Protecting the Clean Air Act from assaults
Clean air versus polluters’ profits -- at what cost to children?
The Clean Air Act is widely considered one of the most effective environmental laws ever passed.
In fact, it provides $30 in health benefits for every dollar invested in pollution controls.
Yet some Washington politicians made it their mission in 2011 to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the law—and tried to cut $3 billion from the agency’s budget.
We work to defend life-saving standards
Working with the Senate, EDF and others were able to eliminate the most draconian cuts in the House budget, but coal lobbyists and their political allies continued their attempts to undermine EPA’s authority.
They added more than 170 anti-environmental riders to House bills.
We responded by providing analysis and expert testimony on the Hill, challenging opponents directly in court and enlisting corporate support for the Clean Air Act.
Our efforts got a big boost from EDF’s Strategic Partners and our sister organization, the Environmental Defense Action Fund. Non-tax-deductible gifts to the Action Fund let us mount ad campaigns targeting key legislators.
Polluter's bill has deadly consequences
Lobbyists for one of America’s biggest polluters, American Electric Power, circulated their own draft bill in Congress last spring, which would have scuttled EPA rules requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions of soot, sulfur dioxide and mercury.
Within days, EDF’s legal team issued an analysis that showed the bill would cause an estimated 34,000 deaths in its first two years alone.
Our analysis was disseminated broadly on Capitol Hill, where even coal-friendly legislators scrambled to distance themselves from the bill. As a result, it was never introduced.
Online activism helps thwart clean air attack
In defense of the Clean Air Act, we also helped launch a group of influential bloggers, calling themselves the Moms Clean Air Force, to engage more people in the struggle.
Their online activism helped generate more than 100,000 messages to Congress urging legislators not to let polluters undercut air quality.
Our children’s health is at stake. It’s that simple.Vickie Patton EDF’s general counsel
“Knowing that some companies put their profits ahead of kids is absolutely infuriating,” says Karen Francis, a Moms Clean Air Force blogger who is also a military spouse. “What do we do about it? We make sure EPA’s ability to safeguard the air we breathe isn’t gutted.”
The fight for the Clean Air Act and a strong EPA isn’t over. But we're confident in the future.