Wednesday, September 30, 2015

American Lung Assn. on VW: Recall those Dirty Cars and Demand Environmental Compensation

The American Lung Association has written the following letter about the Volkswagen cheater scandal to relevant federal and California authorities.  Clean Air Watch applauds the Lung Association's initiative and apologizes for any formatting glitches.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Quick Thoughts on the EPA Enforcement Action Against Volkswagen

By now you may have seen and read the EPA/California announcement of an enforcement action against Volkswagen: 

We applaud EPA and the state of California for moving aggressively to enforce the Clean Air Act.  Enforcement is critical to the quest for cleaner air.  Emission reductions must happen in the real world — not just on paper.

The charges here are truly appalling: that Volkswagen knowingly installed software that produced much higher smog-forming emissions from diesel vehicles in the real world than in pre-sale tests.  In the process, it was cheating not just car buyers but the breathing public.  Indeed, EPA asserts that the vehicles actually may be polluting “40 times” the permissible level!  This is unacceptable and really undercuts all the “clean diesel” rhetoric.

This case is sadly reminiscent of the “cheater truck” scandal of the 1990s that some of us remember all too well:  

Let’s hope VW moves swiftly to clean up its act.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: EPA Risk Report Noted That Dirty Air under an Ozone Standard of 70 Could Kill More People Than Would a Tougher Standard

The little chart below is from the 2014 EPA "Risk Assessment" which evaluated the health risks of dirty air under various possible ozone standards.  The report is at summary of EPA ozone risk assessment

EPA experts sought to apply several hypothetical standards to the 12 major specific cities noted below.

As you can see, more people risk death at an ozone level of 70 than at lower levels.  (EPA's assessment went down as far as 60 -- the standard supported by public health groups.)

The report examines other health risks as well.  In all cases, an ozone standard of 70 provides less public health protection than would a more restrictive standard.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Is A Smog Standard of 70 Really Good Enough? Here's What EPA's Science Advisers Said About the Need for a Tougher Smog Standard

...Although a level of 70 ppb is more protective of public health than the current standard [of 75], it may not meet the statutory requirement to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.
In this regard, the CASAC deliberated at length regarding advice on other levels that might be considered to be protective of public health with an adequate margin of safety. For example, the recommended lower bound of 60 ppb would certainly offer more public health protection than levels of 70 ppb or 65 ppb and would provide an adequate margin of safety. Thus, our policy advice is to set the level of the standard lower than 70 ppb within a range down to 60 ppb