Environmental Issues: Air

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All Documents in Air

Climate Report Card
The world's top polluters had homework before the Paris talks. Here's how their pledges score.
Clean Power Plan and State Pathways to Cutting Carbon Pollution
Issue Brief
Exisitng power plants are the nation's largest source of carbon pollution, and limiting that pollution is the single biggest step we can take to fight climate change today. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the Clean Power Plan, setting the first federal standards for existing power plants. The EPA's standards allow each state the flexibility to design its own most cost-effective pathway toward a cleaner energy system to provide electricity.
What to Expect in Clean Power Plan Litigation
In short, litigation over the Clean Power Plan, as with any major Clean Air Act standard, is likely to occur. But the EPA has an excellent track record in court. Polluters and their allies shouldn't be able to delay the Clean Power Plan just by filing court cases. Our country needs to join the global fight to curb climate change now.
Clean Power: The Case for Carbon Pollution Limits
Climate change is the central environmental challenge of our generation. We may be running out of time but, as the Clean Power Plan illustrates, we are not running out of solutions. To help sort out the debate over the Clean Power Plan, NRDC has prepared this well-referenced resource to help separate fact from fiction.
Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the U.S., 2015
The Benchmarking project uses public data to compare the emissions performance of the 100 largest power producers in the United States, and discusses market trends affecting the electric generating sector, including trends in fuel prices, technology developments, and environmental regulations.
Sneezing and Wheezing
How Climate Change Could Increase Ragweed Allergies, Air Pollution, and Asthma: 2015 Update

Issue Paper
Scientific studies have shown that our changing climate could favor the formation of more ozone smog in some areas and increase the production of allergenic pollen -- bad news for allergy sufferers and asthmatics, as both ragweed pollen and high levels of ozone smog can trigger asthma attacks and worsen allergic symptoms in adults and children.
State Opportunities for a Clean Energy Future
Cutting Carbon Pollution Under the Clean Power Plan

Issue Paper
States have an opportunity to tap a well of economic growth that could provide new jobs, expand their economies, and help protect future generations from the worst impacts of a changing climate. That opportunity is clean energy, and one way for states to realize more clean energy growth in the coming years is through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.
Bridging the Clean Energy Divide: Affordable Clean Energy Solutions for Today and Tomorrow
Fact Sheet
The impacts of pollution often hit the poor the hardest. And experts predict that climate change will worsen the situation. However, the shift to clean energy offers a chance to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, while lessening the toll that dirty fossil fuels are currently wreaking on some of our most vulnerable communities.
Health Risks and Climate Change
Fact Sheet
People in every state are vulnerable to climate health threats -- from worsening air quality, extreme heat,
extreme precipitation and flooding, and greater exposure to dangerous diseases. The U.S. EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan, a historic effort to limit the carbon pollution emitted by power plants -- the biggest driver of climate change -- and protect public health.
Clean Cargo Center
Community Resources for Reducing Diesel Air Pollution from the Freight Industry

Freight transportation hubs may help deliver the products that fill our stores and homes, but for those who live near them -- disproportionately low-income people of color -- finding ways to clean up cargo is truly as important as the air we breathe. Fortunately, the National Environmental Policy Act offers communities public oversight over federal or federally-funded projects that will affect the environment.
Cleaner and Cheaper: Using the Clean Air Act to Sharply Reduce Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants
Issue Paper
Climate and energy experts at NRDC have crafted a groundbreaking proposal that will help the Administration create jobs, grow the economy, and curb climate change by going after the country's largest source of climate-changing pollution: emissions from hundreds of existing power plants.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Carbon Limits Will Cut Pollution, Lower Bills, Create Jobs, Save Lives and Keep the Lights On
Fact Sheet
The EPA's Clean Power Plan will, when in place, reduce carbon pollution by hundreds of millions of tons, cut emissions of harmful particle pollution, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides by hundreds of thousands of tons per year, and provide vital health protections to our most vulnerable citizens, such as children and older Americans.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan Could Save Up To $9 Billion In 2030 Thanks To Expanding Clean Energy Resources
Fact Sheet
The EPA found that by 2030, the power sector could reduce its emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels under the Clean Power Plan, costing between $7.5 billion and $8.8 billion annually. But because the EPA uses conservative and outdated assumptions, the agency overstates the costs of compliance by $9 billion and shortchanges the potential to make even deeper critical carbon reductions.
Cutting Carbon Pollution Protects Our Health, Fights Climate Change and Moves Us Toward Clean Energy
In September 2013, under the president's direction, the Environmental Protection Agency announced standards limiting carbon pollution from power plants built in the future, and on June 2, 2014, unveiled standards for power plants operating now -- which account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution.
New Carbon Pollution Standards Can Save American Households $13 Billion on Electric Bills, Create 274,000 Jobs
Climate Action Delivers Major Economic and Health Benefits

