Thursday, June 28, 2012

Federal highway department refutes industry claims that EPA standards routinely lead to bans on road construction

A follow up to our prior post is the fact sheet below, courtesy the federal highway administration.

It basically refutes the nonsense presented today at the House hearing on EPA's particle soot proposal.

Will my community lose highway funds if it doesn’t meet revised standards?

•No. This is a common misunderstanding. Violating a standard, or being designated as nonattainment for a standard, does not jeopardize a community’s highway funds. Withholding highway funds is an extraordinary measure that would only be considered if a states repeatedly failed to take actions required by the Clean Air Act.

More detail:

•The possibility of losing highway funds related to a nonattainment designation doesn’t come up until several years after a designation – if it comes up at all. There are three situations that may trigger possible highway funding sanctions:

o If EPA finds that a state has failed to submit a required clean air plan (a state implementation plan, or SIP) for a nonattainment area;
o If EPA disapproves a required SIP or revision; or
o EPA finds that a requirement of an approved SIP is not being implemented

•If EPA makes one these findings, the Clean Air Act gives states up to two years to correct deficiencies and avoid highway sanctions. Highway sanctions have rarely been imposed.
•For more information on highway sanctions:

EPA accused of "dishonesty"... but the facts tell a different story

EPA came under another polluter-shaped horsewhipping today in a House of Representatives hearing. The focus today was EPA's proposed new standards on fine particle soot.

Although attendance at the hearing was sparce (most of EPA's opponents were probably off somewhere watching misleading initial reports on CNN and Fox about the Supreme Court case and then wretching at the decision), EPA did come in for attack on its "honesty" about the soot standards.

Leading the attack was Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) who accused EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson of "misleading the American people."

Pretty strong words!

Yet Whitfield himself was caught recently misrepresenting the fateful (and unanimous) Supreme Court decision upholding EPA's process for setting national clean air standards

Aligned today with Whitfield was the testimony of Jeffrey Holmstead, former EPA assistant administrator and now a (justifiably) well-paid lobbyist for coal and coal-burning power companies.

Holmstead charged that

EPA is not being fully honest about the burden it will impose on state and local governments, companies and businesses, and American consumers.

He went on to assert that

Once an area is designated as nonattainment, there is essentially a ban on the construction of new industrial or manufacturing facilities in this area, and it becomes very difficult even to expand existing facilities. This happens immediately because of new permitting requirements.

It also becomes even more difficult to build new roads or other transportation projects in areas that are designated as “nonattainment.”

It would be kindly to call this charge an exaggeration. We have asked EPA if it has any actual historic data on construction "bans" or impediments to road building. I believe the facts will show that anything of this sort is rare, limited and short-lived.

We were also struck by the lack of attention Holmstead paid to health issues and resulting improvements to come from reducing particle soot pollution.

Boy did he tell a different tale when he was at EPA himself!

Of the many air pollutants regulated by EPA, fine particle pollution is perhaps the greatest threat to public health. Hundreds of studies in the peer-reviewed literature have found that these microscopic particles can reach the deepest regions of the lungs. Exposure to fine particles is associated with premature death, as well as asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and respiratory disease. Exposure is also associated with aggravation of heart and lung disease,leading to increased hospitalizations, emergency room and doctor visits, and use of medication.

Maybe, as in so many things, it depends on who is writing the check.

Business-friendly Ohio EPA chief admits states' attention to climate change was a factor in his dirty-air rebellion

As noted earlier Scott Nally, head of the Ohio state EPA (whose very name he tried and failed to change)is leading a rebellion of mainly coal states against the NACAA association ( ) that has long and successfully represented state and local air agencies in DC.

We wondered -- given Nally's ties to big coal polluters -- if NACAA's involvement in the climate change isssue was a factor in this dirty-air rebellion. Now there is evidence this is the case.

In a recent report in Congressional Quarterly (excerpted below), Nally cites the climate change issue as a prime reason he is leading this rebellion.

Well, a federal appeals court verified this week that climate change was indeed covered by the Clean Air Act. It eviscerated the arguments of the coal polluters. Does that mean Nally will back down -- or continue doing the bidding of big coal players such as American Electric Power?

** [from Congressional Quarterly]

A Huff Over Clean Air Split By Shawn Zeller», CQ Staff

The National Association of Clean Air Agencies, a trade group for state and local air quality agencies, faces an internal revolt over its Washington lobbying on environmental matters. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Nally says he plans to launch a group by this fall that will eschew lobbying to focus only on giving technical assistance to state and local agencies on how to comply with EPA rules.

Nally, whose state relies more than any other on coal-fired power plants, objects to lobbying stands that the clean air association has taken. For example, he points out its support for 2009 legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade program to combat climate change, and he says it’s not right for the group to take positions on which many of its members disagree...

Environmental groups, though, criticize Nally. “This reflects the broader national pattern of things breaking down on partisan lines,” says Frank O’Donnell, president of the environmental advocacy group Clean Air Watch. The association, he says, “is working to make something happen on climate change. In certain quarters, that’s considered heresy.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cruise ship lobby sneaks rider into House spending bill

This is the latest maneuver in a campaign by the cruise ship industry to evade clean fuel requirements for ships operating within 200 miles of the US coastline.

