Quantcast

Another Congressional Attack on Clean Air

Sierra Club

By Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign

Why should you care about the Cross State Air Pollution Rule? Because it could save your life, or the life of someone you love. Congress is continuing its attacks on clean air this week, and the latest target in their crosshairs is the life-saving Cross State Air Pollution Rule.

This clean air safeguard would require 27 states in the eastern half of the U.S. to improve air quality by addressing dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants that crosses state lines. It's an update of a system that has been in place in the eastern U.S. for decades and has successfully—and cost-effectively—cleaned up some of our worst sources of air pollution.

Unfortunately, some dirty coal plants have still not cleaned up, which is why these new protections are critical for improving our health. Coal utilities have known this update was coming for years, and they have had plenty of time to prepare.

Now Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to void this public health protection through a Congressional Review Act resolution (S.J. Res. 27), a fancy piece of Congressional maneuvering that would stop these much-needed, common-sense protections in their tracks. It's likely to come up for a vote Nov. 10.

The Cross State safeguard is estimated to provide $120 to $280 billion in annual benefits for the U.S., and is forecast to prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma every year.

We don't have to choose between public health and jobs. That's a false choice, as the White House pointed out Nov. 8 in their blog about this emerging threat.

The excuses of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule opponents are nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to hide their intentions of sacrificing public and environmental health in the name of enriching and protecting generous corporate polluters. Thankfully, President Barack Obama has said he will veto this measure if it reaches his desk. (PDF)

Sen. Paul's resolution would pick winners and losers among utility companies—those that have spent money to clean up pollution while this protection was in the making would lose out, while those that disregarded forthcoming laws and kept polluting would win.

Sen. Paul's resolution would be disastrous for our health, our air and the economy. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule is a much needed, long-overdue safeguard and any attempt to block or delay implementation should be opposed.

Congress needs to get out of the way and let the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do its job. This week EPA also sent its planned mercury and carbon pollution safeguards to the Office of Management and Budget for final approval.

The EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson are trying to protect our health and the environment. Americans want clean air and water. These new protections will save money and save lives. So why does Congress keep trying to block public health safeguards?

Contact your senator and tell her/him to defend the Cross State Air Pollution Rule.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sled dog teams pull researchers from the Danish Meteorological Institute through meltwater on the Greenland ice sheet in early June, 2019. Danish Meteorological Institute / Steffen M. Olsen

By Jon Queally

In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.

Read More Show Less
CAFOs often store animal waste in massive, open-air lagoons, like this one at Vanguard Farms in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bacteria feeding on the animal waste turns the mixture a bright pink. picstever / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tia Schwab

It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Members of the NY Renews coalition gathered before New York lawmakers reached a deal on the Climate and Communities Protection Act. NYRenews / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.

Read More Show Less
In this picture taken on June 4, an Indian boatman walks amid boats on the dried bed of a lake at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, on the eve of World Environment Day. Sam Panthaky / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.

Read More Show Less
A man carries a poster in New York City during the second annual nationwide March For Science on April 14, 2018. Kena Betancur / Getty Images

By Will J. Grant

In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.

People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

YinYang / E+ / Getty Images

In a blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled Monday to uphold a Virginia ban on mining uranium, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less
Ragú Old World Style Traditional is one of three flavors named in a voluntary recall. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Spaghetti with plastic sauce? That's what you might be eating if you pour one of three flavors of Ragú sauce over your pasta.

Mizkan America, the food company that owns Ragú, announced Saturday that it was voluntarily recalling some Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion, Old World Style Traditional and Old World Style Meat sauces because they might be contaminated with plastic fragments, The Today Show reported.

Read More Show Less
A butterfly in the National Butterfly Center, a private sanctuary for butterflies in southern Texas, on Jan. 22. Maren Hennemuth / picture alliance / Getty Images

While Trump's border wall has yet to be completed, the threat it poses to pollinators is already felt, according to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as reported by Transmission & Distribution World.

Read More Show Less