Clean Air Watch

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Northeast States to EPA: Give Us Better Big-Rig Pollution Standards to Help Us Make Progress with Ozone

As you are all too well aware, despite EPA’s shockingly weak new ozone standard, the big polluter lobbies continue to rail. (As one corporate guy put it to me, “protocol dictates we bitch.”) And now there’s even talk of going to Congress to try for the umpteenth time to relax the Clean Air Act itself.  Well, the lobbyists do have to create work for themselves, I suppose. And don’t forget the various members of Congress who want those campaign contributions to keep on coming...

What I want to flag for you this morning is a positive opportunity to make further reductions in ozone: stronger emission standards for smog-forming nitrogen oxides from new big-rig trucks.  This is an excellent counter to the polluter arguments that nothing more can be done to reduce air pollution. 

The smog-riddled state of California has already identified better truck standards as a clean-up strategy and has begun pressing the US EPA to set better standards:

That call to action has now been amplified by Northeastern states in new comments to EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas standards for big trucks.   See at

As the Northeastern states put it:

EPA should address the potential for further NOx reductions at the earliest possible date.
Heavy-duty trucks represent the second largest source of NOx emissions in the NESCAUM region, and our states remain very concerned about the need to further control NOx emissions from this sector. We thank the agencies for acknowledging the challenge that states continue to face in this regard, and we urge EPA to begin a rulemaking without delay to ensure that the next generation of trucks is not only more fuel efficient but also much less of a contributor to states’ air quality and public health problems. 

So you might want to keep your eyes on this issue moving forward.  The ball would seem to be in EPA’s court.  

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Clean Air Watch Reaction to EPA Smog Decision

From our standpoint, disappointing is probably too mild a term.  The big polluters won this time, for the most part. 

EPA has taken a baby step, when what was really needed is a giant stride to protect people’s health from dirty air.  It is really a missed opportunity. 

EPA’s own analysis underscores that thousands of people will die prematurely because of this weak, polluter-friendly approach. Many others will be left vulnerable to asthma attacks, hospital emergency room visits and days missed from school and work.  Not the best outcome, to put it mildly.  

Indeed, EPA’s own science advisers warned that an ozone standard of 70 would be too weak .

No matter how the EPA tries to spin it, this is truly a blemish on the President’s environmental legacy.  

Despite this defeat, clean air defenders will now wearily trudge to Capitol Hill, with a deep sense of irony, to defend against any attempts by polluters to weaken the Clean Air Act.  Because the law itself is fine. What’s wrong here is its timid enforcement by people entrusted to carry it out faithfully.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

American Lung Assn. on VW: Recall those Dirty Cars and Demand Environmental Compensation

The American Lung Association has written the following letter about the Volkswagen cheater scandal to relevant federal and California authorities.  Clean Air Watch applauds the Lung Association's initiative and apologizes for any formatting glitches.

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.