Monday, December 22, 2014

Why Every Family Should Use Green Energy

(Clean Air Watch is pleased to present this freelance article from Gemma Burton)


If every family decided to use green energy for their home, they would cut down on ‘greenhouse’ gases while taking a stand against climate change.

The four major greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and fluorinated gases. Carbon dioxide is the number one pollutant. Its accumulation arises from fossil fuel burning in order to power our homes and fuel our cars and other methods of transportation. Deforestation also speeds up this accumulation because plants soak up carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere. With fewer plants, this delicate balance is upset, resulting in less oxygen and more carbon dioxide.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Why the US Chamber of Commerce is Wrong about Smog in National Parks

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ramping up its campaign to derail more health-protective national smog standards. Get ready for lots of hyperbole and misleading propaganda!  

The Chamber, which has opposed clean air controls for many years, rolled out a new ditty claiming that under EPA's proposed new standards, a dozen national parks would be in violation -- as if to argue that the standards would be so strict that they could not be met because of naturally occurring conditions.
We took a look at this fanciful claim, and here's what we discovered:

Many national parks on this US Chamber’s list are great examples of why the revised ozone standard is needed so park visitors can breathe clean air. A number of these parks are heavily impacted by air pollution transported there from urban areas, and in several cases, oil & gas production.  In a few cases, the culprit might be forest fires, and the US EPA has a policy that permits exemptions in those situations.
 
Here are some details:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quick Reaction to EPA's Ozone Proposal


The EPA proposal – to change the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion to a range of 65-70 – is now online at http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html#nov2014

 Here are a few quick thoughts: 

All in all, this is a very positive step in the right direction even though it doesn’t go as far as health and environmental groups would like.  We will press during hearings and the public comment period for an even tougher standard, towards the low end of the range urged by EPA’s science advisers. (They called for  a range as low as 60.)  Obviously, this action is long overdue. Like the agency’s science advisers, EPA recognizes that keeping the current, outdated, standard would be irresponsible.  The public does deserve to know if the outdoor air is dangerous. Keeping the current standard would flunk a truth in advertising test.  

Smog is the most widespread and insidious form of air pollution.  It’s not just a question of sniffles or runny eyes – it’s literally something that can send people to the emergency room or to an early grave.  Setting a tough new smog standard would really help cement President Obama’s environmental legacy.   

I would urge you to read not only EPA’s proposal but the summary of projected economic impacts.  It gives a lie to the flatulent industry claims that this would be the most expensive rule ever.  In addition to already adopted rules in the works (such as low-sulfur gasoline and the Tier 3 car standards) there are other options that can make cost-effective progress towards a tougher standard – for example, tougher standards for new big-rig trucks.  We do not need to choose between public health protection and a sound economy.  History has demonstrated that we can – and must – have both.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Public Supports Tougher Smog Standards: American Lung Assn. Survey

 
By a 2-1 margin, the public supports tougher smog standards -- even after hearing the arguments of opponents. 
 
We hope the political types and bean counters in the White House will take note -- and realize that permitting EPA to do its job -- and set better smog standards based on medical science -- is not only the right thing to do but is also supported by the public.
 

Here is the full survey: http://bit.ly/1HEv9Pt
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Ten Reasons Why America's Dependence on Oil Needs to End



(Clean Air Watch periodically accepts guest postings.  This very interesting piece is from Holly Chavez, a regular contributor.  We hope you find it as informative as we did.)

 

 

The United States energy needs are a significant part of global consumption. While the growth of the global economy has had a major impact on increased oil usage, the United States is still a primary player in oil consumption according to many experts. Factoring in the national economy as a whole, it is clear that this is a pattern that cannot continue and must be altered for a variety of reasons, including business expense efficiency.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Quick Thoughts on Greenhouse Gas Emission Settlement with Hyundai and Kia


By now you may have heard of the big settlement that the US EPA and the Department of Justice made with Hyundai and Kia over greenhouse gas emissions.   http://1.usa.gov/1xSJSPM

A few quick thoughts:

For many years, EPA has enforced the Clean Air Act to make sure cars are as clean as they are advertised.  It is very encouraging to see that EPA plans to make sure that climate-related emissions must also be as advertised.  

