Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Great News: Confirmation that Diesel Cleanup is Really Working

This is fabulous news: evidence that technology to clean up big diesel engines is really working.  This is a huge plus for public health:

Embargoed For Release: December 4, 2013
For more information:  
Dan Greenbaum, President 617 488 2331
Maria Costantini, Principal Scientist 617 488 2302

MOST ADVANCED EMISSIONS TESTS EVER PERFORMED FIND DIESEL TRUCK AND BUS ENGINES WITH DRAMATICALLY LOWER EMISSIONS OF KEY POLLUTANTS

(Boston, MA December 4, 2013) The most rigorous emissions testing ever done for modern heavy-duty diesel engines – which power virtually every large truck and bus sold in the United States – has demonstrated a greater than 94% reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2 - an important contributor to ozone smog), and substantial reductions in all other pollutants, even when compared to engines first marketed to meet 2007 standards, according to a study released today by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC[1]) at www.crcao.org.  For a number of the most important pollutants, levels were substantially lower than required by regulations.  These 2010 engines represent the newest generation of emission control technology.  They were developed in response to the US Environmental Protection Agency Heavy-Duty On-Highway Diesel Emissions Rule of 2001 which mandated the implementation of strict NOx standards starting in January 2010. The rule also mandated the implementation of a stringent PM standard in engines to be sold starting in January 2007. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

EPA Study: Nitrogen Dioxide Pollution Seems More Dangerous -- Even Deadly -- Than Previously Known

The U.S. EPA has quietly published a draft new report which warns that nitrogen dioxide pollution, chiefly from traffic and construction equipment, appears to be more dangerous -- even more deadly -- than previously thought. 

These tentative conclusions are contained in a new draft "Integrated Science Assessment" of the pollutant.  Collecting the science is part of the process the EPA goes through as it reviews whether national health standards are adequate. The study is available for download here 1.usa.gov/1aVA3n5          

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tomorrow is the Anniversary of the 1990 Clean Air Act -- a Lot Has Been Accomplished

We are reminded that tomorrow (Nov. 15) marks the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the landmark Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.  Wow -- it seems like only yesterday!

There's a lot of work yet to be done, but it's worth a moment or two to look back at the law's many achievements, including cleaner air, better health, and economic growth. (Sometimes we forget that many businesses prosper with the cleanup.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Posting: How Are Vehicles Evolving to be Greener?

Clean Air Watch has posted many articles about the importance of cleaner fuels and vehicles and the need for such programs as EPA's "Tier 3" vehicle and fuel standards to complement already adopted fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. 

In today's Guest Posting, Steve Jordan takes a look at the many positive benefits consumers will experience with cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles:

The Consumer Federation of America’s report “Top 10 Reasons Consumers Want 54.5 MPG by 2025” found some interesting reasons fuel economy standards will benefit drivers and the country. Here are just a few:

  • Fuel economy standards lower the cost of driving, justifying any higher upfront costs and saving thousands of dollars over the life of fuel efficient vehicles.
  • The new standards will prompt and promote more fuel-efficient vehicles from all automakers.
  • Consumers will be able to finance fuel efficient vehicles, as Consumerfed explains.

This is good news for eco-conscious drivers who want to reduce their transportation’s impact on the environment without spending a fortune. And there are a lot of other promising developments on the horizon.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

U of MD Study Finds Cleaner Air Helps Chesapeake Bay: Another Strong Argument for "Tier 3" Cleaner-gasoline, Cleaner Car Standards


Here is a link to a very interesting study by University of MD researchers, who have found (somewhat to their surprise) that reducing air pollution has helped the health of the Chesapeake Bay.  bit.ly/1cGABob  

The improvement is due to reduced nitrogen pollution emissions in recent years from power plants and also motor vehicles. 

This study is a very strong argument for tough new “Tier 3” low-sulfur gasoline and clean-car standards, which would make further significant cuts in nitrogen emissions.  

