Environmental Issues: Air

Air Main Page

All Documents in Air

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.
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.

Overview
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.
Clean Cargo Center
Community Resources for Reducing Diesel Air Pollution from the Freight Industry

Guide
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.
Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the U.S., 2013
Report
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.
Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States
Presentation
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
Testimony
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.

Comments
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

Report
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

Report
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

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

Overview
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

Overview
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
Overview
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

Overview
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

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

Report
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
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.

Overview
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
Testimony
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

Overview
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
Guide
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
Guide
A Consumer's Guide to Buying Clean Energy
Sneezing and Wheezing
How Global Warming Could Increase Ragweed Allergies, Air Pollution and Asthma

Issue Paper
Global warming isn't just making our planet hotter. Scientific studies have also shown that our changing climate could mean more ozone pollution in some areas, intensifying health problems stemming from allergenic pollen such as ragweed. NRDC research, the first to map areas within the United States where ragweed and unhealthy ozone pollution overlap, shows that 110 million Americans live in areas with both ragweed and ozone problems.
Harboring Pollution: The Dirty Truth about U.S. Ports
Report
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.

Overview
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.
Heat Advisory
How Global Warming Causes More Bad Air Days

Report
Comprehensive analysis by medical experts showing that global warming would cause more summertime smog and higher pollen levels, which in turn might bring more asthma attacks, more hospitalizations, and limitations on time outdoors.
Harboring Pollution: Strategies to Clean Up U.S. Ports
Report
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.
Breath-taking
Premature Mortality Due to Particulate Air Pollution in 239 American Cities

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

For additional policy documents, see the NRDC Document Bank.
For older publications available only in print, click here.

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