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

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.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

EPA science manager: 'I feel like we failed' on smog update because of oil industry's political clout

Here is a brief excerpt of an excellent story in the April 22, 2013 edition of Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report.

It gets to the heart of some fundamental issues, including the clash between medical science and polluter money-driven political science:

EPA Committee Concerned Ozone Standard
May Not Adequately Protect Children
Members of an Environmental Protection Agency advisory committee voiced concerns April 18 that conditions making early life a vulnerable period for respiratory and other health problems ozone causes may not adequately be considered by the agency as it sets a new ozone air quality standard.

[Here is the meeting agenda: 1.usa.gov/13nAWmY ]
The American Petroleum Institute and other regulated industries use uncertainty about science as justification to push for less stringent standards than some advisers have sought in the past, said James Brown, project manager for EPA's ozone integrated science assessment, who briefed the committee on the status of the agency's ozone evaluation and scientific information it contains that addresses early life exposures. Brown said he was describing political dynamics he observed personally as a lung biologist for 13 years, and that he was not voicing an EPA position...

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

UAW "Proud to Support" EPA Clean-Gas, Clean-Vehicle Proposal

For immediate release: April 2, 2013

UAW statement on proposed tier 3 standards

DETROIT – The UAW commends the Obama administration for proposing new fuel and tailpipe emission standards that will help ensure the U.S. auto industry remains the most advanced and competitive in the world.
When combined with the already finalized CAFE standards, the American people can see the commitment of this administration to ensure we continue producing vehicles of the future. Upon full implementation, the proposed rule will reduce the amount of sulfur in our gasoline by two-thirds. This is one of the most cost-effective ways for us to get cleaner and healthier air while strengthening our domestic auto sector and creating thousands of new jobs. 
The proposed rule is a win for our economy and a win for public health. It is estimated to create thousands of jobs and will bring the U.S. standard in line with the standards utilized in California and countries around the world in helping to reduce air pollution. The UAW is proud to support the EPA’s proposed rule, and we urge its adoption.