Clean Air Watch

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Guest Post: Why Clean Energy Matters More Now Than Ever

(Clean Air Watch is pleased to present this timely guest post by Gemma Hunt)

During the election campaign process, President-elect Donald Trump was very vocal about his desire to repel many of the clean energy policies put in place by President Obama. He has threatened to abolish the Clean Power Plan, completely remove all federal funding for clean energy schemes and solutions, and opening up large areas previously unopened to them for oil, coal and gas markets. This will put significant pressure on individual states to continue to fund green energy schemes, block the arrival of big energy companies in their territories, and continue to fulfil the vision of the Clean Power Plan independently. This is something that many states will have neither the desire nor the budget to do, and is the reason why an individual commitment to the use of clean energy matters now more than ever.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GUILTY! Volkswagen Pays Massive Fine in Cheater Scandal; Company Officials Indicted

[from the U.S. Department of Justice]

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Volkswagen AG Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.3 Billion in Criminal and Civil Penalties; Six Volkswagen Executives and Employees are Indicted in Connection with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests

VW to Pay $2.8 Billion Criminal Fine in Guilty Plea and $1.5 Billion Settlement of Civil Environmental, Customs and Financial Violations; Monitor to Be Appointed to Oversee the Parent Company 
Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts and pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty as a result of the company’s long-running scheme to sell approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. by using a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and lying and obstructing justice to further the scheme, the Justice Department announced today.
In separate civil resolutions of environmental, customs and financial claims, VW has agreed to pay $1.5 billion. This includes EPA’s claim for civil penalties against VW in connection with VW’s importation and sale of these cars, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims for customs fraud. In addition, the EPA agreement requires injunctive relief to prevent future violations. The agreements also resolve alleged violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

EPA Takes First (Cautious) Step to Crack Down on Smog from Big Trucks

The U.S. EPA today took a cautious first step to crack down on smog-forming emissions from big trucks.

The agency responded to a petition from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and a number of other state and local governments that have identified big diesel trucks as a major source of ozone-forming emissions.  These states and localities are begging EPA to set tougher standards to limit smog-forming nitrogen oxides emissions from new big trucks.

Here is EPA's notice and a little background EPA takes step to deal with big truck smog .

We applaud the EPA’s decision to move forward, and we encourage the new Trump administration to embrace this initiative as its own.  We have read comments from both the President-elect and his choice to head the EPA saying they want to focus on efforts to provide clean air.

Tougher truck pollution standards would do exactly that.  They would bring cleaner air and better health nationwide. Fewer NOx emissions would not only mean less smog but less fine-particle soot.  So, fewer asthma attacks, less premature death.

Big trucks are among the largest under-controlled sources of smog.  The EPA last set truck pollution standards when Bill Clinton was President. So it has literally been 16 years since standards have been tightened and technology has improved since then. 

We think an update of truck pollution standards is long overdue, particularly since big diesel trucks remain an important source of ozone.  As you probably know, some industries and states have complained about tougher national ozone air quality standards set last year.  New truck standards would be an important tool to help states either meet or make real progress towards meeting those critical health standards. 

It is regrettable that state and local governments had to push the EPA to do something it should have already done. 

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.