In this case, consumers will receive a tangible benefit because the car makers were overstating their gas mileage and cheating not only the general public but also car buyers.  

This is the latest effort by the Obama administration to make sure that climate issues are taken seriously.

 

 

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Congressional Research Service: Take a Deep Breath Before Believing Cost Claims About New EPA Smog Standard

The nonpartisan (and thoughtful!) Congressional Research Service is out with a new report about EPA's expected upcoming health standard for ozone, or smog.  It is really worth reading, especially in light of the hysterical industry attacks on EPA about the alleged cost of any change in the standard.

As the CRS notes:

...even after a proposal is signed, cost estimates will be little better than guesses.

Why? Three reasons: the long implementation period; the unpredictable pace of technology development; and the decentralized nature of compliance decisions.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Almost 5 Years Ago, EPA Said Current Smog Standard Was so Weak....

...That the agency would not even solicit public comments on keeping it.  EPA then was attempting to correct a polluter-friendly decision made by the Bush Administration.

As we all know, the EPA, then run by Lisa Jackson, was told in 2011 by the Obama White House to stand down for political reasons. 

Before the political plug was pulled, here was EPA's proposal in January 2010:

http://1.usa.gov/1ndfoYv

….the Administrator concludes that a standard set as high as 0.075 would not be considered requisite to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety, and that consideration of lower levels is warranted.

…the Administrator proposes to set the level of the 8-hour primary O3 standard to within a range of 0.060 to 0.070 ppm…She solicits comment on this range.

We eagerly await the upcoming, court-ordered Dec. 1 deadline for a new proposal, to see how the current EPA handles not only the earlier medical evidence, but newer studies which show smog is even a bigger public health threat than previously acknowledged.

We hope politics isn't a factor again since this is, after all, a serious public health issue.

Monday, September 29, 2014

That Was the Week That Was (TW3) for Clean Air


[With fond viewer memories of the late Ned Sherrin and David Frost]

It is so difficult in this breathless, breaking-news-tweet-every-moment era to put matters in perspective.
We are going to give this a shot in a brief look back at clean-air events during the week past.  This is not meant by any means to be all-encompassing, so please forgive any omissions.
Oops – carbon emissions have crept up!  Perhaps the best news for the White House in this Energy Department report was that it came out on Friday.  http://1.usa.gov/19IGPMM
Sure, it showed encouraging trends for renewable energy, but it also showed energy-related carbon emissions went up during the first six months of this year, the second year in a row, up 6% since 2012.  That’s not how the “narrative” is supposed to go! As The Washington Post put it, “The Obama administration appears to be losing ground in its efforts to cut U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases.”   http://wapo.st/1pBXkCb

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Eco-Friendly, Or... Four Major Contributions to Teen Accidents


[This guest post is from Holly Chavez, a frequent contributor to the Clean Air Watch blog]

Carpooling may be second nature to you. You may think nothing at all about picking up fellow co-workers or neighbors who need a ride to work each morning. In fact, you probably even take pride in your contribution to making the environment cleaner.
What may not be surprising, really, is that your newly licensed teenager may want to mimic your behavior by carpooling with his or her friends. But wait. Before you allow your teen to follow in your Eco-friendly footsteps, you should be aware and warn them about the following behaviors which contribute significantly to driving accidents among their peers in today’s world.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Then-EPA Chief Lisa Jackson Said Bush Smog Standard "Not Legally Defensible"

This letter from July 2011 by then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is a good reminder as we await EPA's expected December 1 proposal on a new national standard for ozone, or smog.

As you are probably aware, industry groups and their political friends are urging EPA to keep the current smog standard of 75 parts per billion set in 2008.  This is pretty much the same pitch the polluters made in 2011. 

Then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent the following excellent letter to Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), noting her concern that the 2008 standard was "not legally defensible." (Jackson, as we know, was stopped by the White House because the President was running for re-election. Will EPA do the right thing this time?  Will it be able to measure up to Jackson?)

