Protecting the Clean Air Act from assaults

Clean air versus polluters’ profits -- at what cost to children?

young girl with inhaler

In 2011, the House is waged a reckless war on health protections. But 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

CHART: The price of coal

Dirty air imposes steep costs on human health. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of sulfur dioxide and particulate pollution in the air.

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 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.

The anti-environment onslaught on Capitol Hill is the worst I’ve seen in my more than 25 years at EDF.

Fred Krupp Fred Krupp EDF president

Moms join forces to fight back


The Moms Clean Air Force isn't letting polluters have their way. The newly formed group – supported by EDF – is a growing national network of influential bloggers.

They are helping moms (and dads) speak up to protect their families.

Join the Moms Clean Air Force »