Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clean Air Act

Open letter to President Obama:

Dear President Obama,
It was with great relief and gratitude that we welcomed, at long last, a clarion call in your inaugural address to "respond to the threat of climate change" — the greatest threat, challenge, and opportunity of our time.
We thank you for these words, because your words are powerful, and necessary for change. But words are not enough. We need action.
Mr. President, you are the first leader in our history who will be judged by what you do — or do not do — to protect your people from the already-begun ravages and disruptions brought about by fossil fuels.
So far, Mr. President, you are failing in the face of our earth heating up, and the damage accelerating.
Just a few months ago, we witnessed New York and New Jersey swallowed up by our still-rising oceans. Our worsening nationwide drought, after the hottest year on record, is clear evidence that our planet is not healing, but is hurtling toward greater climate disruption.
The simple truth is that you will continue failing in the fight against climate change, as long as you continue an energy policy which treats equally the fuels that are hurting us and those that will save us. To meet your call on climate change, your "all of the above" energy policy must end.
Your support for fracking and drilling, coal mines and pipelines, continues to obliterate the progress you could be making with your administration's gas mileage rule, or your investments in renewable energy. Even if you finally issue a carbon pollution rule that addresses existing sources of pollution, it will mean nothing if you are simultaneously lighting the fuses on carbon bombs by approving the Keystone XL pipeline, Arctic drilling, or fossil fuel export projects.
You must use the power of your office and our federal lands to stop promoting fossil fuel development, and reject these projects outright.
While we recognize that a majority in the House of Representatives are clearly not on the side of science or sanity, you can and must find a way — within Congress or the power of your office — to end fossil fuel subsidies and giveaways, and put a price on all greenhouse gas pollution, so that fossil fuel executives can no longer get rich from the destabilization of our climate, and so fossil-free energy can thrive. If Congress remains in the way, you must fight to change Congress.
You must invest significantly in sustainable sources of energy as part of a plan to rapidly transition our nation from fossil fuels. And these efforts should be coupled with resources to help our cities, states and industries prepare for the damage that climate change is already bringing. (The $50 billion Sandy relief package and the drought's impacts on food prices are just two painful reminders that the cost of inaction is enormous, and untenable.)
Confronting climate change also happens to be our best opportunity to create the broad-based economic revitalization that your policies have largely failed to achieve. This is not simply an empty trope of idealistic environmentalists, it is the truth.
Mr. President, we are urging you to do as our other Illinois president did when confronted with the great moral issue of his time: to take bold, decisive action to end one great societal ill, changing the economy in the process, and usher in a new era of American freedom, security and prosperity.
This is the moment. We will support you. But you must lead and take action, starting first and foremost with your rejection of the presidential permit required by the Keystone XL pipeline, which is your decision and yours alone.
Becky Bond, Political Director, CREDO
Michael Kieschnick, President and CEO, CREDO
Elijah Zarlin, Senior Campaign Manager, CREDO

