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.



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