Help Stop Barton's Dirty Air Amendment to the Energy Bill!

Either tomorrow or Friday (October 30th & 31st) there will be a vote in the House of Representatives on a motion to instruct Energy Conference confereees to STRIKE an amendent that Joe Barton (R-Dallas, TX) has inserted into the Energy Conference Report. Barton's amendment would allow industry to pollute at higher levels for longer than the current Clean Air Act authorizes. It extends the deadlines cities are required to achieve national health based air quality safeguards for ozone smog, which has serious implications for air quality here in Texas.

Please call the following Congressional representatives today. Ask them to vote yes on the "Johnson Motion to Instruct" and to stop Barton from putting our health at risk!

Ruben Hinojosa (D-Mercedes) Ph: 202-225-2531/361-358-8400
Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) Ph: 202-225-3236/210-472-6195
Martin Frost (D-Dallas) Ph: 202-225-3605/817-303-1530
Chris Bell (D-Houston) Ph: 202-225-7508/713-383-8600
Ciro Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) Ph: 202-225-1640/210-924-7383
Gene Green (D-Houston) Ph: 202-225-1688/281-999-5879
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) Ph: 202-225-8885/214-922-8885

Background Information on the Issue:

The 1990 Clean Air Act, signed by the first President Bush, classified cities as marginal, moderate, serious or severe based on the severity of their ozone (smog) pollution problem. Areas with higher classifications were given more time to meet clean air standards, but also had to adopt stronger anti-pollution measures. The clean air deadline for moderate areas was 1996, for serious areas 1999 and for severe areas 2005.

When a city missed its clean air deadline, the Act required that it be reclassified ("bumped up") to the next highest classification. For example, if a serious area failed to meet the ozone health standard by 1999, it was to be reclassified to severe. It would then be given until 2005 to meet the standard, but would also have to adopt the stronger pollution controls required for severe areas.

During the past several years EPA adopted an "extension" policy that extended clean air deadlines for dirty areas without bumping them up to the higher pollution categories that would require the adoption of more protective ozone control measures to help address the adverse public health impacts resulting from the additional delay. Three separate federal appellate courts all ruled that EPA's "extension" policy violated the language and purpose of the Clean Air Act. In light of these rulings, EPA abandoned the "extension" policy. Rather than accepting the judgment of EPA and the courts, however, Members of the Energy Conference are now seeking to amend the Clean Air Act.

Approval of the current language would delay the adoption of urgently needed antipollution measures in communities throughout the country. Such a change in the current Clean Air Act would also make it harder for other communities to meet clean air standards. Pollution from cities that would delay cleanup often travels "downwind" for hundreds of miles to other areas. These areas will find it more difficult to restore clean air.

Rollbacks in clean air protections are leading the nation in exactly the wrong direction. EPA estimates that 127 million Americans live in areas of the country that violate minimum health safeguards for air pollution. The Energy Conference Report is not the forum to delay local control measures needed to reduce harmful smog pollution, thereby exacerbating local air quality and public health, and forestalling the meaningful steps that will be necessary to attain the 1-hour and 8-hour ozone health standards.

Please call Texas representatives today and tell them to stop this severe rollback of the
Clean Air Act!

Amita Lonial
Administrative Assistant, SEED Coalition
611 S. Congress, Suite 200
Austin,TX 78704
The SEED Coalition is an alliance of Texans dedicated to reducing pollution
from power plants, refineries and cars and promoting clean energy jobs in
energy efficiency, renewable energy and other advanced technologies.