ACTION ALERT: Stop the GOP’s War on the EPA and the Environment

March 4th, 2011 - by admin

EDAF & EPA & NRDC & EDF – 2011-03-04 02:00:56

ACTION ALERT: Clear the Air: Don’t Let Polluters Attack Our Right to Clean, Healthy Air
Sam Parry / Environmental Defense Action Fund

(March 3, 2011) — The US House of Representatives has passed a variety of “polluter earmarks” that will gut critical funding for America’s landmark clean air programs that save lives and grow the economy. The fight now moves to the Senate where we need your help to hold the line and oppose this outrageous polluter assault.

The counterproductive attacks on our clean air standards are crazy.
Please email your Senators to oppose this polluter assault.

Tell your Senators that the pollluter earmarks would do nothing to reduce the deficit and will only serve to promote short-term polluter profits over the health and economic benefits for the rest of the country. We have an updated goal of 50,000 actions. Please take action now to help us keep up the pressure.

A new EPA report (see story below) finds that last year alone, America’s clean air protections prevented 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, and 1.7 million asthma attacks. And, according to Natural Resources Defense Council, 2.2 million lives will be saved this decade thanks to clean air standards. (See second story below)

If saving lives and stopping heart attacks and asthma isn’t your thing, how does $12 trillion sound? That’s the net economic benefit of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments in present value dollars. (See third story below.)

Millions of lives saved, trillions of dollars in net economic benefits. What’s not to like?

Well, according to Minnesota Democratic Congressman Colin Peterson: “The EPA needs to be reined in.”

— From today’s Politico:
“House Democrat to co-sponsor bill to ‘rein in’ EPA”:

With evidence pouring in that America’s air pollution standards protect families, grow the economy and create jobs, Rep. Peterson is joining Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Fred Upton (R-MI) on a new a bill that will block EPA from reducing harmful pollution from America’s largest emitters.

This follows House-passed cuts that would reduce EPA’s entire budget by about 30% and deny funding to enforce critical programs that protect the public, including defunding limits on mercury pollution from cement plants and a sweeping prohibition on all work by the EPA to address carbon pollution.

When it comes to clean air and climate action, the gap between national policy and reality has never been wider.

So What Do We Do about It?
The only thing we can do — we come together to ratchet up grassroots pressure in opposition to these pro-polluter assaults on our clean air and climate future.

Here is an accountability ad we will be running in 4 target districts of members of Congress who voted for these cuts.

If you do nothing else today for the environment, please watch the ad and make a donation of whatever you can afford to help us run it and to keep the pressure on.
With your help, we are standing up for strong clean air and climate protections that save lives and grow the economy.

Sam Parry is EDF’s Director of Online Membership and Activism.
Environmental Defense Action Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20009

Report Underscores Clean Air Act’s Successful Public Health Protections
Landmark law saved 160,000 lives in 2010 alone

Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2011) — A report released today by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the benefits of reducing fine particle and ground level ozone pollution under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments will reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020 while saving 230,000 people from early death in that year alone. The report studied the effects of the Clean Air Act updates on the economy, public health and the environment between 1990 and 2020.

The EPA report received extensive review and input from the Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis, an independent panel of distinguished economists, scientists and public health experts established by Congress in 1991.

“The Clean Air Act’s decades-long track record of success has helped millions of Americans live healthier, safer and more productive lives,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This report outlines the extraordinary health and economic benefits of one of our nation’s most transformative environmental laws and demonstrates the power of bipartisan approaches to protecting the health of the American people from pollution in our environment.”

“The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020” shows that the benefits of avoiding early death, preventing heart attacks and asthma attacks, and reducing the number of sick days for employees far exceed costs of implementing clean air protections. These benefits lead to a more productive workforce, and enable consumers and businesses to spend less on health care — all of which help strengthen the economy.

In 2010 alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than:

• 160,000 cases of premature mortality
• 130,000 heart attacks
• 13 million lost work days
• 1.7 million asthma attacks

In 2020, the study projects benefits will be even greater, preventing more than:
• 230,000 cases of premature mortality
• 200,000 heart attacks
• 17 million lost work days
• 2.4 million asthma attacks

This report estimates only the benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments built on the significant progress made in improving the nation’s air quality through the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its 1977 amendments. The overall benefits of the Clean Air Act exceed the benefits estimated in this report, with millions of lives saved since 1970.

The report is the third in a series of EPA studies required under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that estimate the benefits and costs of the act. The reports are intended to provide Congress and the public with comprehensive, up-to-date, peer-reviewed information on the Clean Air Act’s social benefits and costs, including improvements in human health, welfare, and ecological resources, as well as the impact of the act’s provisions on the US economy.

More information and a copy of the summary report:

Contact Information: Enesta Jones,, (202) 564-7873, (202) 564-4355

EPA: Clean Air Act Saves Millions of Lives and Trillions of Dollars
Rob Perks / The Huffington Post

(March 4, 2011) — With all the EPA-bashing these days by some in Congress, it’s nice to remind everyone that the Clean Air Act is actually good for us. It just so happens that the agency issued a new study today touting the many health benefits of this landmark law.

According to EPA, in 2010 alone the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than: 160,000 cases of early death; 130,000 heart attacks; 1.7 million asthma attacks; and 13 million lost work days.