Fact Sheet
Leading scientists makes it clear that all Americans have an obligation to address climate change now, chiefly by reducing the carbon pollution fueling changes we're already seeing. In doing so, we can reap substantial benefits to our economy while protecting future generations. Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. EPA is moving now to curb power plant carbon pollution, which makes up 40 percent of our nation's total carbon footprint.
NRDC Explains: The New Federal Plan To Cut Carbon Pollution
How cleaning up U.S. power plants will improve your family’s health and the economy

On June 2, 2014, President Obama’s administration announced the first national standards for reducing carbon pollution from power plants, in an attempt to reduce the harmful impacts of climate change on our homes and health. Scheduled to take effect by the end of the decade, the standards will represent one of the most important steps that the United States has taken to slow climate change. And they will save billions of dollars and thousands of lives.
State Carbon Emissions Tool
NRDC's tool compares existing CO2 emissions in states, and allows for comparison to other states and various targets.
Asthma and Air Pollution
Bad air can bring on asthma attacks, even in healthy people; tracking air quality and controlling pollution from cars, factories and power plants can help.

Bad air can bring on asthma attacks, even in healthy people; tracking air quality and controlling pollution from cars, factories and power plants can help.
Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States
The EPA recently finalized the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), requiring significant reductions in mercury and air toxic emissions, inlcuding those from the electric sector, the largest industrial source of toxic air pollution in the United States. Despite the significant benefit to public health, power companies and some in Congress continue to fight against the standards.
Testimony of David D. Doniger, Policy Director and Senior Attorney, Climate and Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Hearing on the U.S. Agricultural Sector Relief Act of 2012 Subcommittee on Energy and Power-Committee on Energy and Commerce-House of Representatives-July 18, 2012 Get document in pdf.
Comments Filed On The Carbon Pollution Standard, June 25, 2012
NRDC Comments filed on the Carbon Pollution Standard on Monday, June 25, 2012.

NRDC Comments filed on the Carbon Pollution Standard on Monday, June 25, 2012.
The Price of Pollution Politics
Eight Companies Attacking Clean Air Standards… and the Toll on America’s Health

A handful of companies are spending millions to finance an assault on clean air -- lobbying and litigating to block, weaken and delay clean air standards that would save lives and protect Americans' health from the power sector's dangerous and deadly air pollution.
Poisoning the Great Lakes
Mercury Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants In the Great Lakes Region

Mercury emitted into the air from coal-fired power plants is by far the leading man-made source of mercury in the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams of the region. The report analyzed pollution data to determine the top 25 mercury emitting power plants in the Great Lakes states, and the top three in each state.
A Historic Step in the Right Direction for Clean Air
EPA’s Standards for Carbon Pollution Will Help Protect Public Health

EPA’s Standards for Carbon Pollution Will Protect Public Health
Cleaning Up Southern California's Air
NRDC's Work at Southern California's Ports

The Los Angeles region is home to the largest port complex in the nation, which relies on diesel-powered ships, trains, and trucks to sustain its operations, and adds smog and diesel particulate matter pollution to the region's air. NRDC's Southern California office has developed practical solutions to help ameliorate Los Angeles' air pollution problem that can be applied nationally and internationally.
NRDC's Dump Dirty Diesel Campaign
Working to rid the world of the health risks of dirty diesel exhaust

NRDC's Dump Dirty Diesels Campaign has been a leader in local, state, national, and international efforts to solve the problem of dirty diesel exhaust. By focusing on reducing community exposure to dirty diesel exhaust in New York and California, advocating for national standards in Washington, and working with local partners around the world, NRDC has scored major victories on the path to cleaner air.
The California Dump Dirty Diesels Campaign
Since 1990, NRDC's advocacy victories have brought about a 56 percent reduction in diesel soot emissions in California.  While we have made great strides overall in protecting health and the environment in California, toxic hotspots such as ports, rail yards, and major freeways continue to present a serious risk for many of our communities.
Clean Air Saves Lives
Real stories of American families with asthma

Four real stories of American families with asthma. Includes videos and images.
EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Rule Curbs Pollution
The Obama Administration Protects Our Air and Our Health

The Mercury and Air Toxic Standards
U.S. Latinos and Air Pollution
A Call to Action

Air pollutants surround us wherever we are. On a daily basis, we are exposed to carbon, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, soot, and hundreds of other air pollutants emitted from our cars, factories, power plants, and heavy machinery. At certain levels, many of these pollutants become highly harmful to human health, and Latinos are especially vulnerable because they live in regions with the worst air contamination.
Testimony of John Walke on Clean Air Act
Testimony of John Walke, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), for the September 8, 2011 Legislative Hearing on “H.R. 2250, The EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 and H.R. 2681, The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Get document in pdf.
Anti-Environmental Budget Riders
A significant assault on health and environmental protection is underway in Congress.