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Major Groups to EPA: Finalize "Tier 3" Clean gas and car standards ASAP


November 5, 2013
 


The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
William Jefferson Clinton Building
Mail Code 1101A
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
 
 Dear Administrator McCarthy:
 
We applaud the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proposing strong “Tier 3” clean vehicle and fuel standards, which will make our air cleaner to breathe and save lives. We are writing to strongly urge you to finalize these critical standards as soon as possible, in order to maximize the economic, public health and air quality benefits that these standards deliver.

Recent reports in the media have suggested EPA may not finalize Tier 3 standards by the end of 2013, a possibility made more real by the government shutdown. Failing to finalize these standards by the end of the year could unnecessarily expose Americans to health risks and health-related costs.
 
The health benefits associated with the Tier 3 proposal are well established. By reducing the sulfur content of gasoline and tailpipe pollution, the proposed standards would prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths, 3,200 hospital visits and 22,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030. Further, the standards would prevent 1.8 million lost school and workdays.
 
The proposed Tier 3 standards will dramatically reduce emissions of ozone-forming pollution, which exacts a substantial toll on our public health and our environment, including our national parks and other public lands. Compared to existing standards for new vehicles, the proposed standards would cut fleet-wide emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds by 80 percent. Further, Tier 3 standards would reduce per-vehicle particulate matter by 70 percent. These emissions reductions are critical for states to meet health-based air quality standards under the Clean Air Act.
 
In addition to significant health benefits, Tier 3 will also realize economic benefits. According to a study by Navigant Economics, Tier 3 will create over 24,000 new jobs over three years for pollution control equipment installation at the nation’s refineries. Another nearly 5,300 jobs will be created by the operation and maintenance of this new equipment.
 
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 proposal will significantly reduce vehicle pollution and make our air cleaner to breathe. But these benefits are only achieved once the standard is finalized and implemented. EPA’s job is not yet done. The agency must finalize Tier 3 standards as soon as possible and prevent delays of the substantial economic, health and environmental benefits that will come from their implementation.

 Sincerely,
 

John Judge CEO, Appalachian Mountain Club
David Foster Executive Director, Blue Green Alliance
Kieran Suckling Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity
Frank O’Donnell President, Clean Air Watch
Robert Wendelgass President, Clean Water Action
Kathleen Rogers President, Earth Day Network
Margie Alt Executive Director, Environment America
Fred Krupp President, Environmental Defense Fund
Howard Learner, President & Executive Director Environmental Law and Policy Center
Gene Karpinski President, League of Conservation Voters
Dominique Browning Senior Director, Moms Clean Air Force
Theresa Pierno Acting President, National Parks and Conservation Association
Frances Beinecke President, Natural Resources Defense Council
Dan Becker Director, Safe Climate Campaign
Michael Brune Executive Director, Sierra Club
Stephen A. Smith, DVM Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Kathleen Rest Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists
Peggy M. Shepard Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chinese Researchers: The Smaller the Particle, the More Deadly...and What It Means in the U.S.

We all are aware that China has had horrific air pollution problems in recent years.  And now, scientists in China are bearing down. 

A new study by Chinese researchers sheds new light on the issue -- and it has implications for breathers in the United States.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New studies target coal burning, traffic -- and more -- as sources of dangerous particle soot


I want to call your attention to comprehensive new studies on particle soot out this morning by the well-respected Health Effects Institute. http://www.healtheffects.org/   

These studies are very important in helping us understand the dangers of particle soot pollution.  As those of you who have worked in this business probably know, various industry groups have asserted over the years that THEIR soot is benign.  It’s the other guy’s soot that’s problem. (The coal and coal-burning power industries have made that assertion, as have other industries.)

 The new studies make it clear that there’s no evidence yet that any type of soot is benign.  The research singles out sulfate particles – from coal burning and other sources – as particularly dangerous, with traffic pollution only slightly less so.  (The so-called “war on coal” might be better characterized as a “war to protect health.”)

But no form of soot has been exonerated.  More research needs to be done on other sources.

