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

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.