Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Industry apologist Joe Lieberman does it again! Suggests "breather" for big polluters

You’ve got to hand it to Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman: he isn’t shy about apologizing for the biggest and most vile polluters.

Think back. It seems like only yesterday Lieberman was describing lobbyists for BP and other big oil companies as “our new friends.” http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2010/05/joe-lieberman-and-his-new-friends-at-bp.html

You may recall the context. Lieberman and cohorts John Kerry and Lindsey Graham were meeting with these oily friends in an effort to promote more offshore oil drilling in what someone called a “grand” bargain (grand for the big polluters) – the vain hope that the oil lobbyists would persuade oil-patch senators to vote for a cap on carbon emissions.

Several weeks later, the Deepwater Horizon Disaster sank that plan.

Oblivious to reality, Lieberman is at is again: This time apologizing for his pals in the dirty electric power industry, who are angling to kill or delay vital EPA clean-air requirements as the price of agreeing to a weak climate bill.

Yesterday Lieberman – who with Kerry may have worn out the knee area of his suits kissing so many sooty industry rings -- made the bizarre and most ironic assertion that the polluters “just want a breather” from clean-air standards.

"That's a tough one. They frame it in a different way. They just want a breather. And not an eternal pre-emption. These are all topics of negotiation. That's what we're supposed to be doing here."

I want to praise my friends with the Center for American Progress for taking Lieberman to task:

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/07/20/lieberman-pollution-breather/

But why does this apologist for dirty industries get such a pass from the rest of the media?

Isn’t it about time for Lieberman to apologize to breathers for his behavior?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Clean Air Watch Smog Watch Survey: Dirty air this year in 40 states, plus DC

The Clean Air Watch Smog Watch Survey has found that no fewer than 40 states plus the District of Columbia have recorded unhealthful levels of smog (technically ozone) this year, through June.

That compares to 35 states plus DC in 2009. See the list of states below.

The survey, conducted by Clean Air Watch volunteers, is based on information taken from state-run web sites. It is the only contemporaneous nationwide snapshot of dirty air in America.

Overall, 2010 has seen almost the same number of overall smog days (the total number of recorded readings of unhealthful air at monitors) as in 2009 -- 1,146 compared to 1,122 last year.

It should be pointed out that these numbers understate the actual extent of the ozone problem. These only count monitors with ozone levels at or worse than 75 parts per billion -- the standard set by EPA in 2008. EPA has proposed setting a tougher standard, based on recent science, and is on schedule to make that final by the end of August 2010.

SMOG 2010 SUMMARY – THROUGH JUNE, COMPARED TO 2009


STATES WITH RECORDED UNHEALTHFUL LEVELS OF OZONE


2010 (40, plus DC)

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
DC
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


2009 (35 plus DC)

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
DC
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin


TOTAL SMOG DAYS


2010

1,146

2009

1,122

Friday, July 02, 2010

EPA scientists call for much tougher air standard to limit fine particle soot

This is not the sort of information best made public at the start of a holiday weekend, but here it is:

EPA’s professional staff has concluded that national air pollution standards for fine particle soot must be made considerably tougher.

The EPA “policy assessment” was posted on the Internet a short while ago at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/s_pm_2007_pa.html

Here is a key passage from the executive summary:

Primary standards for fine particles (Chapter 2):

In assessing the adequacy of the current suite of annual and 24-hour PM2.5 standards meant to protect public health against long- and short-term exposures to fineparticles, staff concludes that the currently available information clearly calls into question the adequacy of the current standards and that consideration should be given to revising the suite of standards to provide increased public health protection. In considering alternative PM2.5 standards, staff concludes that protection from both long and short-term PM2.5 exposures can most effectively and efficiently be provided by relying primarily on the annual standard, with the 24-hour standard providing supplemental protection for days with high peak concentrations. On this basis, staff concludes that consideration should be given to alternative annual PM2.5 standard levels in the range of 13 to 11 μg/m3, in conjunction with retaining the current 24-hour PM2.5 standard level of 35 μg/m3, and that consideration could also be given to an alternative 24-hour PM2.5 standard level of 30 μg/m3 particularly in conjunction with an annual standard level of 11 μg/m3.


This is a very significant development. You will recall that the Bush EPA rejected the advice of agency science experts and kept the all-important annual standard at a level of 15 (compared to the levels of 11-13 recommended by EPA’s staff now).

The EPA lost a lawsuit over those inadequate standards and is now working on a likely revision next year. This policy assessment is meant as a guide to help the EPA higher-ups distill the copious information.

Should EPA follow the advice of its own experts, it means we will need much tougher controls on the biggest sources of fine particle soot, including coal-burning electric power plants and the millions of dirty diesel engines still in service.