These studies should put to rest the myth that some types of soot are harmless.  They aren’t and it’s not.

 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

States Sue to Hasten Cleanup of Dangerous Pollution from Wood Heaters


News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2013

New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060
Albany Press Office / 518-473-5525
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN LEADS COALITION SUING EPA FOR FAILING TO ADEQUATELY LIMIT POLLUTION FROM RESIDENTIAL WOOD HEATERS

Despite Clean Air Act Requirements, Agency's Existing Limits Haven't Been Updated in 25 Years; Ignore Outdoor Wood Boilers, One Of The Most Common And Polluting Devices.

Schneiderman: Smoke From Residential Wood-Burning Heaters Poses A Serious Public Health Threat In New York Communities

NEW YORK – Leading a coalition of seven states, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the filing of a lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act by failing to adequately limit air pollution emissions from new residential wood heaters.  In the legal papers, Schneiderman's coalition contends that the EPA's existing emissions limits, which haven't been revised in 25 years, are outdated and leave out popular types of residential wood heaters -- including outdoor wood boilers, which have proliferated in many areas of New York.

“EPA's regulations simply haven't kept pace with the proliferation of wood-burning devices or the availability of cleaner-burning units.  Smoke from residential wood-burning heaters poses a serious health threat, especially in New York’s rural communities,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This lawsuit aims to force the EPA to comply with the Clean Air Act and provide overdue leadership in requiring new wood heaters to meet stricter pollution standards – an action that will save consumers money, improve local air quality and safeguard public health.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Quick Thoughts on EPA's Climate Proposal for Power Plants

There will be numerous people commenting today on EPA's new proposed greenhouse gas standards for power plants, so I will keep this short:

There is no need for me to re-hash the details of the proposal, available today from the EPA.  http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/2013-proposed-carbon-pollution-standard-new-power-plants

EPA should be congratulated. Cleaning up power plants could prove to be the signature environmental achievement and enduring legacy of the Obama Administration's second term.

But this isn't the end of the saga, only the beginning.  EPA still needs to move promptly to set final standards for new power plants and to deal with the more critical issue of emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

For critics who claim this will hurt the coal industry, I say baloney.  It is time for the "clean coal" lobby to put up or shut up. 

EPA is actually giving the coal industry a shot to compete.  But EPA is asking "clean coal" to live up to that description. It's about time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Senator Thune Tries to Block Cleaner-Gas "Tier 3" Plan Through Amendment to Energy Efficiency Bill


It should come as no surprise that the pending Senate energy efficiency legislation would become a magnet for dreadful special interest amendments.

One of the most odious amendments has been introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) – and no doubt drafted at the instigation of oil industry lobbyists – to kill EPA’s pending “Tier 3” plan for cleaner, lower-sulfur gasoline and lower-polluting motor vehicles.
 
Senator Thune is, of course, part of the Senate Republican Leadership, so his actions need to be taken seriously.  He has introduced several other anti-EPA amendments to the energy bill, including attempts to block greenhouse gas standards for power plants: http://1.usa.gov/180gV9X          

Needless to say, the Tier 3 amendment has nothing to do with energy efficiency. It’s just a ploy by the oil industry to block EPA.  Let’s hope the Senate leadership shuts this down without a vote.

Here is the relevant part of the Thune amendment on cleaner, lower-sulfur gasoline:

[If] The Secretary of Energy determines that the Tier 3 motor vehicle emission and fuel standard would result in an increase in the price of gasoline, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall not finalize the standard.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Why the Carnival Cruise Pollution Deal Means We Need Final Tier 3 Car and Gasoline Standards This Year

After many months of lobbying Congress and the EPA to back away from standards designed to reduce deadly ocean ship air pollution near U.S. coasts, Carnival Cruise Lines has finally reached an agreement in principle with the EPA to reduce its ship emissions. 1.usa.gov/151HxGZ  

Under this arrangement, Carnival would be permitted temporary exemptions that would permit some of its ships to pollute more until they could be fitted with pollution control systems.