The US EPA previously has noted that the so-called "weighted averaging" scheme cooked up by the cruise industry would mean higher emissions and more public health damage. Please note this letter for a little background:

Here is the new gambit, buried deep within spending legislation for EPA and other agencies:

SEC. 440. (a) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with the Commandant of the Coast Guard, shall carry out a 48-month pilot project for the North American Emission Control Area under which—
(1) subject to paragraph (2), the owner or operator of a vessel opting into the pilot project is deemed to be in compliance with United States sulfur content fuel requirements if—

(A) the vessel meets requirements under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973/78 (MARPOL), Annex VI, Regulation 4; and (B) the Administrator determines that compliance with the requirements described in subparagraph (A) provides a degree of overall protection of the public health and welfare (based on fleet averaging, weighted averaging, weighted and unweighted emissions averaging calculations, and such other measures as determined appropriate by the Administrator) that is equivalent to the degree of such protection provided by compliance with United States sulfur content fuel requirements; and

(2) the owner or operator of a vessel opting into the pilot project continues to be subject to United States sulfur content fuel requirements while at berth or anchor.

(b) For purposes of evaluating the results of such pilot project, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall complete atmospheric modeling and actual ambient air testing to determine the environmental and economic effectiveness of United States sulfur contentfuel requirements, in combination with the requirements described in subsection (a)(1)(A), particularly as such effectiveness relates to Alaska and Hawaii.

(c) In this section:

(1) The term ‘‘North American Emission Control Area’’ means the North American Emission Control Area designated pursuant to the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

(2) The term ‘‘United States sulfur fuel requirements’’ means the requirements under Federal and State law applicable to the sulfur con content of the fuel used for operation of the vessel.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Clean Air Watch Hails EPA Particle Soot Proposal

It’s Official! EPA has proposed tougher new particle soot standards. Materials available online at

Here’s what we think:
It is a very positive step to protect the breathing public from death and disease. We are very encouraged that EPA is proposing standards consistent with the advice of its science advisers.

Particle soot is by far the most lethal of widespread air pollutants.

Tougher EPA standards could prevent thousands of premature deaths a year. Breathers everywhere will benefit.

In addition to its preferred proposed range, EPA has agreed to take comments on an annual standard as tight as 11 micrograms per cubic meter. Health and environmental advocates will press for the tightest possible standard. More cleanup means better health.

EPA has flatly rejected the call by polluters and some in Congress to keep the current, scientifically deficient standards.

It is true that a number of programs already in the works – the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury/Toxics Rule for plants, the ocean-going ship standards, and others – will make a great deal of progress and will help many areas meet tougher standards.

But ALL of these cleanup programs are under attack – in Congress, in the Executive Branch and in the courts.

These programs do not eliminate the need for EPA to set national particle soot standards at a level to protect people’s health.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Study: Low-Sulfur Gas Would Mean NO Increase at the Pump, but Major Health and Economic Benefits

The release below came our way on the running battle over the need for cleaner, low-sulfur gasoline. The study described below is very important. It refutes the arguments against cleaner fuel made by Big Oil, and it also demolishes one of the key premises of House legislation that would, among other things, block the US EPA from moving forward with cleaner-gas standards.

ECTA Study Refutes Criticism of Tier 3 (Embargoed until 10:00am on June 14, 2012)

Washington, DC, June 14, 2012 – Reducing the sulfur content of gasoline will not increase the price at the pump, although it would decrease smog, generate billions of dollars in health and economic benefits, and create thousands of new jobs, concludes a new study by Drs. George Schink and Hal Singer from Navigant Economics. These findings are in stark contrast to the conclusions drawn in a study sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute.

Sponsored by the Emissions Control Technology Association (“ECTA”), the new study analyzes the economic and health implications of a pending plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline and tighten tail pipe emission standards, a plan known as “Tier 3.”

Sulfur is a contaminant in crude oil that impedes the emissions-reduction performance of catalytic converters. Lower sulfur gasoline not only enables cleaner new cars, but also makes every existing car on the road immediately less polluting.

Although producing lower sulfur gasoline would require equipment upgrades by oil refineries, the study concludes that the private cost of these upgrades for refiners will be de minimus at about one cent per gallon. More importantly, the authors conclude that these costs: (1) are unlikely to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher gas prices, and (2) will be outweighed by the social benefits of cleaner air and the economic benefits of increased output and job creation generated by the refinery upgrades. These are significant findings that challenge the critics of Tier 3.

The study uses standard econometric techniques to debunk the notion promoted by others that Tier 3 will lead to higher gas prices. To draw this conclusion, Drs. Schink and Singer examine the impact on gas prices of Tier 2 regulation, a prior EPA requirement to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline more dramatically. Although Tier 2 increased the estimated cost of refining by 2 cents per gallon, the study found that it had no impact on the retail price of gasoline. In light of this finding and the fact that the estimated private cost of Tier 3 is half the cost of Tier 2, the authors conclude that it is very unlikely that Tier 3 will result in higher gas prices.

The study uses an input-output model to refute the claim that Tier 3 will result in job loss. The authors conclude that the installation of refinery equipment to reduce sulfur will generate 24,500 jobs over three years and the operation of these facilities will employ 5,300 workers. In addition, these expenditures will generate over $6 billion in economic output and $1.5 billion annually in employee compensation.

These economic benefits are supplemented by health benefits estimated at $5-$6 billion annually by 2020 and $10-$11 billion annually by 2030.