Dear Friend,
The Obama administration is facing a December 14 deadline to update the Clean Air Act with safer limits on soot pollution, a dangerous form of particulate air pollution from power plants, diesel engines and factories.
We shouldn't need to convince President Obama of the importance of clean air, but after his decision last September to torpedo the EPA's ozone rule — throwing public health and his own EPA under the bus in a naked pander to major polluters — we can no longer assume his commitment.1
There is essentially no safe level of soot pollution, and the current rules are badly in need of updating after President Bush refused to honor the last deadline in 2006.
President Obama shouldn't drag his feet, too. In his first post-election clean air test, he can set a precedent for strong defense of the Clean Air Act in his second term.
Soot — also known as "black carbon" — clouds our air and our lungs, causing asthma and heart attacks. Itis potentially linked to a host of other illnesses, including cancer and reproductive problems.
Stronger standards can save up to 35,700 lives and prevent 1.4 million asthma attacks and 2,350 heart attacks each year, producing EPA-estimated health benefits of $30 to $86 for every dollar invested in pollution control.2
Not only that, but black carbon is the second leading cause of global warming, after carbon dioxide. Meaningful reductions can be achieved with existing technology, and the vast majority of counties in the U.S. would be unaffected by the new rules.
We need to urge the White House to pass the strongest possible soot rule by the deadline — not weaken, delay or fully derail the rule entirely.
Thank you for urging President Obama to protect our air.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Our country has literally no limits on the carbon pollution that is causing catastrophic climate change and that is freely spewed by power plants.
Yesterday, The Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed a rule to change that. Unfortunately, not by very much.1
The EPA's first ever rule limiting carbon pollution — known as the Carbon Pollution Standard — applies only to unlikely-to-be-built, new coal-fired power plants. It is riddled with loopholes allowing new sources of pollution including some new coal plants. It does nothing to reduce carbon pollution from much more significant existing sources.
It's sad that our political climate has been made so toxic by climate change denying Republicans — who literally voted to deny the science of climate change2 — that the very acknowledgement of the need to regulate carbon pollution by EPA is a victory and a positive step forward.
But in today's actual climate — where much of our country just experienced record-shattering March heat waves after a disturbing lack of winter — it is not nearly enough. It is not only disappointing but profoundly dangerous that this rule does little if anything to effectively reduce unregulated climate pollution.
The EPA will now accept public comments on the rule — and as it weighs the public's reaction, we need to show that we expect much, much more from EPA to regulate carbon pollution.
Having proposed a rule for new power plants, the EPA is now legally required to develop a rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants, a much more significant source.
But even in yesterday's announcement, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson — who has been one of the few people in the Obama administration willing to fight to address climate change and defend the Clean Air Act — appeared to have her hands tied when it came to moving forward on rules that would address existing power plants, literally saying in a press conference, "we have no plans to regulate existing sources."3
If EPA fails to take action on existing power plants, then the measured progress represented by yesterday's rule will go down in history as a symbolic though essentially empty gesture.
EPA Administrator Jackson is to be commended for her leadership on this rule, despite a begrudging White House whose hand was forced by a court mandate, and a Tea Party Republican majority in Congress so openly hostile and obstructionist to climate change policies that their continued tenure is a literal threat to our future survival.
That this rule was all the EPA could muster in the face of the clear and present danger of climate change and extreme weather shows the fierce urgency of changing our political climate in order to achieve the stable climate we need to survive.
That's why CREDO is fighting back on two fronts. We're already working through the CREDO SuperPAC to change the political climate by defeating anti-science, climate change denying Republicans in the House who have so effectively blocked Congress and EPA from taking the bold action necessary to fight climate change.4 And we're pushing back on today's announcement with public comments to the EPA asking for a stronger greenhouse gas rule that does what's necessary to dramatically reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.
We encourage you to take a hard look at yesterday's announced rule, which while symbolically important, is clearly weak in a number of important respects.
The carbon pollution limit for new power plants — 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour of energy produced — is low enough to limit new coal fired power plants, but high enough not to affect natural gas plants.5
But because of the rising cost of coal, the low price of natural gas, and the tireless work of activists across the country raising concerns about the health and climate impacts of coal, we've already been able to block all new coal power plants. This rule does serve as an additional roadblock against building new coal plants if the economics of coal become favorable again, but otherwise, the rule essentially codifies the status quo — making into regulation the facts on the ground already established by the hard work of community and environmental activists.
Also, the rule exempts carbon pollution that is created by burning biomass — which can have higher greenhouse gas emissions than coal — and even allows new coal plants to continue polluting freely for ten years, if they install carbon capture and storage (CCS) system, which remains an unproven technology.6
Tell the EPA: We need stronger rules to protect us from existing and future sources of carbon pollution. Click below to submit a comment to the EPA:
It's important to acknowledge progress. And to be upfront about the massive barriers that block even the most modest measures to address climate change. But it's also essential that we recognize that fighting climate change is one of the most urgent challenges facing us as a nation and a planet. Nothing less than bold action is required, and we must not be satisfied with symbolic but essentially empty gestures no matter how hard won.
At CREDO we will continue to fight climate change on every front. We'll take direct action to stop the northern and southern legs of Keystone XL. We'll work with community activists to shut down dirty coal plants. We'll have President Obama's back when his administration stands up to Republican obstructionists on climate. And we'll hold his administration accountable when they fall short. We'll defeat climate change denying Tea Party Republicans who are running for reelection. And we'll push hard for a Greenhouse Gas Rule that does what scientists say we must do if we are going to start to slow the planet's disastrous warming.
We hope you will continue to stand with us.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

No comments:

Post a Comment