Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blue Skies and Clear Air May Be a Thing of the Past

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the "Dirty Air Act", an extreme bill that would permanently strip the EPA of its power to hold polluters accountable under the Clean Air Act. This Act, backed by Big Oil and Dirty Coal and championed by House Republicans, would have disastrous effects on public health and our environment.

Please urge President Obama to make good on his pledge to veto this dangerous bill.

Please contact President Obama to urge him to stand firm on his pledge to veto this bill introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the "Dirty Air Act" passed the House with a vote of 255-172 and would:
  • Block the EPA from cutting carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources. Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the United States.

  • Overturn the EPA's scientific determination that global warming pollution poses threats to public health and welfare – essentially saying that Congress knows climate science better than the climate scientists themselves.

  • Prevent the EPA – and states – from issuing new standards for cleaner vehicles after 2017, and open up the 2012-2016 federal clean car standards to serious legal challenges. These standards are regarded as one of the easiest ways to cut our reliance on oil and save consumers money at the gas pump
Last year, the Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 premature deaths; 54,000 cases of chronic bronchitis; as well as 41,000 respiratory and 45,000 cardiovascular hospital admissions. It is estimated that if the EPA's ability to enforce clean air standards is weakened, thousands of Americans will die prematurely in the coming years due to toxic air pollution.

Please urge President Obama to make good on his pledge to veto this dangerous bill.

Big Oil, Dirty Coal, the auto industry and other dirty energy interests are working aggressively to render the EPA powerless to protect our air, water and land. Stop them now. They have done enough to pollute the air and water while making millions out of our suffering.

dirty smokestacks polluting the air
Clean Air Act by the Numbers

92% = Drop in airborne lead levels since 1980. The Clean Air Act called for an end to use of lead — an acute neurotoxin that lowers IQ in children and shortens lives — as a gasoline additive. (source)

60 = Number of U.S. metro areas that, without the Clean Air Act, would have higher total suspended particulate concentrations than present-day Moscow. Particulate pollution causes lung cancer, asthma, cardiovascular issues, and premature death. (source)

295 million
= Skin-cancer cases averted by 2075, courtesy of the Clean Air Act program eliminating use of ozone-depleting CFCs. (source)

= Quantifiable benefits generated by each dollar invested in Clean Air Act programs during the law’s first 20 years — that’s $523 billion in, $22 trillion out. (source)

= Benefits-to-cost ratio EPA expects from Clean Air Act programs, 1990–2020. (source PDF)

5% = Amount of tailpipe pollution produced by a typical late-model car, compared with older models. Clean Air Act programs spurred automakers to develop and deploy catalytic converters, computerized emissions-control systems, and other innovative technologies. (source)

13,000 = Lives still cut short each year by pollution from coal-fired power generation. The nation’s coal-burning power plants are the leading source of toxic mercury emissions, and half of them still lack scrubbers and other basic pollution control technologies. (source 1, source 2)

$100 billion = Annual cost of continuing adverse health impacts — deaths, hospitalizations, heart attacks, acute asthma attacks, lost work days — from dirty coal. (source)

2.5 million = Days of missed work or school averted by tightening the “smog rule,” which establishes allowable levels of ground level ozone, from 0.075 ppm to 0.060 ppm.

1.85 billion
= Barrels of oil saved over the lifetime of model-year 2012–2016 cars and light-duty trucks, under landmark greenhouse gas standards issued by EPA in April 2010.

960 million
= Tons of greenhouse gases conserved by these tailpipe standards, which stem from the Supreme Court's 2007 ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do meet the Clean Air Act definition of an air pollutant, and EPA's subsequent finding that greenhouse gases do indeed "endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations."

93% = Percentage of Congressional lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans both — voting Yes on 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, subsequently signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. It remains to be seen if, in today’s polarized political climate, this bipartisan tradition can be preserved or will crumble at the expense of all Americans.

via Environmental Defense Action Fund

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