The Navigant Economics study also evaluates two recent economic studies that try to project the refiner cost of low-sulfur gas: one by MathPro (sponsored by the International Council on Clean Transportation) and another by Baker & O’Brien (sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute). Based on a survey of companies engaged in sulfur-reduction projects at U.S. refineries, Drs. Schink and Singer conclude that the Baker & O’Brien study exaggerated the refiners’ costs compared to the range provided by survey respondents. When its capital costs were adjusted to conform to industry norms, the Baker & O’Brien model produced refinery cost increases that were not materially different from those of MathPro or the EPA, both of which have projected an increase in refining costs of about a penny a gallon.

The study is available at or

Media Relations Contacts: Tim Regan 202-737-8885

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A reader's guide to EPA particle soot standards: the sleeping giant of clean air issues

By late this week, the US EPA is expected, under a court order, to set forth proposed national clean air standards for fine particle soot.

This is the sleeping giant of clean air issues. EPA’s decision could frame the clean-air agenda for the next decade and possibly beyond. EPA’s own experts and the agency’s science advisers have concluded that the current standards are woefully inadequate. Tougher standards could drive the need for additional cleanup.

I thought this brief reader’s guide might be of some use in evaluating what EPA does.

First of all, why do we care about fine particle soot (known in the world of jargon as pm 2.5)?

Particle soot is without a doubt the most lethal of widespread air pollutants. Fine particle soot has been linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths year as well as lung disease, heart attacks, etc.

Here is a brief description, courtesy the U.S. EPA:
Health studies have shown a significant association between exposure to fine particles and premature mortality. Other important effects include aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease (as indicated by increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits, abscesses from school or work, and restricted activity days), lung disease, decreased lung function, asthma attacks, and certain cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmia. Individuals particularly sensitive to fine particle exposure include older adults, people with heart and lung disease, and children.

Where does particle soot come from?

Again, from the EPA:

Sources of fine particles include all types of combustion activities (motor vehicles, power plants, wood burning, etc.) and certain industrial processes. Particles with diameters between 2.5 and 10 micrometers are referred to as "coarse." Sources of coarse particles include crushing or grinding operations, and dust from paved or unpaved roads.
Hasn’t the EPA been dealing with this issue through other rules, such as its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule?

Yes, the cross-state air pollution rule is a tool to help states deal with pollution that blows in from other states and to help them meet air quality standards for smog and fine-particle soot. The key difference is that the air quality standard (known in the jargon as the NAAQS or National Ambient Air Quality Standard) limits atmospheric concentrations. It sets a health-based target for what legally constitutes healthful air. Rules such as cross-state are a means to achieve that end.

But please keep in mind that the cross-state rule is designed to achieve the existing air quality standard, which is not truly adequate to protect people’s health. A tougher new air quality standard could drive the need for additional cleanup. (The Clean Air Act requires the EPA periodically to review the medical science and update the air quality standards, as needed, to protect people’s health.)

What’s the brief history of the particle soot air standard?

In 2006, the Bush administration’s EPA disregarded the advice of EPA’s science advisers and failed to tighten the critical standard designed to limit annual exposure to fine-particle soot. (EPA then kept the standard, set in 1997, at 15 micrograms per cubic meter. See chart below. The sciences advisors had recommended a tighter standard.

In fact, the 2006 Bush plan was so scientifically deficient that the agency’s science advisers publicly scolded the agency – an unprecedented rebuke:

Thirteen states and several environmental groups challenged the 2006 standards as too weak, based on the medical science. In 2009, a federal appeals court agreed and ordered EPA to go back to the drawing board. The current air standard review is a product of that court decision.

EPA initially promised it would review recent science and issue a final decision in 2011. After months of EPA indecision, states led by New York filed suit to force a decision. The American Lung Association and National Parks Conservation Association filed a similar suit. A federal court eventually ordered EPA to sign a proposal by the end of this week and to issue a final standard by mid-December of this year.

What are EPA’s own experts and its science advisers recommending?

EPA’s experts have recommended a considerably tougher new standard to limit annual concentrations of fine particle soot in the air.

EPA’s final “policy assessment” was completed in April 2011.

Here are a few key excerpts:
…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.

Taking into account both evidence-based and risk-based considerations, staff concludes that consideration should be given to revising the current annual PM2.5 standard level of 15 μg/m3 to a level within the range of 13 to 11 μg/m3. Staff further concludes that the evidence most strongly supports consideration of an alternative annual standard level in the range of 12 to 11 μg/m3. In conjunction with consideration of an annual standard in the range of 12 to 11 μg/m3, staff concludes it is appropriate to consider retaining the current 24-hour PM2.5 standard level at 35 μg/m3. In conjunction with consideration of an annual standard level of 13 μg/m3, staff concludes there is limited support to consider revising the 24-hour PM2.5 standard level to somewhat below 35 μg/m3, such as down to 30 μg/m3.

…Based upon the currently available evidence, we conclude alternative annual standard levels in the range of 13 to 11 μg/m3 are appropriate to consider. We further conclude that the evidence most strongly supports consideration of an alternative annual standard level in the range of 12 to 11 μg/m3. An alternative level within the range of 12 to 11 μg/m3 would more fully take into consideration the available information from all long- and short-term PM2.5 exposure studies, including studies of susceptible populations, than would a higher level.

What about EPA’s independent science advisers?

The science advisers agree a tougher standard is needed. Here is their letter and some excerpts below:$File/EPA-CASAC-10-015-unsigned.pdf

CASAC supports the EPA staff’s conclusion in the Second Draft Policy Assessment that “currently available information clearly calls into question the adequacy of the current standards”. For PM2.5, the current 24-hour primary standard is 35 μg/m3 and the annual standard is 15 μg/m3. EPA staff also conclude that consideration should be given to alternative annual PM2.5 standard levels in the range of 13 – 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 in conjunction with an annual standard level of 11μg/m3.

