UPDATED Clean Air Under Attack (Again) this Week In Congress

Some of the nation's biggest polluters Update:are power plants.

Update: On September 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the TRAIN Act, by a vote of 249-216. It must still pass the U.S. Senate before it reaches President Obama, who is likely to veto the bill immediately. Thank you to those who took action. Your efforts are imperative in keeping the voice of the environmental community alive.

The U.S. House of Representatives just can’t stop itself from attacking our fundamental conservation laws over and over again this year.

This week, the House is considering legislation that would further delay fundamental Clean Air Act protections, undermining our ability as a nation to protect public health and the environment.

Specifically, the so-called “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act”  would indefinitely delay implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, halting long-overdue action under the Clean Air Act to clean-up the nation’s biggest polluters.

The Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which curbs smog and soot pollution from power plants that crosses state lines, is set to reduce power plant emissions in 27 states. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which limits mercury, acid gases and other toxic pollution from power plants, would keep 91 percent of the mercury in coal from being released in the air. These clean air initiatives could save 33,450 lives and 12,200 hospital visits in one year alone.

TRAIN Act a Train Wreck for Clean Air

If the TRAIN Act becomes law, the EPA could not propose clean air standards without the review of a new Cabinet-level committee, designed to delay, complicate and block environmental safeguards. It’s duplicative and unnecessary red tape that amounts to a gutting of historically bipartisan clean air protections.

Dangerous chemicals, such as mercury, soot, cancer-causing dioxins and acid gases, cause tens of thousands of premature deaths, heart attacks, hospital visits for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and childhood asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses. Not only do these unregulated toxic pollutants affect people, they also threaten our environment by producing acid rain and smog, and contaminating our lakes, streams, wildlife, and fish.

The TRAIN Act represents a tremendous backtracking for the EPA and the American public’s quest for better, cleaner air and water for posterity and for wildlife.

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Published: September 21, 2011