This will mean short-term pollution increases but also the possibility of long-term pollution reductions.  The key issue here will be enforcement of these new limits, and Clean Air Watch will continue to monitor this issue closely.

But this deal also underscores the big need for EPA to move ahead with its "Tier 3" plan for cleaner motor vehicles and cleaner, lower-sulfur gasoline to reduce smog and soot pollution.  We need to find a way to make up for the short-term pollution increases associated with the Carnival deal, and the Tier 3 plan is the best way to do it. 

EPA needs to make the Tier 3 rules final by the end of this year.  Any delay will only mean more dirty air, and more health damage.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Emission Control Makers Rebut Bogus Oil Industry Arguments About Lower-Sulfur Gasoline

The U.S. EPA continues to post the hundreds of thousands of comments made in support of its "Tier 3" clean-car, clean-gasoline proposal.

Here's one posted just yesterday that caught our eye. It was submitted by the emission control industry: http://1.usa.gov/15mLykP

In a very analytical manner, the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) rebuts the bogus arguments made by the oil industry about the value of lower-sulfur gasoline.
       

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Groups Urge House Appropriators to Reject Effort to Block Important Smog Cleanup Standards


Below is a sample of the letters sent to House appropriators.  As reported from the subcommittee, the spending bill would prevent EPA from moving ahead with this important smog-fighting plan.


July 31, 2013

The Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz
United States House of Representatives
118 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz:

The undersigned organizations are writing to strongly urge you to oppose and work to remove any
language in the Interior appropriations bill that would impede finalization and implementation of the
Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Emission Control Makers Spell Out Why Anti-Tier 3 Rider is a Terrible Idea

Here is a good briefing paper from emission control makers.  It spells out why it's a terrible idea to include an amendment or "rider" to a spending bill that would block the US EPA from moving ahead with its smog-fighting "Tier 3" clean-car, clean gasoline plan:

Emissions Control Technology Association
325 7th Street NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC 20004
Tel: 202-661-4150 Fax: 202-661-4165
Opposition to Tier 3 Rider in Draft House Interior Appropriations Bill

Issue  
 
Section 451 of the draft House Interior Appropriations bill (see page 138 of draft1) prevents EPA from using any funds from the FY14 appropriation to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Tier 3 rule or any other successor rule that would require a reduction in the sulfur content of gasoline.

1 http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-113hr-sc-ap-fy2014-interior-subcommitteedraft.pdf

2 Schink, George R. and Hal Singer. 2012. Economic Analysis of the Implications of Implementing EPA’s Tier 3

Rules. Online at http://naviganteconomics.com/docs/061212%20Economic%20Analysis%20of%20the%20Implications%20of%20Tier%203%20Sulfur%20Reduction%20Final_embargoed%20copy.pdf


Monday, July 22, 2013

House Appropriators Front for Oil Industry; Include Anti-Clean Air Amendment to Spending Bill

Please note below.  This is nothing less than a blatant attempt to help the oil industry and block vital public health protections.

 Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10:00 AM             House Int/Env Subcommittee Markup
                                B-308 Rayburn House Office Building

 Here is the draft bill:
 

 Note the rider – page 138

 EMISSION AND FUEL STANDARDS

16 SEC. 451. None of the funds made available by this
Act may be used to finalize, implement, administer, or en-
force the proposed rule entitled ‘‘Control of Air Pollution
From Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and
Fuel Standards’’ published by the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency in the Federal Register on May 21, 2013 (78
Fed. Reg. 29816 et seq.), or any successor or subsequent
 rule that would require a reduction in the sulfur content
 of gasoline.

 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Alarming Report: Some New Big Diesel Engines Now Spew More than Four Times the Deadly Particle Soot As Earlier Models...and It's Legal!

