Fuel standards bill’s implementation is vital to California

By Dr. James K. Brown

Oakland Tribune My Word © 2013 Bay Area News Group

August 6, 2013

One year ago Tuesday, a fire at Chevron’s Richmond oil refinery sent black smoke wafting across the East Bay.

Contra Costa Health Services asked residents to stay in their homes, close the windows, and wait it out. About 11,000 people sought medical treatment. Many suffered from eye, nasal and throat irritations that were short-lived. For those with pre-existing asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, their cough and shortness of breath increased dramatically, sometimes for extended periods.

This refinery fire was a dramatic demonstration that air pollution is bad for our health. A more compelling concern is the evidence that chronic, low-level exposure to air pollution has serious long-lasting adverse effects, including stunting of lung growth and increasing asthma among children, premature death in those with chronic lung diseases, and heart attacks.

Central Valley fares poorly in new California pollution index

Central Valley communities are among the hardest hit in California under a unique new misery index that provides statewide mapping on community pollution, health and well-being.

The state Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday unveiled a new environmental screening tool that reveals – by ZIP code – how neighborhoods are affected by pesticides, truck fumes, hazardous waste and other toxic factors.

 

Now boarding for clean air: exposing United Airlines’ dirty wings

This is a guest post written with  Stop Fooling CA partner organization Flying Clean.

FlyingClean

United Airlines has the undistinguished honor of the worst overall airline performance, according to a recent report. With customer complaints that nearly doubled since last year, the airline’s reputation is anything but clean.

But the dubious recognition doesn’t shine a light on the company’s seedy underbelly of clean air and climate opposition

Flying Clean is partnering with Stop Fooling CA to uncover United Airlines, Big Oil and their friends’ closed-door efforts to block implementation of standards that would clean the skies and clear the air.

Airplanes burn dirty fuel that contaminates the air, contributing to respiratory illnesses throughout California and the nation.  Unfortunately, instead of cleaning up their act, United Airlines’ lobbyists have worked in Washington to block applying the Clean Air Act and other laws to reduce pollution from the aviation industry, one of the fastest growing carbon emissions sector in the world.

United Airlines’ dirty wings have a far reach that affects what’s happening right here at home, too. In California, current and former United Airlines employees are leading an oil-funded front group called “Fueling California” to mislead Californians and kill clean air and fuel standards.

Fueling California is a Chevron-funded group that purports to represent the interests of consumers, but instead is focused on finding ways to undermine our climate law and our clean fuels standards.

Bob Sturtz – the former managing director of strategic sourcing for United Airlines – is the President and CEO of Fueling California. And at his side is Melinda Yee Franklin, director of corporate and government affairs for United’s western region.

The oily front group held a closed-door meeting earlier this year to discuss alternatives to California’s clean fuel standard; it’s hard to imagine they had consumers’ interests at heart while trying to kill a popular state law that’s a critical step toward clean air and better health. While executives and lobbyists discussed how to avoid complying with the standard, they shut out health and environmental groups that represent millions of Californians.

We’re proud to partner with Stop Fooling CA to expose United Airlines and Fueling California’s secretive and dirty practices. It’s time to clean the air and Stop Fooling California.

To learn more about Flying Clean and to sign their petition calling on United Airlines to get on board with climate action, visit http://www.flyingclean.com/

China pollution may hold silver lining for California

BEIJING — As Gov. Jerry Brown tours some of China’s economic hubs this week, he is breathing the kind of heavy, soiled air that blanketed Los Angeles decades ago.

The soot and smog that are byproducts of this country’s industrial progress are choking its people and threatening its economy. Chinese leaders are talking openly about the need to clean up the air, and to learn how from California.

California’s Secret To Green Jobs And A Thriving Clean Economy? It’s Policy.

California has a thriving clean economy. In fact, the Golden State boasted more green jobs in clean energy and transportation last year than the other top 4 states combined, according to a new report by Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Air Pollution From Traffic Linked With Childhood Cancer

There is a link between exposure to traffic pollution during pregnancy and risk of childhood cancer, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that women who were exposed to high levels of traffic pollution (emissions from cars and trucks) while they were pregnant also had higher risks of their children going on to develop pediatric cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia and retinoblastoma.

Air quality app gives real-time pollution readings

Anti-pollution officials had two reasons to celebrate Wednesday: They launched a real-time app that lets San Diego County residents check their neighborhood air quality, and they officially confirmed that the region’s level of unhealthy ozone is the lowest on record.

The officials touted the app, which downloads real-time air-quality readings on smartphones or computer tablets, during a crisp morning outside the County Administration Building.

Tar sands refining in Southern California needs scrutiny, say environmentalists

Oil refiners are sending greater amounts of an especially dirty crude oil product called “tar sands” to their Southern California refineries.

Now environmental groups want regulators to take a closer look

Tar sands hold a kind of semi-solid petroleum. To refine it enough for California standards takes more processing. Oil companies – including Valero, Tesoro and Conoco Phillips – say they’re bringing in more of this raw material because liquid petroleum in California is drying up.

New Report Sheds Light on Major Health Benefits of Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle Standards

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2013)

The American Lung Association’s latest report, “A Penny for Prevention: The Case for Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle Standards” finds that thousands of lives can be saved and millions of missed work and school days can be prevented if the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is able to fully implement the newly proposed standards for cleaner gasoline and cleaner vehicles.

The report finds that by 2030 cleaner gasoline and cleaner vehicle standards could:

  • Prevent more than 2,500 premature deaths annually because of less ozone and particle pollution;
  • Prevent more than 3.3 million days missed at work or school; and
  • Result in $8.5 billion to $22 billion in annual economic and health care benefits

New EPA Rules Would Make Your Car Run Better And Cleaner

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed a new set of regulations — known as Tier 3 Vehicle Standards. The rules would reduce the amount of sulfur present in gasoline before our cars burn it. It brings the rest of the country in line with the environmental standards that have regulated California’s automobile industry for years.

Cutting back on the use of sulfur in gasoline by two thirds will have indirect environmental and public health benefits. While sulfur dioxide is not itself a greenhouse gas, reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline will increase the efficiency of catalytic converters, reducing emissions and gasoline consumption. (Video explanation of how catalytic converters pull pollutants out of engine exhaust before it hits the air.)