What about the politics of this issue?

You may recall the flap over “farm dust.” The EPA is also reviewing standards for larger particles. Farm groups and their political sponsors alleged the EPA would regulate “farm dust” and threaten farmers. EPA chief Lisa Jackson was forced to publicly declare EPA would not seek to regulate “farm dust.”

Even so, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will press farm legislation amendments to block EPA.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Reps. Upton, Barton and Whitfield last week called on EPA to include consideration of keeping current standards. It is not hard to see the sooty hand of the coal-burning power industry in this letter:

What are the current standards for fine-particle soot?

There are currently two standards: one to limit annual concentrations, the other to limit 24-hour exposure.
PM2.5 primary and
secondary Annual 15 μg/m3 annual mean, averaged over 3 years
24-hour 35 μg/m3 98th percentile, averaged over 3 years

Monday, June 11, 2012

Which companies want to block the EPA from cleaning up power plant poisons in the air?

By next week, the United States Senate could vote on a resolution, spearheaded by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) that seeks to block the EPA from enforcing its new mercury/toxic pollution standards designed to clean up (mainly) coal-fired power plants.

Now, Senator Inhofe has some support in the form of a letter sent by the National Association of Manufacturers and signed by the companies listed below.

Now, we know some of those signing the letter (for example, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, American Electric Power and Peabody Energy) know full well what's going on. But do you think all these companies understand that the cleanup could prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths a year?


June 8, 2012

Dear Senator:

We write to urge you to support S. J. Res. 37 that would disapprove the Environmental Protection Agency's recently issued Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal-fueled power plants (also known as Utility MACT). We support responsible measures to improve air quality, and disapproving this rule does not prevent the EPA from reducing mercury emissions from power plants. Instead, passing S. J. Res. 37 would ensure the EPA writes a sensible regulation that reduces mercury without unnecessarily raising energy prices and destroying more jobs.

According to the EPA's own figures, MATS is the most expensive rule the agency has ever written for power plants and would cost a total of almost $90 billion. At a time when our economy, families and workers are struggling, we cannot afford higher energy prices and job losses. These higher energy prices are especially harmful to low-income and fixed-income families and to energy-intensive manufacturers that provide good paying jobs. In addition, many public officials and experts have expressed widespread concerns that electric reliability could be threatened because the new rule would force the premature retirement of many coal-fired power plants. So far, over 140 coal-fired electricity generating units in 19 states will be taken off-line by 2015. MATS is an overreaching rule and passing S.J. Res. 37 is necessary to ensure that the EPA writes a sensible regulation. We appreciate your attention and again urge you to vote for the resolution when it comes to the Senate floor.


AAON Coil Products, Inc. American Institute for International Steel
A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp. American Iron and Steel Institute
Able Electropolishing Company American Petroleum Institute ACI Building Systems Inc. American Shizuki Corporation ACMA Anthem Ventures
Acme Industries, Inc. Applied Process Inc. Ahresty Wilmington Corporation Arcadia Chair Company
Alcan Cable Arrow Adhesives Company
Alcohol Monitoring Systems Associated Industries of Missouri
Allied Plastics Co., Inc. Associated Oregon Industries
ALOM Association of American Railroads
Alpha Natural Resources Association of Equipment Manufacturers American Agri-Women Association of Washington Business American Chemistry Council Audio Authority Corporation
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity Available Plastics, Inc. American Electric Power Bannish Lumber, Inc.
American Forest & Paper Association Barge Forest Products Co. American Foundry Society Bedford Machine & Tool, Inc./ American Frozen Food Institute Bedford Recycling, Inc./

Bedford Metal Technologies, Inc. Greene, Tweed & Co., Inc. Belden Brick Company Heat Treating Services Corp. of Big River Zinc Corporation America
Billco Corporation Hem Inc.
Birmingham Rail and Locomotive HEMCO Industries, Inc. Blackhawk Molding Co., Inc. Henry Molded Products Business Council of Alabama Heppner Hardwoods, Inc.
Capital Resin Corporation Hercules Drawn Steel Corporation
Carolina Color Corp. Hermann Oak Leather
Case Systems, Inc. Hi-Lex
Caterpillar Inc. Hi-Tek Manufacturing Inc. Chemplex Automotive Group, Inc. Holland 1916 Inc.
Chemstar Products Company Hoosier Gasket Corporation
Clarkson Bank Hudson Extrusions, Inc.
Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) Illinois Manufacturers' Association Continental Heat Treating, Inc. Independent Bakers Association Cook Technologies, Inc. Indiana Cast Metals Association Core Pipe Products, Inc. Indiana Manufacturers Association CRT, Custom Products, Inc. Industrial Tool, Inc.
Custom-Pak Products, Inc. International Thermal Systems LLC Dart Container Corporation J.C. Steele & Sons, Inc.
Darwill Inc. James Machineworks LLC. Dasco Pro Inc. Jennison Industries
Dawn Food Products, Inc. Johnson Bros. Metal Forming Co.
Delta Power Co. Jost Chemical Co. deVan Sealants, Inc. Kansas Chamber
Devon Energy Corporation Kapstone Paper and Packaging
Dicksons Inc. Corp.
Dimensional Innovations Kelly-Moore Paint Co., Inc. DRT Mfg. Co. KFH Industries
Duro-Flex LLC Kiva Plastics, Inc.
East Tennessee Forest Products, Inc. Koller Enterprises, Inc. Eastman Chemical Company La Deau Mfg. Co, Inc. Eckel Manufacturing Co. Inc. Laser Processing
Elan Technology Inc. Lcra
Elektrisola Inc. LEECO Spring International
Empire Comfort Systems Legion Lighting Co., Inc. Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International Loxcreen
Fabritec, LLC LSB Industries, Inc.
Finishing and Plating Service Manufacturers Association of Florida
Formula Boats Marsh Industries, Inc. Foundry Association of Michigan Mastermolding Inc.
Fredon Corporation McGard
G & S Titanium Inc. Metalcasters of Minnesota Geokon Inc. Metals Service Center Institute GFS Chemicals, Inc. MFG
Gilpin Inc. Michigan Manufacturers Association
Gilson Inc. Midmark Corporation
Glas-Col, LLC Miller Welding & Machine Co. Graphic House Inc. Mississippi Lime Company Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce Mississippi Manufacturers Assn.