Lawmakers must pass 12 spending bills for fiscal 2012 to fund the government, and some House Republicans are seizing this opportunity to jam through unpopular anti-environmental policies that have nothing to do with spending.
NRDC testimony before House Energy & Power Subcommittee on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
This testimony by John Walke, NRDC’s Clean Air Director, concerns EPA mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, cement plants and various industrial facilities. The testimony was/will be presented before the Energy & Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 15, 2011. Get document in pdf.
The Negative Impacts of Air Pollution on Latino Communities
Fact Sheet
Since 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has protected public health by setting and enforcing standards to protect the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Currently, however, some members of Congress are seeking to stop the EPA from protecting public health, by rolling back existing laws like the Clean Air Act and blocking needed clean air protections. Research shows that Latino communities are often hit hardest by the health impacts of dirty air. Get document in pdf.
The Clean Air Act at 40
A Clear Track Record of Success

Legislative Analysis
The Clean Air Act is a genuine American success story and one of the most effective tools in U.S. history for protecting public health. It has sharply reduced pollution from automobiles, industrial smokestacks, utility plants, and major sources of toxic chemicals and particulate matter since its passage in 1970. The law has saved tens of thousands of lives each year by reducing harmful pollutants that cause or contribute to asthma, emphysema, heart disease, and other potentially lethal respiratory ailments. Despite continued gloom-and-doom forecasts by polluters and their corporate lobbyists, the Clean Air Act has consistently provided huge health, economic, and environmental benefits to our communities over the past four decades that far outweigh any small costs associated with controlling life-threatening toxic pollution.
Get document in pdf.
Clean Air Standards Will Cut Toxic Air Pollution from Industrial Plants and Save More Than 5,000 Lives Each Year
Legislative Analysis
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed emissions standards to control toxic air pollution from industrial plant boilers, which burn various fuels to produce steam used to generate electricity or heat for industrial operations. The EPA's proposed standards will require these boilers to limit toxic air pollutants including mercury, lead, arsenic, formaldehyde, benzene, dioxins, and acid gases. Get document in pdf.
What's at Risk from Industry's Full-Scale Assault on the EPA and the Clean Air Act?
Public Health Protections Under Attack

It is important to understand that the EPA is one of our major success stories, representing vital problem-solving on a national scale, and that we should support the EPA doing its job.
Deepest Cuts
Repairing Health Monitoring Programs Slashed Under the Bush Administration

Issue Paper
For decades, federal agencies charged with safeguarding health and the environment have tracked pollution, required industry reporting, and monitored disease rates, providing the foundation for all health and environmental protection. This December 2008 issue paper shows that the Bush Administration dangerously slashed federal environmental and health monitoring programs.
Get the Lead Out
Children across the nation face the risk of lead poisoning, but steps can be taken to protect them.
A Consumer's Guide to Buying Clean Energy
A Consumer's Guide to Buying Clean Energy
Harboring Pollution: The Dirty Truth about U.S. Ports
Marine ports in the United States are major hubs of economic activity and major sources of pollution. This March 2004 report by NRDC and the Coalition for Clean Air assesses efforts at the 10 largest U.S. ports to control pollution, and provides an overview of policy and practical pollution mitigation recommendations.
Five Dangerous Pollutants in the Air You Breathe
NRDC's least wanted list of air pollutants, and the best ways to avoid them.

Much of the haze that once blanketed our cities has cleared since the 1970s, thanks to tough environmental laws. But air pollution, including the kind you can’t see, still poses health risks to millions of Americans.
Harboring Pollution: Strategies to Clean Up U.S. Ports
U.S. seaports are the largest and most poorly regulated sources of urban pollution in the country. This August 2004 report by NRDC and the Coalition for Clean Air provides practical strategies and policies for port operators, regulatory agencies, and community-based organizations to reduce health-endangering air and water pollution, noise and light pollution that disrupts communities near ports, and harm to marine habitats.
Premature Mortality Due to Particulate Air Pollution in 239 American Cities

Excerpts from a groundbreaking May 1996 NRDC report on premature mortality due to particulate air pollution in 239 American cities.

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