Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Introducing Clean Air Watch

Dear friends,

Many of you may recall me from nearly a decade that I spent as executive director of Clean Air Trust. I want to update your address books and generally make you aware of a new organization – Clean Air Watch, which was officially incorporated as a non-profit this month.

I hope that we can be of service to you as some in Congress take dead aim at the Clean Air Act, while all of us try to puzzle out what’s really going in at the U.S. EPA and related government agencies. Please do not hesitate to e-mail or call if we can help. (We should have at least one additional phone line up and running within a few days. You can always reach me at 202-302-2065.)

Clean Air Watch intends to closely monitor clean-air and climate policy and to present a public-interest perspective. Those of you who know me also know this perspective will be grounded in fact and analysis, not just a lot of hot air. We hope to educate the public about the value of clean air (and related developments in science regarding air and climate), and to raise the alarm when miscreants attempt dirty deeds in the dark. (I don’t think any of us will be lacking material!)

By the sound of things, our early focus will be on helping mobilize the public against attempts in Congress to weaken the law. Of course, there will be another flurry of activity later this week as EPA designates areas out of compliance with fine-particle soot standards and the White House seeks a replacement for Mike Leavitt. Other likely fights ahead may involve efforts by oil and car companies to kill California’s greenhouse gas motor vehicle standards (and their adoption by other states), trucking company attempts to have taxpayers subsidize cleaner trucks, and the continued woeful enforcement of the law by the current EPA.

I should point out that our efforts are meant to complement those of our many friends, including (this is far from an inclusive list) NRDC, Sierra Club, US PIRG, Clear the Air, Clean Air Task Force, and Union of Concerned Scientists, all of whom have staffers who’ve privately told me they welcome our creation. We also aim to provide information to clean-air activists around the nation. (If we don’t have the answers you seek, we’ll be happy to try to find someone who does.) Volunteers from key states have already sought us out seeking to help.

Clean Air Watch has received start-up support from some philanthropists who have asked to remain in the background. It has received no corporate or business funding. We will be seeking members who care about the quality of the air we breathe.

We will be headquartered in Washington, D.C. and will have a web site up and running (http://www.cleanairwatch.org/) early in the new year. This (cleanairfrank@cleanairwatch.org) will be my primary e-mail address.

Many thanks for taking the time. I hope to hear from you soon.
--Frank O’Donnell, President, Clean Air Watch

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