Better World Club

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Had Us at "Set Public Hearings on California Emissions Standards"

A Love Letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson



Dear Administrator Jackson,

Being with you is literally like a breath of fresh air. We spent far too long (2005-2008) in an unhealthy relationship with former EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. Stephen consistently didn't meet our needs (like protecting the environment), and he never listened. Public comments, lawsuits from state DAs, orders from the US Supreme Court, and even objections from his own scientists were routinely ignored.

In particular, Stephen was too self-absorbed to address our need for a waiver so California and 13 other states could set their own auto emissions standards. Was a tiny little waiver too much to ask for?

Lisa, that's one of the reasons why we're so excited to be with you now. We've only been together a short time, but you've already shown what an active listener you are (unlike Stephen L. Johnson, who would bore us to tears talking about the "good old days" in the chemical and animal testing industries). Why, just a few days ago, you announced both a public hearing and public comment period for the auto emissions waiver.

This relationship is off to a good start, but be warned: we've been hurt before, and we won't put up with any passive-aggressive anti-environmental behavior. We flooded our old administrator with petitions and aren't afraid to do so again if necessary - but it won't be necessary, right?

So, how about a date? We're sure your ethics rules stop us from buying you dinner, but we'll drive. (It's a hybrid.)

Love,
Better World Club

Bookmark with:

Delicious | Digg | reddit | Facebook | StumbleUpon

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

BWC Members Demanded it, and the EPA Complied:

They Got the Lead Out (Of the Air We Breathe)

However, New, Stricter Lead Emissions Standards Aren't Being Enforced the Way they Should

It's no secret that lead isn't good for you. Ingestion of lead can cause nerve damage, slow brain and nervous system development; it can affect the cardiovascular system, kidney function, the immune system, and the reproductive system.

Despite all this, national pollution standards for lead had not changed since 1978. The EPA has finally come out with an updated ruling on lead emissions standards, reducing the allowable amount from 1.5 micrograms of lead per cubic meter to 0.15 micrograms.

We're proud to say that Better World Club members helped the EPA reach this decision.

Just two years ago, the EPA even considered delisting lead as a pollutant altogether. Once again, Better World Club members made their voices heard and let the EPA know what a bad idea that was.

It's great that lead standards have been tightened based on science instead of the wishes of entrenched special interests (yes, we're talking about you, Battery Council International). However, the new ruling does have some controversial aspects.

The first version of the new rule stated that any facility that emitted a half a ton of lead or more per year would need to be monitored. The White House Office of Management and Budget objected to this standard and forced the EPA to back away from it. The final version of the EPA's ruling doubles that standard, allowing lead-emitting facilities to spew up to one ton of lead per year without monitoring.

So while we're pleased that EPA Administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, listened to his own scientists (and BWC members!) and tightened lead emissions standards, we're not so pleased with the watered-down way the new rule is being implemented.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

EPA Announces Plan for Habitat Protection in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

A "Caribou Rehabilitation Zone" is Planned in Oil-Rich Area

ExxonMobil to Create Nonprofit "Caribou Foundation" to Aid in Area's Rehabilitation



The EPA is partnering with the Department of Energy and ExxonMobil to save the caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. The announcement was made at a press conference today, attended by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson.

"We're especially pleased to have ExxonMobil, a for-profit company, onboard for this project," enthused Johnson. "They've agreed to invest millions in this caribou-saving project. Their generosity is just amazing."

"We at ExxonMobil are just trying to do what's right," Tillerson averred. "We're investing in our nation's future, and the children, and, um, nature. We hope that within twenty years we'll be producing millions of gallons of...er..caribou."

The focal point of the project will be several large metal structures dubbed "Caribou Social Areas" (see diagram above). These are designed to provide caribou with a safe and inviting environment. Special features include a large drill that creates low-level vibrations in the ground that caribou apparently find pleasing, as well as several thousand miles of pipelines that serve as a meeting ground and "coffee klatch" for the lucky animals.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What The Frack?!?!?

The Oil and Gas Industries are Pumping Millions of Gallons of Dangerous Chemicals Into the Ground, and Nobody's Regulating Them

Gosh, the EPA Must Be Too Busy Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cars... No, Wait, They're Not Doing That Either

Well, Maybe They're All Too Busy Lining Up Jobs in the Oil, Chemical, and Mining Industries Before January 2009



Fracturing ("fracking") fluids are toxic chemical cocktails that companies drilling for oil or natural gas use to break up rock below ground. The ingredients that make up these fracking fluids are a closely held and unregulated secret, and can include almost any set of chemicals.

The EPA okayed the use of these fluids in 2004, deeming them safe for groundwater and the environment. In 2005, Congress exempted fracking fluids from the Safe Drinking Water Act, due to the fact that they are usually pumped into the ground far below water tables.

Pumping millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the ground? Great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty. Recently, an employee at an energy-services company in Colorado got caught in a fracking fluid spill (that was never officially reported). The worker experienced headaches and nausea and was taken to the emergency room. The chemical stench given off by the sick man was so great that the ER was locked down and hospital staff were ordered to wear protective masks and gowns. The nurse who attended the sick man got sick herself several days later and was admitted into the intensive care unit with a swollen liver, erratic blood counts, and lungs filling with fluid.

This incident was caused by a mere 130-gallon spill. Millions of gallons of fracking fluid are being pumped into the ground. With all of the new drilling permits being issued by our fossil fuel-loving president (in the Rocky Mountain region alone, 33,000 new wells have been approved since 2001), it's only a matter of time before a major spill occurs.

Also, what about the long-term effects of pumping unregulated toxic chemicals into the ground? Not to be a baby about this, but our food and drinking water come from the ground, too. You think maybe we should be paying more attention to what we're pumping down there?

Bookmark with:

Delicious | Digg | reddit | Facebook | StumbleUpon

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wow! The California Waiver Soap Opera Just Got Soap-Oprier!

Latest Surprise Twist: EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson May Have Been a Good Guy All Along!

Bush Better Watch Out, Johnson Tell-All Book Could Be In The Works: What Happened At The EPA? Nothing!


Recently surfaced EPA internal documents show that EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson actually favored allowing California and 17 other states to regulate their own tailpipe emissions.

This environmentally sound position was reversed, however, after officials at the White House pulled Johnson aside and "discussed" the issue with him. The EPA is an independent agency, and Johnson - like all EPA Administrators - is a presidential appointee, but that does not mean that he is supposed to be taking orders from the White House.

What's shocking about this story isn't the fact that the head of our EPA acts as a mouthpiece for a presidential administration that acts as a mouthpiece for polluting industries. What's truly surprising is the fact that Johnson actually had to have his arm twisted to deny California's waiver request.

Who knows what other pro-environmental tendencies he may be harboring deep in his heart? Perhaps this man - who used to be an executive in the animal testing industry - is secretly a member of PETA? The mind boggles at the possibilities, but then Scott McClelland now says that he disbelieves the very statements he was making in the White House press room.

So Stephen L. Johnson, whether you're hugging trees or whackin' them down with your kick-ass Husky 346XP chainsaw, we will give credit where it's due and thank you for trying. We look forward to your book.


The Story So Far...

If you're new to this soap opera and need to catch up, you can check out last month's 'Driving Change' petition to learn more about this sordid multi-year saga of adultery, divorce, amnesia, and tailpipe emissions.

Labels: , , ,