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.

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/

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.)

New Bipartisan Poll Reveals Strong Support for Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicles

Washington, D.C. (January 30, 2013)

An overwhelming majority of voters supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) setting stricter standards on gasoline and tighter emissions standards for cars, SUVs and trucks according to the American Lung Association’s latest survey.

This bipartisan telephone survey of 800 registered voters, conducted during January 13-16, 2013, finds that nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed across the country support strengthening standards that limit sulfur in gasoline and tighten the limits on tailpipe emissions from new vehicles. These revised standards would reduce pollution from cars, trucks and SUVs, would protect public health and would create jobs by encouraging innovation.

Read the full story at Lung.org

ConocoPhillips, Valero Top Ca’s List of Toxic Polluters

Toxic chemical releases by refineries and manufacturing plants in California have increased since 2010, and two Bay Area facilities are among the top ten distributors of the dangerous substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said Wednesday.

Read the full article at Sfgate.com