**
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460

The Honorable Thomas R. Carper United States Senate
Washington, D.C.  20510


JUL 1 3 2011 
 
THE ADMINISTRATOR


 Dear Senator Carper:
 
Thank you for your letter of July 11, 2011, regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's reconsideration of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, which is commonly known as "smog." I appreciate the opportunity to clarify why the Agency is undertaking a reconsideration of the 2008 standard, which had been set by the previous Administration.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Make Your Driving More Eco-Efficient

[Clean Air Watch periodically publishes guest posts of possible interest.  Today's guest post is by Holly Chavez]


In an Eco-friendly world where we are conscious about preserving the environment, most people want to do all they can to save Mother Earth. However, driving a ‘Green’ vehicle can be costly, and you may not recover your costs when it comes to fuel efficiency for years to come.

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Top 10 Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

[Clean Air Watch periodically publishes guest posts of possible interest.  Today's guest post is by Holly Chavez]


The Top 10 Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

America’s love affair with automobile transportation is dwindling, and conscientious people are looking to find alternatives to using their vehicles. Many government officials and private organizations, such as the Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle, are taking notice of the trend and constantly working to upgrade city streets and park trails to accommodate cyclists. Here are the 10 top cities that extend a friendly welcome and show support for bike riding within their borders.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Which Technologies Will Help Us Achieve a More Sustainable Future?

[Clean Air Watch periodically publishes guest posts of possible interest.  Today's guest post is by Jennifer Smith]


Nowadays, technology has become such an important part of our world that many people are unable to function without it. This includes everything from mobile phones to laptops and everything else in between. However, an equally important part of today’s world is the need to become more eco-friendly, as more and more people are beginning to realize what their carbon footprint is doing to Planet Earth.  

There are all kinds of products out there that can help you to be more eco-friendly, and to reduce your energy usage. There’s a lot to be said for doing this as well, as you’ll not only save money but will be able to know that you’re doing your bit. 

So, whether you love your tech and want to make it less impactful on the environment, or if you just want to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible, here are some of the best eco technologies available at the moment:

Monday, July 28, 2014

MIT Study: Smog Pollution Must Be Addressed Along with Climate Change

We came across a very important study this morning by MIT researchers:

Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/climate-change-air-pollution-will-combine-curb-food-supplies-0727

Here is a quick excerpt of the release MIT put out yesterday:

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops.
 
  
A new study involving researchers at MIT shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.  [emphasis added]

As we are reminded by this week's hearing on carbon pollution, the US EPA is very mindful of the global warming issue. 

But when is it going to get serious and address the need to set science-based new smog standards?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Report: Diesel Pollution Controls Really Work! Congress and White House, Please Take Note!


A new report confirms something that may seem obvious to some -- using pollution control devices on big diesel engines really cuts emissions -- and reduces public exposure to a very dangerous pollutant.  http://bit.ly/1sUs5WM

The report, by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, www.nescaum.org , tracked the results of putting diesel pollution control devices on buses in metropolitan Boston early in the last decade.  The good news?  Emissions of dangerous black carbon soot particles dropped significantly as the pollution controls were put into place.  This was fantastic news, especially for those living near a bus depot in Roxbury.

What's the bad news?  Well, it's not in this report, but the bad news is that the Obama administration keeps trying to slash funding for similar cleanup programs elsewhere. (In government jargon, it seeks to zero out funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Program.)  Each year in the past few, Congress has scrapped over restoring a relative pittance to the cleanup program, which relies on government spending.  (Although new diesel engines are very clean, existing ones are not -- and are exempt from mandatory federal cleanup requirements.)

Black carbon, by the way, is also a potent "climate forcing" pollutant, so reductions in it help reduce the climate change problem, at least in the short term.

We can only hope that Congress takes note -- and that the White House stops its ill-conceived efforts to terminate diesel cleanup spending.  There are still far too many dirty diesels still on the road!