An alarming new report has found that some new big diesel engines are now spewing out more than four times the amount of deadly particle soot as other recent engines -- and it's legal!

bit.ly/1bvhefU

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Groups to EPA and Coast Guard: We Need You to Fight Against (Russian) Plan to Delay Emission Standards for Ocean-Going Ships

You may recall we recently reported on a Russian-inspired plan to delay international NOx emission standards for big ocean-going ships -- a delay that could mean continued dirty air along the U.S. Coast: http://www.cleanairwatch.org/2013/05/from-russia-with-love-dirty-air-along.html

But there's still time to defeat that plan -- and Clean Air Watch is joining other groups (noted below) in urging the U.S. to fight any delay.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sierra Club, Clean Air Watch Urge EPA to Set Strong Final Tier 3 Gas and Vehicle Standards This Year

Here are the official comments submitted to EPA by the Sierra Club, Clean Air Watch and the Respiratory Health Association:
 


Environmental Protection Agency

Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center

Mail Code 2822T

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20460

July 1, 2012
Comments submitted on behalf of

Sierra Club * Clean Air Watch * Respiratory Health Association

RE: Docket ID Nos. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0135
 

Control of Air Pollution From Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards
Introduction
 
On behalf of our millions of members and supporters nationwide, Sierra Club, Clean Air Watch and the Respiratory Health Association applaud the Environmental Protection Agency for proposing strong Tier 3 cleaner tailpipe standards that will significantly reduce health-threatening pollution from our cars and trucks.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Breathers Beware! EPA Admits It Is Way Behind Deadline on Smog Standard Review


You can be excused if you missed or paid little attention to yesterday's announcement by health and environmental groups that they've filed suit in federal court to prompt the U.S. EPA to make a timely decision on updated national health standards for ozone, commonly known as smog. bit.ly/143BrlT
(The announcement was, understandably, eclipsed by President Obama's address on carbon dioxide and related "messaging" by Secretary of State John Kerry and the President's staff.)

Buried in the minimal coverage of this announcement was a public admission by the EPA that it is WAY behind schedule in reviewing this issue!  Breathers will continue to suffer unnecessarily unless the lawsuit prompts a quicker decision. 

Here is a brief recap of the issue and the background:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Money Talks! Is it mere coincidence… or are oily campaign contributions greasing today’s congressional attacks against tougher smog standards?


Those of you who have followed this issue are well aware that in 2008, the US EPA set national ozone (smog) standards weaker than recommended by EPA’s independent science advisers, who warned that the weaker standards hurt breathers.  And that in 2011, the timid Obama White House – under political pressure from the oil industry – killed an EPA attempt to update the standards to better protect public health.

Now that EPA is again examining the issue, the oil industry is ramping up a new campaign.  The strategy appears to be a preemptive strike designed to scare the White House yet again. And  the oil industry appears to be using some its friends on Capitol Hill to lead the assault.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

EPA Obviously Complies with Legal/Procedural Requirements As It Makes Modest Time Concession to Oil Industry on Tier 3

The oil industry, having lost big time in the battle over the content involving EPA's proposed "Tier 3" low-sulfur gasoline standards, has shifted in recent weeks to argue about "process."

The industry has claimed it hasn't had enough time to comment on the standards -- which have been posted online since March 29!

But the EPA now has made a modest concession to industry -- one that should take away that bogus "process" argument.  The EPA has now agreed to extend the public comment period from June 13 until July 1. http://www.epa.gov/otaq/documents/tier3/tier-3-comment-ext-fr-notice-05-23-13.pdf

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

House of Reps Set to Vote on "Reliability" Legislation that Could Limit EPA Authority to Protect Breathers

This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote -- under a special "suspension of the rules" -- on legislation that could limit EPA authority to protect breathers.

The bill, H.R. 271, is opposed by major environmental groups who argue it is "Not only vague and overly broad" but "takes the unprecedented step of authorizing total civil and criminal amnesty from all federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations for electric power producers under special orders from the Department of Energy."

Monday, May 20, 2013

EPA's "Tier 3" Clean-Gas, Clean-Car Proposal to be Published in Tomorrow's Federal Register


Of course, this information has been available online since March. 

