Category:Clean Air

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GreenPolicy360 Siterunner: In the 1950s and 1960s, when your GreenPolicy editor was a young person growing up in Los Angeles, California, the people in L.A. breathed some of the dirtiest air in the world.

Los Angeles still has 'smog' now, but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. How did the city get its act together?

It took decades. California was out in front in the U.S. and world in air quality regulations but it wasn’t until 1975 that the U.S. required new cars to have catalytic converters, “the key piece of technology that allowed everything to change,” according to Mary Nichols, chairman of California’s Air Resources Board. In between, there were frustrating years of scientific research, industry denial, politics, protest and an unwavering attachment to the automobile.


August 7, 2022

Steve Schmidt / GreenPolicy360 Founder / Siterunner: 50+ years working on it, starting when George Brown showed me an xray of the lungs of a Los Angeles child growing up (and dying) in 1950s LA smog... back then, in East LA/Monterey Park, George started explaining the work he intended to do, as a trained physicist and engineer and newly elected Congressperson, to clean up the air in Calif and the US, and do the atmospheric/earth science needed.... in 1978 he pushed thru the first National Climate Act, he was principal drafter of it and a mover/shaker who acted to get the EPA established and orig NASA earth science missions set in motion... I watched and was involved as he shepherded it all from his Congressional oversight com't in the 70s/80s/90s -- Here's to George's vision and his legacy... to the memory of George E Brown #PlanetCitizen

Congressman Brown's work advanced environmental air quality and clean air legislation. He introduced the nation's first bill to ban lead in gasoline and was at the forefront of the Clean Air Act. He attacked Los Angeles smog, some of the worst air quality of any city in the world at the time and the air standards that came out of California became models worldwide. He succeeded in clean air and water efforts, though rarely given credit given his quiet approach to accomplishing big picture goals.


August 24, 2022

Democrats Designed the Climate Law to Be a Game Changer

Via the NY Times | 08/22/2022




CO2 as a Pollutant

Climate legislation signed into law this month by President Joe Biden bolsters EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases

In a first, climate law defines CO2 as air pollutant

In enacting a sweeping climate measure, analysts said Biden and congressional Democrats signaled a desire for EPA to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. Firming up EPA’s legal footing also is a boost for an agency that has faced court challenges from conservatives who question EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. That authority rests on Massachusetts v. EPA, a 2007 Supreme Court decision that found the agency is required to regulate CO2 as a pollutant dangerous to public health.



08/24/2022 / Via The Atlantic

by Robinson Meyer

While it’s true that the IRA itself consists almost only of carrots, that is not true of the broader structure of American climate law. There is, in fact, a big “stick” for tackling carbon pollution already on the books in the United States, as well as an agency tasked with wielding that stick. I’m talking about the Clean Air Act and the EPA. And the IRA, by design, strengthens the government’s ability to wield that stick.

It does this in at least two ways. The first is that the IRA confirms that carbon dioxide is a type of air pollution covered by the Clean Air Act, as initially reported by The New York Times earlier this week.

This has broader consequences than it might seem. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that carbon dioxide counted as an air pollutant, and that, if the EPA decided that CO2 harmed human health and the environment, it could regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act. That ruling—and the EPA’s official determination, a few years later, that CO2 is dangerous—has anchored the agency’s climate regulations on cars and trucks, and its proposed rules for the power grid.

But then in June, the Court circumscribed some of the EPA’s authority over the power grid. Conservative justices have harped on the fact that Congress has never clearly delegated the power to regulate greenhouse gases to the EPA.

Now it has. The IRA repeatedly defines greenhouse gas as a form of air pollution. It amends several sections of the Clean Air Act to define “greenhouse gas” as encompassing “the air pollutants carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.” In another section, it grants money under the Clean Air Act for any project that “reduces or avoids greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution.”

Congress has now clearly spoken: Carbon dioxide is a form of air pollution. And though this will not undo this year’s ruling, it buttresses the EPA’s underlying legal authority to regulate climate pollution.


The EPA Just Quietly Got Stronger


More on CO2 and Greenhouse Gases as Pollutants to be Regulated under Law


Your GreenPolicy360 Founder/Siterunner's thoughts:

To the Supreme Court: Here is the exacting and specific language about CO2 and air 'pollutants'

Over the years, and on our GreenPolicy360 site, I have shared my knowledge of the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the first era of environmental protection legislation and the first National Climate Act. My long time friend Congressman George E Brown, a principal drafter of enabling legislation during the 1970s/80s/90s, and activist member and a chair of the House of Representative oversight committee of science, technology, and earth science/atmosphereic science space programs, was a mover and shaker who shared with me many of his thoughts and initiatives. Over the years, until his passing in 1999, I learned about the legislation and *the intent* of the legislation that he and his colleagues were drafting. His/their language, for example, the definitions of pollutants, was intended to be broad and expansive. The definition of air pollution in the Clean Air Act, for example, addressed health and safety, and protection of life ... They know that the science of the day would become more empirically defined as atmospheric and earth science they were setting in motion w NASA/NOAA and USGS missions was supported, funded, launched and reported. The empirical data, as they planned, was collected and analyzed over the years and decades and the scientific case became clearer and clearer. CO2 and other greenhouse gases were impacting air quality and atmospheric disruption was forcing climate change. The U.S. Supreme Court, unfortunately for years, was unable to accept the intent and language of the legislators on this critically important work. Recently, with the Massachusetts v. EPA 2007 Supreme Court decision and now with the signing of clarifying 2022 legislative language, the climate action work will gather scope and speed at the federal agencies, especially at the EPA.


Decades of Clean Air Progress Threatened


Clean Air Act of 1970

Beginnings of the environmental movement coming out of 1960s activism.

A tip of our eco-hat to citizens (and Congressman George Brown, an East LA engineer) who envisioned what could be accomplished to clean up the air.

Here's to citizens and scientists working to clean up our air and water, protecting our environment for the health of all... in Los Angeles, the US and in nations across the world.

EPA History

George was a key player in legislation founding the Environmental Protection Agency.

As the LA Times noted (without pomp or circumstance) in George's obituary in 1999: "He championed the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency". The creation of the EPA was in many ways Congressman George Brown's vision achieved..."

Environmental Protection Agency logo.png

As George and I worked over many years we both grew in our politics as together and separately we advocated for peace and environmental protection. Big science was at the center of much of George's future-looking agenda. He believed in green politics and was a mentor to me and many.... He became a leader in Congress from California who helped shape the modern environmental movement.

EPA Overview of the Clean Air Act and Air Pollution

California, 'First Movers', Model for Clean Air & Envir Protection

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Pages in category "Clean Air"

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