 

 


 
 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

False Advertising? Why the Air Quality Index is Wrong – and Needs to be Updated


Throughout the summer, we often hear about the “Air Quality Index” or AQI.
The index, originated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is supposed to represent the government’s Official Seal of Approval – or Disapproval – on the quality of the air we breathe.  According to the EPA,    “The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.” http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi

But does it really?
In fact, the current AQI for smog, or ozone, doesn’t reflect the best and most recent science.  As a result, it dramatically understates the risk to the breathing public.  "Code Yellow" is nowhere near as safe as you might think.

At Clean Air Watch, we believe the public has the right to know if the air we breathe is safe.  Until the government updates the AQI based on the best science, that’s not the case.  Right now, some might call it false advertising.

Friday, June 27, 2014

EPA Science Advisers: Current Smog Standard Way Too Weak -- In Fact, Even the Top of Our Recommended Range May Be Illegally Weak!


EPA's Science Advisers have finally weighed in officially with a recommendation on what the EPA should do to change national health standards for ozone, commonly referred to as smog.  And their letter is a doozy: the scientists not only note that the current standard of 75 parts per billion is too weak -- but that the top part of their own recommended range (60 to 70) may be illegally weak as well!

This recommendation could pose a real dilemma for EPA, whose management has seemed skittish about this key public health issue since a Running-for-Reelection President Obama and his White House henchmen killed an effort in 2011 to set a tougher standard of 70.  (Don't believe me about the skittish remark?  Do a search and find out how often EPA politicos have talked about ozone since 2011.) 

It's going to be tough for EPA to sweep this issue under the rug in light of the scientists' letter.

Based partly on more recent scientific evidence, the scientists assert that even a standard of 70 would mean "adverse" health effects "including decrease in lung function, increase in respiratory symptoms, and increase in airway inflammation" and that "it may not meet the statutory requirement to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety." EPA's staff health risk assessment on this issue noted earlier that smog causes death and disease -- and that the tougher the standard, the lower the expected death rate.

The "policy advice" of the science advisers: set a standard tougher than 70.

A reluctant EPA is under a court order to propose a decision on this issue by December of this year and to make a final decision by October 2015.   

The full letter is here: http://1.usa.gov/1pGKtjO

Read on for a few highlights from the letter:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Son of Solyndra? Green Groups See Red Over DOE Boondoggle Energy Loan Guarantee Plan

No one yet is calling it the "Son of Solyndra." 

But green groups, both national and local, are furious about a proposed U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program ostensibly designed to promote "green" energy projects. 

Last month, DOE re-launched the multi-billion dollar loan guarantee program which had been pretty quiet in recent years following earlier controversies. "We're back in business," as one DOE official told Reuters.  But the revived program, ostensibly designed to support projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, is facing flak -- not so much (yet) from predictable conservative groups, but from green groups who believe some of the potential projects could actually undermine the Obama Administration's goals. Green groups are particularly upset about federal money going to support garbage and biomass burning.

The public comment period on the program closed yesterday, and green groups have filed a series of blistering letters in opposition.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Health Groups to EPA Science Advisers: Don't Let EPA Weenie Out on a New National Smog Standard; New Health Science Shows It Should be Tougher Than What You Recommended During the Bush Era

Major health groups sent the following letter this week to EPA's science advisers, who will meet May 28 to discuss an official recommendation to EPA regarding how protective a new national smog, or ozone, standard should be.  The health groups make it clear: more recent science argues in a compelling way for a more protective standard than the one recommended by the science advisers during the Bush EPA era.  Here is the letter:


American Lung Association • American Public Health Association
American Thoracic Society • Trust for America’s Health
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America • Health Care Without Harm
National Association of County and City Health Officials
 
 
May 19, 2014
 
H. Christopher Frey, PhD, Chair
And Members, Ozone Review Panel 
Clean Air Act Scientific Advisory Committee
C/o Dr. Holly Stallworth stallworth.holly@epa.gov
 
Dear Dr. Frey and panel members:
We national organizations representing medical societies, public health and patient advocacy organizations write to provide comments to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee as you develop your final recommendations to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency on the second draft Policy Assessment for the Review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Your recommendations will deliver critical advice to the EPA and therefore, must be founded in the strongest requirement of the Clean Air Act: that the NAAQS protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.
Our organizations strongly urge you to recommend a standard or a range for that standard that will meet the Clean Air Act requirement, one that is much more protective than the recommendation included in the second draft Policy Assessment. Our organizations urge you to recommend a range for the 8-hour ozone standard that extends no higher than 60 ppb.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Guest Post: Driverless Cars: Environmentally Friendly -- But are They Safe?