Mississippi Marine Corporation Rowmark LLC. Missouri Forest Products Association Rudd Company, Inc.
Molded Fiber Glass Companies Scarbrough International Ltd. Molded Fiber Glass Galileo Composites Schaeffler Group USA Inc.
Molded Fiber Glass South Dakota Scot Forge Company
Molded Fiber Glass Tray Company Searles Valley Minerals
Molded Fiberglass Alabama Seymour Manufacturing Co., Inc. Monadnock Paper Mills Inc. Sierra Forest Products
Morgantown Technical Services, Inc. Silbrico Corporation
Morgantown Technical Services/Swanson Industries Silverpines Developers
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association Smith Millwork, Inc. MP Global Products Solomon Colors, Inc.
National Federation of Independent Business Sonneborn
National Association of Manufacturers Southland Tube, Inc.
National Council of Textile Organizations Special Products & Mfg., Inc. National Electric Coil, Inc. Specialty Industries of St. Joseph, National Mining Association Inc.
National Oilseed Processors Association SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade
National Shooting Sports Foundation Association
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Spinnaker Coating, LLC
& Industry SSI Technologies, Inc. Nelsen Steel Company Statoil
Nelson Machining & Fabricating Inc. Steel Manufacturers Association
Nevada Manufacturers Assn. Sterling Machine Co. Inc.
Non-Ferrous Founders' Society Storey Sawmill and Lumber Co. inc. North Carolina Chamber Strongwell
Nucor Corporation Sturtevant Inc.
Ohio Cast Metals Association Sunnen Products Company
Ohio Chemistry Technology Council Swanson Industries
OMCO Holdings, Inc. Swanson Plating Company
O'Neal Steel, Inc. Synalloy Corporation
Oregon Cherry Growers, Inc. Templeton Coal Company, Inc. Oregon Women In Timber Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Owens-Illinois, Inc. & Industry
Peabody Energy Corporation Tennier Industries, Inc. Pennsylvania Foundry Association Texas Association of Business
Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Texas Cast Metals Association
Pete Lien & Sons Textile Rental Services Association
Plumb Supply Company The Adams Company
PneuDraulics, Inc. The Doe Run Company
PoolPak Technologies Corporation The Dupps Co.
Porta-King Building Systems The Fertilizer Institute Portland Cement Association The Ford Meter Box Co., Inc. PPG Industries The Ohio Manufacturers' Precision Machined Products Association Association
Pretzels, Inc. The State Chamber of Oklahoma
Ralph S. Alberts Company, Inc. The Stebbins Engineering and Reinke Irrigation Manufacturing Company Reliable Plating Corp The Stutz Company
Reyco Granning LLC Tiffin Metal Products Co. Riggs Industries, Inc.

Treated Wood Council
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
United Wood Treating Co. Inc. Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc.
USG Corporation Valv-Trol Co. Vermeer Corporation
Virginia Manufacturers Association
Vonco Products
Voss Industries, Inc. Vulcan, Inc.
Wellborn Cabinet Inc.
Western Gage Corporation
Western Towers
Westside Finishing Willmar Poultry Company Windy City Wire
Windy City Wire LLC
Wisconsin Cast Metals Association
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
Wold Oil Properties, Inc.
Woodworking Machinery Industry Association
WSM Industries
WV Manufacturers Association
Zelazoski Wood Products,Inc
Zero Zone Inc.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Environmental Groups to ECOS: Why is Your Coal Waste Panel So Pro-Industry?

June 7, 2012

By Electronic Mail

R. Steven Brown
Environmental Council of States
50 F. Street NW Suite 530
Washington, DC 20001

Re: Balance Needed on the Coal Ash Panel at 2012 State Environmental Protection Meeting

Dear Mr. Brown:

We are writing to respectfully express our concern about the coal ash panel discussion (“Ensuring Proper Management and Beneficial Reuse of Coal Ash”) planned for the June 8, 2012 meeting of the Environmental Council of States (ECOS). The panel fails to include any representative from national or state environmental or public health organizations, from communities adversely affected by coal ash, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), or from any organization that might present a point of view supportive of federally enforceable standards. We understand the importance of hearing the coal industry’s point of view regarding the proposed regulation of the waste they generate, but we also believe it is a disservice to state environmental commissioners to hear only one side of this important debate. It is also a disservice to American taxpayers whose dollars account for a majority of the ECOS budget.

