Big Oil and Coal Attack Clean Air Act

February 14th, 2010 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

GREENPEACE

Based On A Piece In The Monthly Newsletter

URGENT: Stop big polluters’ attacks on the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act is under attack by big polluters from the coal and oil industries who are trying to avoid having to reduce emissions.

Ketchican Pulp Mill, Ketchican, Southeast Alaska, 1971, by Philip Hyde. Ketchican Pulp Mill had been in violation of air pollution and other environmental laws since it opened in 1948. Louisiana-Pacific, parent company, and Ketchican Pulp Company, fought environmental regulation for many years to stay open, citing its supplying of close to 500 permanent jobs as an important reason to stay in business. But when the mill began to lose money in the 1990's, it was promptly closed. Ketchican Pulp Company had been Alaska's largest manufacturing company and the largest private employer in Southeast Alaska. Amid heated controversy, a new veneer plant opened on the site in 2000 with 20 employees. The new owner, Gateway Forest Products, harvested, peeled and sliced into green veneer old growth trees from the Tongass National Forest. The heavily taxpayer-subsidized operation lost money from inception and threatened fish, wildlife and water supplies for almost three years before also going defunct.

Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski recently declared her plan to exempt big polluters from the Clean Air Act. She introduced a resolution to roll back the EPA’s “endangerment finding” regarding greenhouse gas emissions – a finding required to continue to reduce global warming pollution through the Clean Air Act. Murkowski’s resolution was written by two well-connected industry lobbyists whose clients include major coal-burning utilities Duke Energy and the Southern Company. The Washington Post reports that both lobbyists, who were high-level officials at EPA under George W. Bush, even participated in a closed-door meeting last September to explain details of Murkowski’s plan to the staffers of some centrist Democrats.

The Clean Air Act has a proven track record for nearly 40 years of saving lives by reducing dangerous pollution. The EPA reported in 2007 that since 1980, the Clean Air Act has helped reduce lead pollution by 92 percent; ozone pollution by 25 percent; carbon monoxide pollution by 79 percent; and sulfur dioxide by 71 percent. These pollutants can damage the nervous system, aggravate chronic heart and lung disease and asthma, and cause breathing problems.

Not surprisingly, major polluters happen to be filling Senator Murkowski’s campaign coffers. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Murkowski is currently the top recipient of financial support from the electric utility industry for the 2009-2010 election cycle. Coal-fired power plants are some of the worst offenders of the Clean Air Act.

Our senators will choose either to stand up for the health of their constituents and the effectiveness of our environmental laws or to allow polluters to poison our air unchallenged. Please take a moment to contact your senators this week and urge them to oppose Sen. Murkowski’s plans to undermine the Clean Air Act.

Be Sociable, Share!
Advertisement

Leave a Reply