#air pollution
The Key To Air Pollution’s Harms and Our Defenses May Be In Our Genes

The Key To Air Pollution’s Harms and Our Defenses May Be In Our Genes

We know air pollution is bad for our lungs, but researchers are now finding connections between breathing bad air and disorders such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s diseaseThe New York Times explains in a fascinating article that the reason for these links and similarly the reason why some people are more resilient in the face of air pollution may be found in our genes and in how humans evolved.  

Why This Matters:  Air pollution harms billions of people worldwide — from cars to coal-fired power plants to forest fires — not to mention vaping and cigarette smoking.

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PTI – In 2020, Let’s Talk More About Air Pollution

PTI – In 2020, Let’s Talk More About Air Pollution

By Miro Korenha and Monica Medina Pardon the interruption from the constant conversation about the stock market, impeachment and conflict in the Middle East.  We’d like to talk about something completely different.  2020 is the 50th anniversary of the passage of one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws — the Clean Air Act.  This week […]

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In A Major Step Forward For Environmental Justice, Court Rejects Pipeline Permit

In A Major Step Forward For Environmental Justice, Court Rejects Pipeline Permit

In a case we have been following, there was good news yesterday when a three-judge federal Federal Appeals Court panel in Virginia invalidated a state air pollution permit for a natural gas compressor station planned as part of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline project because the state permitting board failed to consider the disproportionate health effects on Union Hill, a predominantly African American community nearby.

Why This Matters:  This is not the end of the line for the pipeline — the Court threw out the permit but the state will now get a do-over.  Still, the fact that the Court specifically decided the case on environmental justice grounds is a huge step forward. 

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New Study Finds Shutting Down Coal Plants Saved 26,000 Lives

New Study Finds Shutting Down Coal Plants Saved 26,000 Lives

A new study published this week in the Journal Nature found that the switch from coal-fired power plants to natural gas plants during the 11 year period from 2005-16 coincided with a huge reduction of 26,000 deaths and a significant increase in agricultural productivity nearby the plants.  These changes in power plants (combined with advances […]

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Top Stories of 2019: Car Wars and Federalism

Top Stories of 2019: Car Wars and Federalism

News about electric vehicles — both cars and trucks — and particularly the efforts of California and other states to elevate their standards on tailpipe emissions to both reduce carbon and toxic air emissions made headlines throughout the year in Our Daily Planet.

Why This Matters: The future of cars is electric — if only we can get out of our own way to speed them to the finish line.

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Making Plastic From Fracked Natural Gas Could Replace Coal and Steel in Ohio Valley

Making Plastic From Fracked Natural Gas Could Replace Coal and Steel in Ohio Valley

Here in Madrid, the Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, touted his city as a green Phoenix, rising from the ashes of the failed steel and coal industries, with a growing economy based on high tech and health care companies and improved air and water quality — the city is turning a corner.  But he pointed out that just up the road Royal Dutch Shell is building a giant, greenhouse gas-spewing plant near Pittsburgh that will (using a process called “ethane cracking”) make tiny plastic pellets that can be turned into items like phone cases, auto parts, and food packaging according to The New York Times.

Why This Matters:  The Pittsburgh plant will be allowed to emit each year 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide, 522 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and 160 tons of particulate pollution or soot, according to local NGO the Breathe Project.

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Unprecedented Air Pollution Chokes Sarajevo

Unprecedented Air Pollution Chokes Sarajevo

As the Washington Post reported, “authorities say air pollution in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo has reached dangerous levels in recent days, prompting officials to ban freight vehicles from the roads, cancel all outdoor public events and warn citizens to remain indoors.” The air is virtually unbreathable which has led city officials to reduce coal-fueled […]

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California Won’t Buy Cars From Toyota, GM, Fiat Chrysler Due to Emissions Fight

California Governor Gavin Newsome took the fight over tailpipe standards, and California’s authority to set its own, to a whole new level by barring the purchase of new gas-powered vehicles for state government fleets from GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and other automakers that backed the Trump Administration.

Why This Matters:  As we reported, the carmakers that Newsome is penalizing are the ones that were hoping that by taking the President’s side they would force the Administration and California to find a middle ground.  Honda, Ford, BMW, and Volkswagen have sided with California and reached an agreement to continue to abide by the state’s requirements.  

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New Delhi’s Air Is So Bad It’s a Health Emergency

New Delhi’s Air Is So Bad It’s a Health Emergency

Residents of New Delhi are “in trouble” — the city’s air quality became so unbearable this past weekend that city officials had to halt outdoor work and activities like construction, limit the cars on the road, and keep people inside – they even closed several thousand primary schools until today.  The government declared it an official public health emergency in which a toxic cloud hangs over the capital, obscuring the sky and sending people to emergency rooms with pulmonary problems.

Why This Matters:  New Delhi’s air quality is 20 times worse than what the World Health Organization considers safe.  That causes many premature deaths as well as the country’s children possibly suffering permanent brain damage from poisonous air in polluted cities.

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Gas Companies Charging Californians More for Gas, New Analysis Finds

Gas Companies Charging Californians More for Gas, New Analysis Finds

Just as Exxon Mobil is on trial for accounting fraud, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked his attorney general’s office to “investigate whether a “mystery surcharge” on gasoline prices in the state was caused by oil companies “misleading and overcharging” their customers,” according to the SF Chronicle. In a letter to California AG Xavier Becerra, Newsom […]

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Dems Not Taking Trump’s Repeal of Clean Power Plan Lying Down

Dems Not Taking Trump’s Repeal of Clean Power Plan Lying Down

The Trump EPA replaced President Obama’s legacy Clean Power Plan with the much weaker Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. Yesterday Democrats tried to use a seldom-used legal maneuver that requires the signature of just 30 senators to review and overturn ACE.

It failed, but Democrats shouldn’t let this vote pass without expanding the narrative that any rules that weaken air pollution protections pose an immediate threat to the health of Americans.

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Nearly 250,000 Students At Risk Due to Proximity To Active Oil and Gas Wells

Nearly 250,000 Students At Risk Due to Proximity To Active Oil and Gas Wells

A Newsy analysis released last week found that more than 600 U.S. schools are located within 500 feet of an active oil or gas well, and more than 1.4 million people across the U.S. live within the 500-foot danger zone. 

Why This Matters:  Kids should not have to go to school near active oil and gas wells with toxic air emissions that put them at higher risk for cancer and respiratory problems.  Research from the Colorado School of Public Health has found that people living within 500 feet of an oil or gas facility have a cancer risk that is 8 times higher than the EPA’s accepted threshold.

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