The unbalanced nature of this panel is extremely troublesome for it implies that not all points of view are welcome at a conference intended to address the most pressing regulatory and enforcement issues currently facing state environmental agencies. Invited participants on the coal ash panel include the lead lobbyist for the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG),1 the Majority’s chief counsel for the House Environment and the Economy Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which recently passed a bill to prohibit an EPA coal ash rulemaking, and other speakers who have made clear their opposition to any federally enforceable standards for coal ash. When the omission of public interest sector perspective was noticed, a representative was suggested but ECOS declined to expand the panel.

ECOS is a nonprofit organization representing state agencies. The USEPA provided nearly 75% of the organization’s budget in 2010, according to your annual report.2 A nonprofit organization representing

1 USWAG consists of approximately 80 utilities, energy companies and trade associations and is responsible for addressing solid and hazardous waste issues on behalf of the utility industry.
2 Environmental Council of the States, Annual Report and Almanac, June 2011. Available at In addition, another approximately 10% of the
budget is supplied by states.

state agencies that is supported by federal tax dollars ought to be open to all points of view. In accordance with being primarily publicly funded, your mission statement includes the essential role of ECOS as “provid[ing] for the exchange of ideas … among states and with others,”3 The stage you provide should thus be inclusive of all points of view.

Further, despite ECOS being publicly funded, your website identifies the Edison Electric Institute and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) among the industry “supporters” of this week’s conference.4 ACCCE is made up of over 30 of the largest corporations in the electricity generation, transportation and coal production sectors. While that may have nothing to do with the fact that representatives from these organizations appear on the conference agenda, along with the power industry’s coal ash lobbyist, it creates an appearance problem, at the very least.

The power industry has made clear its determination to make it as difficult as possible for the USEPA to establish any health-protective standards for coal ash. When the occasion next arises, we hope you will make room on your agenda for those who vehemently disagree.

Respectfully, Deborah Sease
National Campaign Director
Sierra Club

Scott Slesinger
Legislative Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

Abbie Dillen
Coal Program Director

Catherine Thomasson, MD Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Eric Schaeffer Executive Director Environmental Integrity Project

Frank O’Donnell
Clean Air Watch

cc: ECOS Executive Committee

3 See ECOS mission statement at
4 See

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Clean Air Watch Smog Watch Report: Smog Soars Under Obama and Oil-Friendly Congress

The Smog Watch survey by Clean Air Watch volunteers found that last month was the smoggiest May in at least the past five years.

The table below compares the smog problem during the month of May for the past five years, since the Bush smog standard was set in 2008 and we began tracking smog in reference to it. The number in the second column refers to the total number of "exceedances" (levels of ozone worse than the Bush EPA standard of 75 parts per billion) recorded at state-run monitoring stations. These statistics demonstrate that the smog problem has been widespread and persistent.

Year Number of monitored ozone exceedances in May

2008 388
2009 481
2010 382
2011 323
2012 854

Total number of monitored exceedances for 2012 through May 31: 1,002. During the comparable period of 2011, 445.

Several things influence the formation of ozone, including emissions of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, as well as weather conditions.

Recent studies have reported that increasing temperatures due to climate change will intensify the ozone problem, increasing the need for tools to fight smog.

The single most effective tool against smog would be lower-sulfur gasoline. With low-sulfur gas, every car on the road would instantly pollute less. That's because sulfur in gasoline impedes the smog-fighting performance of catalytic converters. Lower-sulfur gas=less smog. (The NOx reductions from power plants through the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule have largely been achieved, despite legal challenges to it. Another possible tool -- tougher NOx restrictions on industrial boilers -- would be a political hot potato.)

The oil industry and oil-friendly politicians have tried to tie low-sulfur gas to high gas prices. But EPA has testified to Congress that such a plan would be “less than one penny per gallon” in costs to refiners. Gas prices, of course, have fallen in recent weeks, perhaps taking some of the steam out of the oil arguments.

The smog siege of May does not necessarily mean the summer months will follow suit; cooler weather and lots of rain could dampen smog readings during the next three or four months. However, the May problems alone ought to be enough to make us stand up and take note.

Below is a list of the 31 states with Code Orange or Code Red smog problems so far in 2012. The number next to the state refers to the total number of days in the state in 2012 with ozone levels worse than the Bush standard. California, Texas and Arizona have had the most Code Red or Code Orange days so far in 2012.
Total Code Red or Code Orange Days for Smog in 2012, by State

31 states

Alabama 3
Arizona 17
Arkansas 3
California 27
Colorado 7
Connecticut 2
Florida 4
Georgia 2
Delaware 2
Illinois 7
Indiana 4
Iowa 1
Kansas 1
Kentucky 1
Louisiana 7
Maryland 2
Massachusetts 1
Michigan 6
Minnesota 1
Mississippi 3
Missouri 4
Nevada 8
New Mexico 1
New York 3
Ohio 9
Oklahoma 4
Pennsylvania 2
Tennessee 2
Texas 18
Utah 2
Virginia 1

Friday, June 01, 2012

Greens to EPA: cruise ships are huge polluters; reject cruise industry pollution ploy

May 31, 2012


The Honorable Lisa Jackson
USEPA Headquarters
Ariel Rios Building
Mail Code: 1101A
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson:

Our organizations are writing to reiterate our strong support for the full and timely implementation of the 2008 amendments to MARPOL Annex VI and the designation of the North American and U.S. Caribbean Emission Control Areas (ECAs), as adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Together, these clean air protections are critical to providing healthy air to Americans – EPA estimates the reductions from using cleaner marine fuels and engines will prevent up to 14,000 premature deaths every year by 2020, and up to 31,000 premature deaths annually by 2030. We strongly request the Agency work diligently to uphold these important clean air measures.