[Clean Air Watch periodically accepts guest posts of possible interest to readers. Today's post on driverless cars comes from Nadine Tate-Swayne]


Modern technology continues to improve the auto industry by leaps and bounds. People who own new or almost new cars today have become accustomed to having such high-tech luxuries as satellite radio, GPS navigation, and voice-activated telephone dialing.

However, one of the most innovative improvements to hit the auto industry involves self-navigated systems that make the cars of tomorrow driverless. Indeed, driverless automobiles will soon be introduced to the masses as a select few industry insiders have already witnessed firsthand how this revolutionary invention can change the way people own and drive cars.

Even as the technology dazzles automobile insiders, however, the question still remains as to how safe these cars truly are. Tech experts, both inside and outside of the automobile manufacturing world, consider these factors when gauging how safe these vehicles are to own and use.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Draft Letter from EPA Science Advisers: Current National Smog Standard is Too Weak; TBA How Tough We Think It Should Be

As you may recall, EPA's science advisers have begun reviewing the science behind EPA's national clean air standards for ozone. When we last left the scientists, they had not firmed up an official recommendation to EPA's political leadership http://bit.ly/1mRbqzY .

The scientists will reconvene May 28.  Ahead of that meeting, they have begun to review a draft letter of recommendation, and the draft is very revealing http://1.usa.gov/SSWpEY .

Although this is not official policy or recommendation, the draft does suggest a consensus on one point: that the current national smog standard, 75 parts per billion set by EPA in 2008, is too weak.  Yet to be determined: exactly how tough a new standard should be.  The draft does note that the tougher a standard is, the more premature deaths would be prevented.  And that there is evidence that asthmatic children would benefit from a much improved standard.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Business, health and enviro groups team up to fight weakening of diesel controls in California


[editor's note: they buried the proverbial lede in the following release, but it remain an important topic as California considers changes that could weaken its crucial diesel cleanup program]
 
Contact:  Chris Miller
202-257-8691
202-296-8086x7
 
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Manufacturers, truck owners, and public health, science and environmental groups called on the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to continue making progress on cleaning up pollution from heavy-duty trucks and buses.  The ARB is holding a hearing starting at 9am to consider amendments to the successful truck and bus rule, which has resulted in approximately 50,000 retrofits and reduced several thousand tons of particulate matter (PM) pollution to date.   

Chris Miller, Executive Director of the Advanced Engine Systems Institute, said, “We urge ARB to be consistent and continue to strengthen implementation of the truck and bus rule.  This is an important issue for those truckers who have already acted in good faith to install or buy advanced pollution control equipment and for the manufacturers of that equipment who deserve the regulatory certainty necessary for investing in clean air technologies." 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ICYMI: Manufacturers Fire Another Volley in Campaign to Block Tougher Smog Standards


This is part of a coordinated polluter campaign aimed at torpedoing EPA efforts to set tougher national smog standards:   


 In recent weeks, business groups have also:  

--asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the already too weak smog standards set by the Bush administration in 2008.

--sought to dissuade EPA’s science advisers from endorsing tougher standards

--enlisted local elected officials to press their case with the science advisers (even to the point of instigating obvious Astro-turf communications to the advisers)

--obviously orchestrated House and Senate attacks on EPA “secret science” (or do you really think congressional aides have enough time between pouring cups of coffee for their bosses to research and write up this stuff on their own?)                                                                                                       

I realize virtually all the media and big environmental group focus is on carbon.  But I would not ignore this issue.  Obviously the business groups aren’t.