As you probably know, the oil industry has been whining about “process” – because it’s losing this battle on substance. They act as if they don’t have internet access.

Will the oil companies stop whimpering now?  Don’t bet on it. I predict the delaying tactics will continue.

I don’t think breathers should suffer because the Government Printing Office has taken so long to get this material in hard copy format. 

Control of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles:

PDF - 3.6 MB; 1572 pages Permalink
Filed on: 05/20/2013 at 08:45 AM Publication Date: 05/21/2013
FR Document: 2013-08500 EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0135 FRL_9785-8

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reliability Council: Environmental Standards Won't Threaten Electric Reliability this Summer

The opponents of clean-air controls often cite the threat of brownouts and blackouts when attacking new pollution limits on power plants. 

But now the nonprofit which aims to ensure electric reliability across America is out with a new report.  And the verdict: power plant retirements and cleanups to meet future environmental rules won't cause reliability concerns this summer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From Russia with Love: Dirty Air along the U.S. Coast!?

While the political world has been abuzz about the U.S. official embarrassment about the alleged spy saga in Russia yhoo.it/16hbSmX , there is potential longer-term trouble for breathers in the U.S. because of a less-publicized Russian action.

At the request of Russia, the International Maritime Organization has voted to delay for five full years emission control requirements for big new ships near coastlines, including those of the United States. The requirements were due to take effect in 2016 as explained in this release: bit.ly/1053RNu

This is a terrible turn of events and could delay efforts to bring cleaner ships to U.S. ports by 2016. The U.S. government appears to have been blindsided by this Russian move. It needs to step up its game to protect breathers in the U.S.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Refiners: API Exaggerates Cost of Meeting EPA Proposed Clean-Gasoline Standards

A growing number of refining companies now say the American Petroleum Institute is exaggerating the costs of meeting EPA's proposed Tier 3 low-sulfur gasoline standards.

Keep reading for some examples:

149 Health and Medical Groups Urge President to Set Vital Clean-Gasoline Standards This Year

May 7, 2013

Dear Mr. President:

We the undersigned health and medical organizations urge you to support cleaner, healthier air and adopt cleaner gasoline and vehicle emissions standards as soon as possible. The nation needs these stronger public health protections urgently to reduce dangerous air pollution from cars, light trucks and SUVs.

We have seen first-hand the effects of these harmful emissions. Motor vehicles are a major source of ozone forming pollution which triggers asthma attacks, worsens lung disease and shortens life. Cars, light trucks and SUVs contribute to particle pollution which threatens heart and lung health, as well as increases the risk of premature death. Emissions from these vehicles also add to the toxic burden of those who live or work near the nation’s busy highways.

The new standards will protect our children, the elderly, those with chronic lung disease, heart disease or diabetes, and those who have low incomes. We strongly urge you to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue final Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle standards by December 31, 2013.

[The full letter and list of signers is here:

http://bit.ly/16gLJnI ]

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Memo to EPA; We Really Need "Tier 3" Clean Gas Standards Because the Smog Problem is Much Worse than Your Official Stats!

As faithful readers well know, Clean Air Watch has been arguing for many months for the need for EPA to adopt smog-fighting lower-sulfur gasoline standards.  For example, here bit.ly/WfUCqo  and here bit.ly/Ys6tE8

And we want to note an important additional argument today: namely, that the smog problem in America recently has been much worse than recorded by EPA's official statistics.

Indeed -- and our anaysis is based on EPA's own material  http://www.epa.gov/airdata/ad_rep_mon.html -- the number of monitors recording a violation of EPA's national ozone standard during 2010-2012 is more than double the number of violating monitors EPA previously relied on to create its official "nonattainment" list of areas out of compliance. (EPA's official "designation" list was based on earlier information, including pollution levels during the depths of the recent recession and levels that may have been artificially lower because of some cooler, wetter weather.)

The bottom line: the smog problem is worse than we are being told.  And we need the Tier 3 gasoline and vehicle standards -- the best possible smog-fighting tool available -- to make progress.