We are also writing to oppose the cruise industry’s flawed proposal to claim equivalency under Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI to comply with the ECA fuel requirements in the North American ECA through measures that impose a heavy and disparate burden on human health by exposing some communities to high levels of harmful air pollution. The proposed population weighted approach would allow cruise ships to use fuel with a sulfur content in excess of the minimum ECA protections in coastal areas, while using cleaner low sulfur fuels at berth – more rigorous clean air standards that should be provided without exposing others to pollution levels in excess of basic protections guaranteed by the ECA. This proposal fails to comply with Annex VI Regulation 4 and the Clean Air Act, and will significantly jeopardize the fundamental clean air benefits of the North American ECA for all communities impacted by these emissions.

Cruise industry equivalency proposal fails to comply with IMO regulations and does not provide equivalent health protections
Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI allows for “compliance methods used as an
alternative to that required by this Annex,” but specifies that any alternative compliance method must be, “at least as effective in terms of emissions reductions as that required by this Annex, including any of the standards set forth in regulations 13 and 14.”1 Emphasis supplied. EPA analysis shows that the cruise industry’s proposed alternative would not provide emissions reductions equivalent to those required under Regulation 14.2

The cruise line proposal also fundamentally contravenes the promise of the Clean Air Act to provide bedrock clean air protections under law for all Americans, regardless of where they choose to live, work or raise their families. Allowing a compliance method that imposes a heavier burden on certain segments of the population from harmful air
pollution is unjust and clearly circumvents the intention of the Clean Air Act. Any proposed alternative must provide the fundamental health protections accorded by law and fairness to all Americans.

MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 4 also requires that nations that adopt alternative compliance methods “shall endeavour not to impair or damage its environment, human health, property, or resources or those of other States.”3 In addition to giving priority to the health of citizens in select areas, the cruise industry proposal would prevent necessary emissions reductions in sensitive ecosystems along North American coasts and inland.4

CLIA economic analysis is flawed and does not consider overwhelming benefits The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently prepared an economic analysis claiming that the 2015 fuel requirement under the ECA would significantly reduce cruise itineraries in North America, resulting in reduced passenger visits and cruise line expenditures at ports, and job losses in the U.S. and Canada. EPA estimates that the benefits of the ECA will outweigh the costs by up to 34 to 1, with estimated
monetized health benefits in 2020 reaching up to $110 billion.5 These benefits are vital in protecting human health and are cost-effective.

Moreover, a closer review of the CLIA economic analysis shows that it fails to adequately assess the costs of implementing the ECA regulation, oversimplifies market impacts, and ignores the program’s significant benefits.

The CLIA analysis of the purported costs of compliance is based on a historical incremental fuel price in niche market that is on average almost two times higher than more authoritative estimates accounting for global fuel market trends6. In addition, the report does not take into account the significant improvement in the cruise fleet fuel
efficiency reflected in the 11% decline in per available passenger cruise day (APCD) fuel use between 2007 and 2011 as well as the commitments made for further reductions.7
The use of scrubbers, a proven technology that is widely recognized as an equivalent to
lower sulfur fuel use is not explored. Several studies have shown that for vessels that operate primarily in an ECA, the payback time can be as low as less than a year.8 Taken together these assumptions and omissions lead to significantly overstated costs of compliance with the ECA fuel requirement.

To estimate the regional impacts of these increased costs, the report assumes redeployment of ships to itineraries primarily outside the ECA. This is done without clearly establishing the underlying market mechanisms (i.e. elasticity of demand) and assuming that increasing the supply of ships for other routes in the North American market would have no price and revenue impacts. A more comprehensive assessment of the regional economic impacts of the ECA would take those market effects into account,

would consider options for increasing revenues through ticket prices increase and explore the potential for growth in other competing modes.

CLIA participated in IMO negotiations leading to the adoption of the standards and has had ample time to prepare for them
The current proposal by the cruise lines is a tardy effort to make an end-run around the
multi-year process at the International Maritime Organization that produced the historic health-protecting emission standards required under the ECAs. Those standards are contained in amendments to MARPOL Annex VI and made applicable to U.S. waters via the adoption of the North American ECA. In 2005, a number of nations, including the United States, recognizing that shipping emissions were essentially uncontrolled and causing substantial damage to human health and the environment, submitted a formal request to the IMO to begin negotiations on appropriate emission standards for the industry. Those negotiations culminated in 2008 in amendments to MARPOL Annex VI that include the sulfur fuel standards. The North American ECA was proposed by the United States and Canada in 2009 and approved unanimously in 2010. The U.S. Caribbean ECA was approved in 2011.

CLIA was present at IMO throughout this process and participated in those negotiations. CLIA and the cruise industry have known about, and had time to prepare for, the impending standards since they were finalized in 2008. Furthermore, the United States Government (during both the Bush and Obama administrations) was a major proponent of the adoption of these emission standards, and should work to uphold them to their intended efficacy in protecting human health.