 

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

News From Texas: New Study Links Fracking to Dallas-Fort Worth Smog


                                                                                                                       
 
For More Information:                                                                               
Jim Schermbeck,
Downwinders at Risk   
 
                                                                                                                         806.787.6567/schermbeck@aol.com            

          
Citizens Win First Public Airing of UNT Study Linking Fracking to DFW Smog This Thursday

 
Results contradict state officials’ claims that gas industry pollution has no significant impact on the region’s chronic smog

 
(Arlington) Results of new UNT study linking fracking pollution to DFW’s chronic smog problem will be presented at this Thursday’s regional clean air meeting in Arlington after local citizens groups fought for its inclusion on the agenda.

According to its author, the report directly contradicts the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) assertion that Barnett Shale mining and production pollution has no significant impact on local ozone levels.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Putin Ploy Prevented -- at Least in the U.S.!

Here is a quick update for those of you who have been following the attempt by Russia to delay for five year the pollution control requirements for new big ships within 200 miles of the U.S. coast: http://www.cleanairwatch.org/2014/03/putins-pollution-ploy-showdown-with.html

At a meeting today in London http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/08-MEPC66preview.aspx#.Uz691FJOVI0 , an international maritime body officially rejected Russian leader Vladimir Putin's pollution ploy.

The bottom line: the U.S. will be able to enforce pollution control standards in 2016 as originally planned in the 200-mile "emission control areas."  That means any big ship built in 2016 and later which enters these clean-ship areas must meet strict standards for smog-forming nitrogen oxides. (There is an exemption for so-called "super yachts," whose owners perhaps will spend money to influence U.S. elections rather than clean up their ships.  The U.S. had not planned to regulate them in the same way anyway.)

The outcome is a victory for breathers in the U.S. Unfortunately, the international body did agree to a compromise that could delay similar health safeguards for those living in Baltic countries and others without existing "emission control areas."

So Putin did get something this week other than a divorce.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Guest Posting: Don't Want to Own a Car, but Public Transit Not for You? Try Community Lifts


(Periodically we carry guest posts of possible interest to readers  Today's guest author is Teresa Stewart.  We welcome different perspectives.)


There was once a time in American history where people didn't need automobiles to get from Point A to Point B. After the invention of the car, large cities and the Interstate system, however, a vehicle is now more of a necessity than a luxury. In larger cities though, such as New York, it's very easy to get around via public transportation. Regardless of convenience, there are still many who prefer not to use these methods of mass transit. Fortunately, there are now methods of getting from Point A to B that can save people money while simultaneously allowing them to avoid purchasing their own vehicle or taking mass transit.
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Putin's Pollution Ploy! A Showdown with Russia -- Not Over the Crimea, but Big-Ship Pollution Standards


I want to alert you to a very interesting showdown next week: The United States versus Russia! 

But this isn’t over the Crimea or Snowden. No, it’s about a U.S. attempt to persuade an international body to say nyet to a Russian plan to postpone important international air pollution standards for five years.  Yes, this is Putin’s Pollution Ploy! 

As some of you may recall, in a preliminary skirmish, the Russians persuaded an international panel last year to postpone emission controls on smog-forming nitrogen oxides from big sea-going ships for five full years – until 2021.  http://www.cleanairwatch.org/2013/05/from-russia-with-love-dirty-air-along.html

Thursday, March 27, 2014

EPA Science Advisers ALMOST Urge Tougher National Smog Standards Than Lisa Jackson Had Sought, But...


After several days of reviewing detailed science on ozone (smog), EPA’s independent science advisers today appeared to be on the verge of urging the agency to set an even tougher national smog standard than then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sought to set in 2011.  But the push for a tougher standard came to a screeching halt – at least for now -- when one panel member objected.

Just a very quick review of the numbers: in 2008, the Bush EPA set a standard of 75 parts per billion, averaged over an 8-hour period.  EPA’s science advisers had urged a standard between 60 and 70.   After years of reconsidering the issue, Jackson tried to reduce the standard to 70, but was stopped by the White House.  

