Yes, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does have an agenda: to provide clean air for Americans to breathe. Clean air is something we all want, all the time; when we go outside for a jog, when we send the kids out to play, or when we hit the trail with the family. In fact, when we visit mountain peaks, we often expect clean air. But air pollution, such as fine particles and ozone, are health hazards and can be transported even to remote mountains, spoiling views and inciting respiratory and cardiac symptoms and illness.
Some 40 years ago, a bi-partisan Congress made clean air part of the mission of the EPA by enacting the Clean Air Act (CAA), and the agency has since implemented this law appropriately with many examples of significant success. (See facts below.) The law is grounded in science and has aided our economy by creating jobs in clean-air technologies, to say nothing of saving hundreds of thousands of lives that would otherwise have been lost because of dirty air. Now we are poised to clean up yet another major group of air pollutants under the CAA that also comes from the burning of fossil fuels: greenhouse gases. But unfortunately, there are those in Congress who want to strip EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas pollutants, despite a US Supreme Court decision that prompted EPA’s scientific determination that this kind of man-made air pollution is harmful. AMC believes EPA should be left to do its job based on the science, not politics. Action to clean up this air pollution created by burning fossil fuels should not have to wait for a change in the political climate.
Some Clean Air Act Fast Facts:
Take Action: Call your Federal Senators and Representatives (find contact information here) and tell them to protect the Clean Air Act and EPA’s ability to regulate harmful pollutants, including greenhouse gases.
- From 1970 to 1990, the CAA provided a net gain to the American economy of 22 trillion dollars, yet prevented approximately 18 million child respiratory illnesses, 850,000 asthma attacks, 674,000 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 205,000 premature deaths
- The 1990 Acid Rain Amendments had a high benefit-cost ratio of 40:1, with compliance cost originally overestimated by billions of dollars
- From 1990 to 2010, the CAA provided a net gain to the American economy of 500 billion dollars, the overall the economy grew by 60% and major air pollutants were reduced by 40%
- The US clean air technology industry was valued at 30 billion dollars in 2004
- Expected clean air laws in 2011 are estimated to create about 290,000 jobs a year over the next five years while cleaning up harmful particles, ozone, acid rain, and mercury air pollution
Labels: CAN, clean air, conservation, Conservation Action Network