Ocean-going ships burn extremely dirty fuel and must clean up to protect public health The cruise ships, tankers, cargo ships and other large ocean-going vessels that dock at more than 100 U.S. port cities currently burn low grade bunker fuel, greatly impacting air quality in U.S. coastal cities and ports and even sending pollution hundreds of miles
inland.9 This residual fuel contains sulfur levels averaging about 27,000 ppm of sulfur,
1,800 times greater than U.S. law allows for most other diesel engines. The EPA
estimated that in 2009, ocean-going ships emitted:
 Over 71,000 tons of fine particulate matter – comparable to the particulate pollution from 75% of the nation’s coal-fired power plants10
 Nearly 913,000 tons of smog-forming oxides of nitrogen (NOx) pollution—
comparable to the NOx emissions from more than 1 billion of today’s new cars11
 Almost 597,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) – 80% of the total SO2 from the entire
U.S. transportation sector.12
Addressing the staggering emissions from these ships is imperative to protect the health of all Americans.

Timing and stringency of ECAs are important to realize important health and environmental benefits
The North American and U.S. Caribbean ECAs will have far-reaching health and
environmental benefits. EPA estimates the reductions from using cleaner marine fuels and engines will prevent up to 14,000 premature deaths every year by 2020, and up to

31,000 premature deaths annually by 2030. EPA emissions models estimate the annual PM2.5 reductions from the North American ECA in 2020, showing that the health benefits are not restricted to the coastal areas where ocean-going vessels travel. In fact, benefits will be realized in every state in the nation.13

The emissions reductions afforded by the ECAs are needed to help all Americans breathe easier. They are also important to states working hard to meet national health-based air quality standards. Many states have already integrated the projected ECA emissions reductions into their state plans and would need to look to other, possibly more costly, alternatives to find comparable reductions.

Timely implementation of the ECA standards, as they were adopted, is essential to realize the full suite of health protections offered by the program. Any delay, weakening or exemption to these important clean air standards puts all Americans at risk.

There is an urgent need for our nation to strengthen protections for the communities afflicted by the extensive pollution associated with port-based and coastal shipping activities while ensuring full compliance with the ECA. America has the know-how, working together, to clean up the dangerous air pollution addressed by the ECA and to protect human health and the environment from the serious impacts associated with shipping pollution.


Air Alliance Houston
Center for Biological Diversity
Charlestowne Neighborhood Association Cruise Ship Task Force
Clean Air Task Force
Clean Air Watch
Coastal Conservation League
Environmental Defense Fund
Friends of the Earth
Natural Resources Defense Council
Pacific Environment
Union of Concerned Scientists

Jeffrey Lantz, U.S. Coast Guard, Director, Commercial Regulations and Standards
Gina McCarthy, EPA, Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation Margo Oge, EPA, Director, Office of Transportation and Air Quality Michael Goo, EPA, Associate Administrator, Office of Policy

1 Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI: Annexes 13 and 14 to the Report of the 58th Session of the Marine
Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 58/23/Add.1, October 17, 2008).
2 Letter from EPA Director of OTAQ, Margo Oge, and U.S. Coast Guard Director of Commercial
Regulations and Standards, Jeffrey Lantz, to IMO Secretary Koji Sekimizu, March 12, 2012.
3 Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI: Annexes 13 and 14 to the Report of the 58th Session of the Marine
Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 58/23/Add.1, October 17, 2008).
4 For example the Tongass Forrest in Alaska. EPA, Proposal to Designate an Emission Control Area for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Oxides and Particulate Matter: Technical Support Document, EPA-420-R-09-007 (April 2009), page 3-57.
5 EPA, “Fact Sheet: Designation of North American Emission Control Area to Reduce Emissions from
Ships,” EPA-420-F-10-015, March 2010.
6 The World Oil Refining Logistics and Demand (WORLD), an industry-developed and accepted bottom- up model of global refining was updated with a focus on marine fuels for the International Maritime
Organization (IMO) and the US EPA. The results of the North American ECA analysis show a 45% differential between residual and distillate fuel costs accounting for incremental investment in desulfurization capacity and impacts on global supply and demand (EPA, Proposal to Designate an Emission Control Area for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Oxides and Particulate Matter Technical Support Document, 2009, United States Environmental Protection Agency: Washington, DC.)
7 Carnival Corp. & PLC has targeted a shipboard CO2 reduction of 20% by 2015 from a 2005 baseline
(Carnival Corp. & PLC, Annual Report, 2009.)
8 EMSA. The 0.1% sulphur in fuel requirements as of 1 January 2015 in SECAs- An Assessment of available impact studies and alternative means of compliance. 2010.
9 EPA, Proposal to Designate an Emission Control Area for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Oxides and Particulate
Matter: Technical Support Document, EPA-420-R-09-007 (April 2009), page 3-23, Figure 3.2-5.
10 National Emissions Inventory data (2008). Fuel comb- Electric Generation- Coal, PM2.5 Primary Filterable, 94,848 tons. Available online: (last accessed May 7, 2010).
11 Calculations based on Tier 2 NOx emissions standard (0.07g NOx/mile) for highway vehicles and 11,300
VMT. Transportation Energy Data Book, Ed 30 (2011), Page 1.
12 “Control of Emissions From New Marine Compression-Ignition Engines at or Above 30 Liters per
Cylinder; Proposed Rule” 74 Fed. Reg. 44,442 (Aug 28, 2009) at 44459.
13 EPA, Proposal to Designate an Emission Control Area for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Oxides and
Particulate Matter: Technical Support Document, EPA-420-R-09-007 (April 2009), page 3-23, Figure 3.2-
5. Recreated by EDF.