Clean Air Watch

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guest Post: Ontario's Ambitious Plan to Conquer Climate Change

Periodically Clean Air Watch accepts guest posts that we think are of general interest.  Today's post on climate change is by Beth Laurel.
On June 8th, Ontario formally announced the release of its ambitious new plan for long-term environmental sustainability. The Climate Change Action Plan, which builds upon efforts put into motion earlier this spring via legislation known as the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act, aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution while helping businesses and families in the province make the shift towards a low-carbon economy. 

Though the case has been (convincingly) made time and again that actions mitigating climate change are by far less expensive than options adapting to the impact, politicians continue to trend towards short-sighted solutions. The substantive policy programs enacted by Premier of Ontario and her colleagues encourage hope that Ontario’s “landmark” leap will drive other Canadian provinces and world nations to take action to strengthen the environment for the future.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Quick Update: House Panel Approves Polluter Plan to Radically Weaken Clean Air Act

A quick update to our most recent post:

Today, in a party-line vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation that would radically weaken the Clean Air Act in order to save money for the oil industry and other polluters.  It was painful to watch this live.

Among other things, this bill, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) would:

--Demand that the federal government mislead the public about dangerous air pollution.
--Overturn a Supreme Court ruling -- unanimous and written by Scalia, no less! -- which held that national air quality standards should be based only on health science, not cost or "feasibility."
--Grant amnesty to new sources of pollution (how do you spell "fracking") in polluted areas.
--Subject the breathing public to added years of dirty air.
--Ignore public health protect from dirty air when the air is "stagnant."
--Delay scientific reviews of existing air pollution standards.

To sum it up: the oil industry and other big polluters are trying to pay Congress off to get industry off the hook and relieve it of the responsibility of cleaning up. And industry wants to take away the public's right to know if the air is actually clean -- or not.

The legislation is expected next to head to the full House of Representatives, where it likely will be rammed through as it was here.  Anyone at the White House ready to talk veto yet?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Olson Thanks Koch for Advice and Support on Smoggy Skies Bill


[Of course, this is a spoof, but…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) publicly thanked Koch Industries for its advice and generous financial support as the House Energy and Power subcommittee acted to move his bill H.R. 4775, The Smoggy Skies Act, to the next step in the legislative process.

The bill would permanently undermine the Clean Air Act as a public health law in the interest of saving money for the financially strapped oil industry and other corporate contributors.

Among many other things, the bill would demand that the federal government lie to the public about when dirty air is dangerous.  It would reverse a landmark Supreme Court decision. And it would legalize dirty-air days when the air is “stagnant.”

“My lobbyist friends were VERY clever in writing this up,” Olson observed. “Particular thanks go to my benefactors at Koch Industries and their guiding lobbyists. Koch has not only given me a generous stipend of $5,000 so far this election cycle, it has sprinkled an additional $79,500 this cycle among other Republican members of the subcommittee who voted for this legislation. I assure those few colleagues of mine left out that you will be taken care of.”

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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.