The "10 Best Things About Global Warming" -- Yes, This is Satire!

There's been pleny of bad news about the climate change issue lately: big troubles with Europe's cap-and-trade system, more reports that global warming is acidifying oceans and seas http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/1317912-global-warming-attributing-rapidly-acidify-arctic-ocean
and, of course, the continuing delay by the U.S. EPA to deal with the problem of carbon emissions from power plants.

We needed a break from all this misery, so we were delighted to receive the short video below, which we are happy to share:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clean Air Watch to EPA: the oil industry has cried wolf so many times before!


Testimony of Frank O’Donnell
President, Clean Air Watch  www.cleanairwatch.org
Twitter:@cleanairfrank

U.S. EPA Hearing on Tier 3 Proposal  EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0135 
Philadelphia, PA  April 24, 2013

 
Good Morning.  I am Frank O’Donnell, President of Clean Air Watch, a national not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting clean air chiefly through education.
Clean Air Watch is delighted to be here to support the EPA’s so-called Tier 3 proposal. When it comes to clean air, this is the mother of all no-brainers. This plan would mean cleaner air – and better health.


We believe this is the single most effective step EPA can take right now to reduce dangerous smog levels around the nation.   It would be like taking 33 million cars off the road.
Not only would future cars and SUVs pollute much less, every car on the road today would immediately become cleaner.  As you are well aware, when sulfur in gasoline is removed, catalytic converters work better to reduce smog and soot-forming emissions.  And as the American Lung Association’s new State of the Air Report underscores, this nation still has a heck of an air pollution problem.  And we need to deal with it.

This plan would also reduce deadly particle soot pollution, reduce asthma attacks and premature death, create thousands of jobs, and enable technologies that get better gas mileage – all for a cost that credible studies put at a mere penny a gallon or less.  A penny is a pittance to pay for cleaner air.
No wonder this plan is supported by such a broad and diverse coalition:  public health groups, environmental, consumer and science groups, state and local environmental officials, the auto industry, both domestic and foreign, the makers of pollution control equipment and the United Auto Workers.  Clean Air Watch is delighted to be in such esteemed company.

Indeed, every relevant stakeholder group supports this initiative with one exception: the oil industry and some allied alleged “think tanks” that some might label front groups.  I’ll just note they’re wrong!  As the oil industry has been so many times in the past!  Consider a few examples:

·       When EPA proposed to phase out lead in gasoline in the 1970s, the oil industry claimed there was no public health foundation and that this would cause supply shortages!  http://www.thefreelibrary.com/A%20personal%20perspective%20on%20the%20initial%20federal%20health-based%20regulation...-a0215204333

Not only was this sky-is-falling prediction dead wrong, we now know that this was one of the best and most urgently-needed health decisions ever made.  Taking lead out of gas reduced the risk of lead toxicity for hundreds of thousands of children. It also decreased the risk of heart attack and stroke in adults. 

·       In 1999, when EPA proposed the so-called Tier 2 standards to start reducing sulfur in gasoline, once again the oil industry claimed the cleanup wasn’t needed and would cause shutdowns and supply shortages – even threaten national security! [August 2, 1999 comments to EPA by National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.] What utter nonsense – of course these problems didn’t happen!

·       In the year 2000, after EPA proposed clean-diesel fuel standards, the oil industry again claimed – can you guess? – that this cleanup wasn’t needed and would cause refinery shutdowns and supply shortages.  [April 11, 2000 letter to EPA from American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Red Cavaney.] But the exact opposite happened!  The US now exports clean diesel fuel because EPA stuck to its guns. http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=2890

So let’s learn from the past.  Let’s remember the oil industry has cried wolf so many times -- and it’s doing it again here.  Let’s consider the massive benefits of this plan, which dwarf the modest costs.
We urge EPA to do the right thing: move ahead and set final Tier 3 gasoline and vehicle emission standards this year. 

Please listen to the pleas of breathers for cleaner air, not the oil industry’s wolf-cries.