(The President claimed that EPA would reconsider the issue in 2013.  Obviously that did not happen, but the EPA is again reviewing the question. Health and environmental groups have gone to court to seek to compel the EPA to set a final standard by October 2015. A court hearing on that is scheduled April 8.) 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

ICYMI: An Odious and Quite Naked Attempt by a Polluter-Friendly Congressman to Intimidate EPA Science Advisers

This letter, by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, appears to be a pretty naked attempt to intimidate EPA's science advisers -- and the EPA itself -- on the eve of an important science adviser meeting to review EPA's efforts to update and toughen national smog standards. http://1.usa.gov/1dtyyiN

Smith -- should we mention? -- is a darling of the oil industry, which seeks to block EPA from setting tougher smog standards. Recent campaign contributors include Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, among others, according to Federal Election Commission data cited by the Center for Responsive Politics. http://bit.ly/1ijoLjw

Yes, this is all part of a polluter-driven D.C. game (as was another polluter-driven report released yesterday by another oil industry favorite, Senator Vitter http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=8c1a4f79-eca0-f9d2-9636-b7286f3389a5 ) aimed at derailing tougher smog standards.




Monday, March 03, 2014

Clean Air Watch Hails EPA "Tier 3" Clean-Fuel, Clean-Car Standards


Dear friends,

 Now that EPA has posted the information online http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tier3.htm  I guess it is fair to comment on the agency’s final “Tier 3” clean-gasoline, clean-car standards.  No doubt many people will be commenting today, so I will keep this short on behalf of Clean Air Watch.   If you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to email.
 
--Frank O’Donnell
President, Clean Air Watch


**

This is a great day for the breathing public!  This could prove to be the signature clean-air accomplishment of the entire Obama second term.

Without any doubt, this is the most significant move to protect public health that the EPA will make this year. 

Emission Control Companies Praise EPA "Tier 3" Standards, Cite Health and Economic Benefits



Tier 3 Regulations Will Generate Cleaner Cars, Healthier Air and More US Jobs, Says World’s Leading Manufacturers of Emission Control Technology:

Washington, DC, March 3, 2014 – “We commend the EPA for its leadership in acting to improve the air we breathe and stimulate the economy by adopting Tier 3,”  said Tim Regan, President of the Emission Control Technology Association which represents the world’s leading developers of emission control technology.  “Rarely does Government have an opportunity, as it does with Tier 3, to make such a significant, immediate improvement in the lives of all Americans.  As an industry, we are proud to stand with the Administration and a broad coalition of organizations in supporting these new rules.”

“ECTA is pleased, too, that the study we commissioned from Navigant Economics provided critical economic analysis showing that these regulations will not adversely impact consumers, but will stimulate billions of dollars in economic activity and create thousands of new jobs,” Regan added.  “Furthermore, the adoption of Tier 3 will enable domestic environmental technology manufacturers to produce new technologies for the U.S. market and export them to foreign markets with similar automobile standards, including Europe, Japan and Korea – and, over time, other significant markets.”

“Tier 3 is a winner for millions of American who regularly breathe unhealthy air and for the thousands of workers who will benefit from an enhanced manufacturing sector,” Regan added.

For More Information Contact:  Tim Regan (202-661-4155) or David Bushnell (202-288-8349)

 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guest Posting: Crash! The Hidden Dangers of Gas Sipping Minicars


(Clean Air Watch periodically accepts guest postings that we find informative or provocative. The following piece by guest writer Holly Chavez is certainly both!  We welcome comments and other views.)


There’s a lot of small cars out there. They are gaining popularity as they become even more fuel-efficient, and the only vehicles that outsell them are midsize models. People usually buy them because they are looking to save costs or are environmentally conscious. Small vehicles are usually less expensive than larger ones and are usually cheaper to insure. They also offer a lot of green benefits because they don't burn as many fossil fuels as large autos; this in turn leads to a smaller carbon footprint and better air quality.
 

Small cars have a lot going for them, but are they safe? The answer to that question lies in a recent batch of crash safety tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The results are surprising because many of the vehicles didn't pass an important crash test that is an indicator of how well the manufacturer structures the car to protect its occupants from a collision to the front of the vehicle. One of the small groups that did poorly was the minicar.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is Big Oil Flying the White Flag of Surrender on "Tier 3" Clean-Gas, Clean-Car Standards?

