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Daily Action: Stop Trump from Gutting the EPA's Clean Air Protections


CONTACT:
EPA comment page: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190

Sample comment (please do not cut and paste):
"I'm 64 and I grew up in Los Angeles. I remember what it was like before the Clean Air Act was passed. We used to make jokes about the air quality like "UCLA, or you would if the smog went away!" Well, the smog has gone away. Don't change what works or we and our children will be reminded of what you did with every breath we take."


BACKGROUND
Under orders from President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency -- now led by notorious EPA opponent Scott Pruitt -- has begun a process of scouring its books for regulations it can eliminate. Doing so would threaten four decades of improvements to our air and water, and would exacerbate the threats we face from climate change -- all in the name of improving corporate bottom lines.

As part of its process, the EPA has issued a request for public comment and created the web page linked above. This comment period, which continues through May 15, offers an opportunity to defend the EPA's work from its own current administrators. The most effective comments will not be quick, snarky, or too similar to others (no cutting and pasting, please). They will be those that offer our personal perspectives on the importance of clean air and water -- tied to facts that express gratitude for the EPA's extraordinary successes through the years, and argue for its importance in ensuring a healthy environment in the years to come.

Commenters are not limited to a single submission! This week we encourage you to post as many times as possible on Clean Air issues; in the coming days we'll focus on Clean Water and climate change. The following are points of argument that you might recast in your own words:

  • The work of the EPA is vital to the health and well-being of life on the planet and human beings, and provides a major economic boost to world societies and the US. Its studies, regulations, and mitigation procedures make us a healthier, more productive and economically efficient society. We need the EPA to have more resources, not have them cut by the Trump Administration.
     
  • Since its inception in 1970, the EPA has:
    • cleaned pollution from numerous rivers
    • kept toxins out of drinking water and household products
    • removed CFCs from aerosols
    • saved numerous birds from extinction, including the Bald Eagle, by banning DDT
    • cut brain damage-causing lead from gasoline
    • cleaned up toxic waste sites around the nation
    • improved the quality of the air we breathe.
      Source: http://ehso.com/ehshome/epa-accomplishments.htm

      If we roll back EPA protections, we risk going back to times like these:
  • Cuyahoga River in Ohio catching fire in 1969  
  • Excessive levels of phosphorus in Lake Erie causing massive die-offs, leading to the slogan “Lake Erie is Dead”  
  • Major problems with acid rain; under the Clean Air Act's regulations, since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976.
  • The Bald Eagle was threatened with extinction until Rachel Carson’s research led to to the banning of DDT
  • Ozone levels in the atmosphere, heightened due to the proliferation of chlorofluorocarbons, were expected to cause massive increases in skin cancer rates. Thanks to an international effort to phase out CFCs, the ozone hole is now all but closed.

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION CONCERNING CLEAN AIR

  1. Asthma. An evaluation of clean air regulations should consider the economic and social costs of asthma, one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood, with costs to the U.S. — including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect costs, such as lost school and workdays — of $56 billion annually.  Source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/asthma_fact_sheet_eng_july_30_2015_v2.pdf
  2. Los Angeles, Part 1.  During the 1970s, Los Angeles regularly experienced 200 days of unhealthy air a year.  Kids were not allowed to play outside at school on these days. Thanks to the Clean Air Act, pollution levels in Los Angeles have been decreasing since the '80s. This progress must not be undermined. Source: https://www.kcet.org/history-society/how-los-angeles-began-to-put-its-smoggy-days-behind    

  3. Los Angeles, Part 2. In recent years, extreme summer temperatures and wildfires have increased the number of days on which Los Angeles experiences poor air quality, from 67 in 2015 to 91 in 2016.  Climate change is having a very negative impact on clean air in Los Angeles. Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-summer-smog-20160805-snap-story.html

  4. San Joaquin Valley. “Since the early 1990s, local regulators have adopted more than 500 air quality regulations, and pollution from industrial sources has dropped more than 80%. Days when hourly ozone concentrations exceeded limits have plummeted from 37 a year in 2003 to three in 2011 — and zero this year.” Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/22/local/la-me-valley-air-20131223

  5. California Clean Air Waiver. Los Angeles’s valley geography and warm, sunny days make it an ideal place to generate surface-level Ozone, the pollutant that makes it difficult for people to breathe. California has not mandated more stringent Clean Air standards for ideological reasons. We did so in order to help Californians breathe more easily. Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/trump-california-clean-air-act-waiver-climate-change/518649/

  6. Vehicle Fuel Standards, Part One.  Clean car standards are well-used ratings that help consumers select the most fuel-efficient vehicles, saving gas and money and cutting down on air pollution and carbon emissions. Trump’s EPA wants to eliminate California’s fuel-efficiency goals for 2022-2025 vehicles. Our state sets standards for the rest of the nation, and for car manufacturers themselves. Undoing those goals will allow automakers to undermine their healthy competition to make better, safer, lighter cars. Source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-epa-fuel-mileage-autos-20170303-story.html

  7. Vehicle Fuel Standards, Part Two. Thanks to the Clean Air Act's outlawing of “defeat devices,", the EPA was able to compel Volkswagon and other offending car companies to implement buy-back programs for diesel vehicles that violated our Clean Air Standard. This was critical because many people who purchased “clean” diesel cars did so specifically because they wanted their cars to be environmentally friendly. Source: https://www.epa.gov/vw/learn-about-volkswagen-violations

  8. Visibility at National Parks. Many National Parks (such as Joshua Tree and the Great Smoky Mountains) suffer from poor air quality that limits visibility. It shouldn't be necessary to worry about air pollution when visiting a national park, and the Clean Air Act helps mitigate that problem. Source: https://www.epa.gov/visibility