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John Walke's Posts

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Extreme pollution agenda in Senate targets lifesaving clean air standards

Is this the GOP's vision of a happy, healthy future?Image: Devin HuntCross-posted from Natural Resources Defense Council. Last week, the U.S. Senate rejected an extreme agenda disguised as a jobs and transportation bill. This unsuccessful effort was founded on the absurd notion that more pollution would mean more jobs, and that what the country really needs is more of the congressional paralysis and obstructionism that already wearies and disgusts Americans. This week, the Senate will vote again on repealing life-saving pollution standards -- this time a Tea Party-backed attack on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that keeps out-of-state smog and …

Read more: Politics, Pollution

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Obama pulls a Bush on clean air

Obama is the new Bush when it comes to clean air.Photo: Hrag VartanianCross-posted from Natural Resources Defense Council. In the most outrageous environmental offense of the Obama administration, the president himself has intervened politically to block the Environmental Protection Agency from correcting an unprotective smog standard that the head of EPA recognizes to be scientifically and legally indefensible [PDF]. The president's own rationale for interference defies the Clean Air Act and a unanimous Supreme Court decision, elevating unlawful considerations above public health, science, and the law. The president's intervention is compounded by grievous legal and factual errors. The president sided with Big Oil and other polluters based …

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GOP's dirty air hit list sacrifices Americans' health

Photo: Thanh Mai Bui DuyCross-posted from Natural Resources Defense Council. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) recently announced his legislative priorities for the upcoming months, and they consist of the same old reckless attacks on health and environmental safeguards for all Americans. Creating an apocalyptically titled hit list of his "Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations," Cantor takes aim at an astonishing 12 clean air safeguards, and five other labor, environmental, and health care standards. But problems with basic arithmetic are the least of the concerns with this "top 10" list. For every year that these 12 clean air safeguards are blocked …

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Industry exaggerates pressure to meet Clean Air Act standards

Cross-posted from Natural Resources Defense Council. Industry lobbyists are cynically exploiting anxieties over current economic conditions to oppose Americans' right to be protected against unhealthy smog pollution. Because they don't have the facts or science or law on their side, these lobbyists have been reduced to misrepresenting the way the Clean Air Act works and its extended timelines for reducing pollution. The truth is that polluting industries will have many years to reduce harmful smog pollution, well past the current period of economic challenge. Strengthening smog standards will benefit Americans and the economy by saving thousands of lives and avoiding hundreds of …

Read more: Pollution

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GOP attacks the EPA for doing its job

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. House Republicans insist on accusing the Obama administration of suffering from some kind of regulatory spasm. But they refuse to acknowledge that the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is following federal laws and court orders -- orders issued when the Bush administration failed to abide by the law. By following the law today we will save tens of thousands of lives and avoid hundreds of thousands of illnesses. In order to understand the basic falsehood of conservative complaints that the Obama administration EPA is out-of-control, it is vital to understand first the Bush …

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Utilities and Joe Barton: 'Ignore the science: Pollution isn't bad for you!'

Take a deep breath and relax!Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. You decide. In choosing whether to enforce current law to dramatically reduce mercury, arsenic, lead, and nearly 100 other toxic air pollutants from power plants -- or instead to retreat from these health safeguards -- it comes down to this. Do you believe doctors at the American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, EPA scientists, and dozens of peer-reviewed studies that power plants' air pollution is very harmful and cleaning it up will deliver significant health benefits to all Americans, especially children? Or do you believe the …

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House Republicans attack life-saving mercury and air toxics standards

It would be irresponsible to deny clean air to the American people.Photo: BronxCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. And so it begins. Long a rumored dirty secret, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) confirmed today that House Republicans plan to introduce legislation to delay mercury and air toxics standards that will save up to 26,000 lives every year. The chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy and Power subcommittee told PoliticoPro [$ubreq] today that such a bill would be introduced after the two-week congressional recess. Whitfield admitted bluntly, "[t]he objective is to delay the implementation of these regulations." The EPA regulations he …

Read more: Pollution

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A little background on the EPA’s new mercury and air toxics rule

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Today, the EPA announced the most important actions to clean up air pollution from dirty coal-burning power plants since the Clean Air Act was last updated in 1990. EPA's proposed mercury and air toxics standards for power plants that burn coal and oil are projected to save as many as 17,000 American lives [PDF] every year by 2015. These standards also will prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and there will be 11,000 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children every year. The standards also will avoid more than 12,000 …

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Meet the members of Congress who sided with corporate polluters over children and your health

May not be safe to enter.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. For the first time in the 40 year history of the Clean Air Act, a majority of the House of Representatives has voted to block EPA from implementing and enforcing standards to sharply reduce mercury and other toxic air emissions from a polluting industry. In one of a long list of irresponsible amendments to last week's Republican budget, nearly all Republicans and a small group of Democrats voted to block EPA standards to reduce mercury, arsenic, lead, PCBs, dioxins and furans, and heavy metals from cement plants. Mercury …

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Dirty Air Deeds: The People's House is filthy

A chicken in every pot and an inhaler for every child.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Today I begin a regular series to highlight recent attempts and harmful actions to weaken protections against air pollution. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Cue the AC/DC. Abolishing EPA's ability to cut dangerous global warming pollution: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), joined by 46 cosponsors, introduced a bill in Congress to eliminate the EPA's ability to reduce any global warming pollution from any pollution sources. Seeking to overrule a Supreme Court decision that recognized the EPA's authority to address this pollution, the members offered …