative process and had no access to the debates which shaped the Clean Air Act.  The fundamental premise of Struggling for Air, that there was a “grandfather clause” in the law, has no basis in fact.  It is simply false. 
 As the principal staff authors of the 1970 Act, we believe it important to respond to set the record straight and to properly present the actions of the great men who we served.  Please feel free to share this and to respond.  Leon was the staff director for Senator Edmund S. Muskie from 1966-1978 and Tom was Minority Counsel for Senator John Sherman Cooper from 1968-1972. [Note: Jorling was later New York State Environmental Commissioner under Governor Mario Cuomo.] 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Is the Dirty-AirBnB Crew Trying to Stage a CASAC Coup?

Recently, we reported on Dirty-AirBnB, an effort by key lobbyists and polluters such as Koch and ExxonMobil to block new smog standards and weaken the Clean Air Act through campaign contributions to a Texas congressman. bit.ly/2asMtxD

Now some of those key players seem to be shifting their offensive to a different battlefield -- this time in concert with a controversial Texas scientist. In an excellent story you might have missed, Greenwire on Friday noted the "rare" campaign to place an industry-friendly state scientist on a key EPA clean air panel.

The scientist, Michael Honeycutt, is the chief toxicologist with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  He has been a fierce critic of tougher public health standards for ozone, or smog.  http://bit.ly/2bNgZlN   In the process, he has become a darling for the oil and gas industries.

And now the love is really starting to show!

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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.