Things will get even better in 2020, as the agency estimates that in that year alone the Clean Air Act will save the lives of 230,000 Americans while preventing 200,000 heart attacks, 2.4 million asthma attacks, and 17 million lost work days.

NRDC’s own analysis of the agency’s data reveals even more staggering health gains, showing that more than 2.2 million lives will be saved between 2010 and 2020 thanks to reductions in air pollution achieved by amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990. But wait, the news gets even better. According to my colleague Christina Angelides, NRDC’s analysis of EPA’s report shows that the 1990 amendments will have saved 4.2 million lives and avoided millions of cases of pollution-related illness by 2020 — including 43.8 million cases of asthma exacerbation, 3.3 million heart attacks, 2.1 million hospital admissions and 2.2 million emergency room visits, and 313 million lost work days.

Further analysis by NRDC economist Laurie Johnson finds the benefits of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act exceeding costs by a ratio of 26 to 1 in 2010, and 30 to 1 in 2020. She breaks it down like this:

* In 2010 alone, we gained approximately1.3 trillion in public health and environmental benefits, for a cost of only 50 billion. That’s a value worth more than 9% of GDP, for a cost of only .4% of GDP. For comparison, we spent approximately 5% of our GDP on the Defense budget in 2010.

* The ratio of benefits to costs in 2010 is more than 26 to 1.

* In 2020, we will have a staggering gain of approximately2 trillion in benefits, at a cost of65 billion. That’s a value worth more than 14% of today’s GDP, for an expenditure of only .46%. The ratio of benefits to cost is more than 30 to 1.

Remember, that’s just the health and environmental benefits. Johnson presents further evidence on the law’s substantial improvements in economic performance as well.

So, there you have it. Those in Congress who are reckless enough to attack one of our nation’s most successful and beneficial health laws ought to choose the facts over fiction. More to the point, they have a responsibility as public servants to put public health above their shortsighted and literally harmful political goals, which ultimately benefit no one except corporate polluters that profit by putting the rest of us at risk.

Follow Rob Perks on Twitter: Switchboard

The Clean Air Act:
Good for Our Health AND Our Economy

Susanne Brooks / Environmental Defense Fund

(March 2, 2011) — The Clean Air Act and its amendments prevent millions of premature deaths, significantly reduce illnesses, and save trillions of dollars for American families. But those in Congress who are working to stall EPA actions still claim that Clean Air Act regulations are too costly. Fortunately there’s some new and conclusive evidence to show that they’re wrong.

The EPA’s just-released cost-benefit analysis of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments leaves no room for argument: we simply cannot afford a world without regulations on the harmful pollution that the Clean Air Act is designed to fight.

This comes as no surprise. The Clean Air Act has been saving lives, improving the health of American children, and saving us trillions of dollars for years now. But this report is a new and definitive confirmation of just how critical this law is to the health of the American people — and to our economy.

EPA sets a gold standard in economic modeling with this report. It provides an excellent, no-nonsense analysis of both the costs of complying with the Clean Air Act Amendments and the benefits. Benefits are the clear winner. From 1990 to 2020, they manifest in the form of avoided premature deaths, reduction in illnesses and associated health care costs, and improved ecological and welfare impacts (like increased agricultural yields and better visibility conditions).

The report finds that, at the central estimate, and after taking costs into account, the net benefits of the Clean Air Act Amendments are $12 trillion in present value. Yes, that’s TRILLION.

The report also finds that the benefits of the Clean Air Act outweigh the costs by a factor of more than 30 to one. Let me say that again: 30 to one. And that’s a more modest estimate; the reports high benefits estimate exceeds costs by 90 times.

These estimates don’t even account for some benefits that are more difficult to monetize, such as health effects from air toxics, and chronic respiratory diseases other than chronic bronchitis. They also don’t mention the pain and suffering associated with illnesses, so the benefits estimate should be seen as conservative.

Let’s look at one of the most important results: health impacts. Last year alone, the Clean Air Act Amendments saved more than 160,000 lives, prevented more than 85,000 emergency room visits, prevented millions of cases of respiratory problems (including bronchitis and asthma), enhanced productivity by preventing 13 million lost workdays, and prevented 3.2 million lost school days (just to name a few of the benefits).

In the year 2020, the Clean Air Act Amendments are projected to prevent more than 230,000 early deaths and provide benefits reaching approximately $2 trillion. All of which makes it mind-boggling that opponents in Congress continue to push back against this successful law.

The enormous benefits of the Clean Air Act are nothing new. EPA’s earlier cost-benefit analysis of the law, from the years 1970 to 1990, showed that the net benefits in present value over the period were nearly $22 trillion, and that the benefits outweighed the costs by 40 to one.

Here’s more good news: protecting children from neurotoxins now will give us workers with higher IQs later — and that’s something that also turns out to come with real economic benefits. The latest study by Harvard’s Dale Jorgenson and his co-authors shows that the Clean Air Act has boosted productivity and growth: Gross Domestic Product in 2010 is up to 1.5% higher than it would have been without the Clean Air Act.

The bottom line is that the Clean Air Act and its amendments have left Americans enormously better off — in terms of health, productivity, and economic growth. Why stop now?