Dear friends,

Perhaps the oil industry is now resigned to its fate. I am talking about new EPA smog-fighting “Tier 3” standards that will require cleaner gasoline and cleaner new vehicles.

That’s the only way I can account for the email, below, that API chief Jack Gerard sent out this morning. It looks as if Gerard is flying the white flag of surrender and simply asking for surrender terms.

As I and many others have noted repeatedly, this EPA plan is the best and most effective smog-fighting tool available. (If you need more, please let me know!)

We are hoping that EPA issues a final rule as soon as possible – this week!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Guest Posting: Keep Your Home Free From Pests While Protecting Your Family and Pets

From time to time we receive "guest" contributions that we think might be of interest to those seeking a greener lifestyle. In the piece below, Sarah Smith explains how to keep your home free from pests -- while protecting family and pets.


Nobody likes the thought of sharing their home with insects or rodents. However, the thought of having toxic substances introduced into their home to minimize these pests is of great concern to those who are concerned about the health of their family and the effects of these chemicals on the environment. While many pest control services offer greener alternatives from harsh chemicals, there are steps that you can take that will help reduce the need to rely on these exterminator services.

Monday, February 03, 2014

EPA Staff Confirms: Current National Smog Standard is Too Weak


For those of you tracking the progress of EPA’s review of national air standards for smog (ozone), please note the EPA has posted its most recent staff analyses this morning (under “policy assessments” and “risk and exposure assessments” at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/ozone/s_o3_index.html

This “second draft” policy assessment – an effort by EPA’s career experts to distill a great mass of scientific information – confirms one big this: the current national standard for ozone is too weak and should be made tougher.  (The current standard, set in 2008, is 75 parts per billion)  EPA’s staff has also concluded that going down to a standard of 60 would provide the biggest health benefits – that is, reduce premature death and sickness from smog.
 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

At Long Last, EPA Reaches Milestone in Review of National Smog Standard


Here is an action that is long overdue:  At long last, the US EPA is about to show some progress in its much-delayed review of national air quality standards for smog—you remember, President Obama declared several years ago that EPA would complete action on this issue in 2013

The following notice on this is slated to appear in tomorrow’s Federal Register:


 This is far from final action, of course.  But it is a significant milestone.  EPA will be releasing new draft exposure, risk and policy assessments.  These are intended to reflect our increased knowledge of the dangers of ozone compared to what was known when the more recent Bush administration set a standard of 75 parts per billion in 2008.
 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Guest Posting: Get the Whole Family Involved in Living a Green Apartment Lifestyle

Ever wonder how to live "greener" in an apartment?  We received this interesting guest posting from Tracie Owens on that very topic:

We generate more than 250 million tons of solid waste each year, adding to landfills and wasting resources, according to the EPA. Solar cells and rainwater collection systems are trendy ways for families to live a greener lifestyle, but if you live in an apartment your options for home improvement are limited. If you want to teach your kids how to leave a smaller carbon footprint, leading by example is an excellent start. The following advice will help everyone treat the environment with a little more respect.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Guest Post: EPA Must Do More to Fix Health Menace Posed by Wood Heaters

Clean Air Watch recently hailed a proposal by the US EPA to move ahead with long-delayed plans to require lower-polluting residential wood heating devices. http://www.cleanairwatch.org/2014/01/clean-air-watch-hails-epa-proposal-to.html#more

Our comments weren't meant to condone past EPA inaction on this topic, merely to encourage the agency to get off the dime and deal with this problem going forward. 

But some people directly harmed by wood smoke want EPA to do more to deal with this health menace.  In the following guest commentary. Mr. Gary Mastroeni of Syracuse, N.Y., explains why.


I was dismayed to see your praise of the EPA’s long overdue effort to limit emissions from residential wood heaters.  You and your organization should be criticizing the EPA for dragging its feet for decades regarding this issue.  How many millions of defective wood burning devices have been sold over the past two decades?  Devices that will continue to emit high levels of toxic emissions for at least the next two decades.  How many millions of innocent Americans will develop lung cancer, or other lung diseases because they live next to one of these polluting devices that the EPA let manufacturers' unscrupulously market?