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Archive for the ‘Diesel’ Category

Texas Director Adrian Shelley speaking at a VW Settlement community engagement meeting in Fort Worth.

Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal led to a $14.7 billion dollar settlement. Basically, what Volkswagen did was install what are called “defeat devices” which were programmed to run differently during emissions tests so that they appeared to be much less polluting than they actually are. In some cases, NOx (nitrogen oxides), which is not only harmful but is also a precursor to ground-level ozone, was up to 40 times higher than what the cheating emissions tests revealed!

By cheating on emissions tests, Volkswagen harmed public health, causing at least 59 premature deaths and over $450 million in health and social costs (Barrett, 2015). The settlement provides Volkswagen with a chance to compensate owners of vehicles impacted by the defeat devices, mitigate some of the harm done, and reduce future harm using zero emissions technology.

Details of the Settlement

The Volkswagen Settlement is essentially divided into three parts: a personal vehicle buyback program, an environmental mitigation program to reduce the harm done, and a zero emissions vehicle investment commitment to prevent more harm and promote zero emissions technology.

More information on the personal vehicle buyback program can be found at VW’s settlement website http://www.VWCourtSettlement.com. If you have an eligible vehicle, you may also be eligible for additional funds through the Bosch VW Settlement (https://www.boschvwsettlement.com/en/Home/FAQ).

The Environmental Mitigation Trust will be administered at the state level and will fund projects to upgrade and replace dirty diesel engines. Texas will receive $209 million dollars. Once a beneficiary is designated, projects will be determined. We are collecting feedback on these projects, discussed below.

The third fund is the Zero Emissions Vehicle Investment Commitment, also known as Electrify America. VW will be allocating $2 billion dollars toward zero emissions infrastructure and educational campaigns to promote their use. The City of Houston is among the first round of cities to be supported by this fund.

Community Engagement

Public Citizen, alongside Houston coalition partners Coalition of Community Organizations, t.e.j.a.s., and Air Alliance Houston hosted informational meetings regarding the Volkswagen Settlement at Austin High School in Houston and at the Houston Area Research Center in the Woodlands in May and June. Given that both the Houston area and the Dallas-Fort Worth area are in non-attainment for ozone and that this settlement could help improve air quality in both regions, we hosted additional informational meetings last week in Dallas and Fort Worth with our co-sponsors Tarrant Coalition for Environmental Awareness Group, Liveable Arlington, and Arlington Conservation Council, Fort Worth Sierra Club Group and the Dallas Sierra Club Group.

While some other states have had a formal community engagement process, an agency of the State of Texas has yet to hold public meetings regarding the settlement. That’s where Public Citizen and other organizations have stepped in to gather important feedback from community members in regards to what sorts of projects hold the most interest. These projects are limited to those that reduce NOx emissions through engine upgrades or replacements, such as replacing old freight trucks, school buses, dump trucks, etc. A portion of the funds will be available for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

If your group, city, or region is interested in learning more about the Volkswagen Settlement, please contact Stephanie Thomas at [email protected] to learn about upcoming community meetings.

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Public Citizen Honors Tom “Smitty” Smith

 

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After more than three decades of extraordinary work running Public Citizen’s Texas office, “Smitty,” formally known as Thomas Smith, is hanging up his spurs. Smitty is a Texas institution and a national treasure, and on February 1st, we celebrated him right.

Over 200 people attended a retirement dinner for Smitty at the Barr Mansion in Austin, TX on Wednesday evening.  Friends and colleagues from around the state who had work with Smitty on issues over his career that included clean energy, ethics reform, pollution mitigation, nuclear waste disposal, etc came to pay homage to a man who had dedicated his life to fighting for a healthier and more equitable world by making government work for the people and by defending democracy from corporate greed.

Mayor Adler and Council members Leslie Pool and Ann Kitchens

Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea and Smitty

Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel and Smitty

During the evening, Austin Mayor – Steve Adler, Travis County Commissioner – Brigid Shea, and Dallas County Commissioner – Dr. Theresa Daniel presented Smitty with resolutions passed by the City of Austin, Travis County Commissioners Court and Dallas County Commissioners Court all of which acknowledge Smitty’s contributions to their communities and the state of Texas.

 

 

 

Adrian Shelley (front left) and Rob Weissman (front right) at Tom “Smitty” Smith’s retirement event.

Public Citizen’s President, Robert Weissman, thanked Smitty for his service to Public Citizen for the past 31 years and introduced the new director for the Texas office, Adrian Shelley, the current Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston.

Smitty’ impending departure fromPublic Citizen will leave a big hole in advocacy for progressive issues here in Texas, but both Smitty and Robert Weissman expressed confidence that Adrian would lead the Texas office forward into a new era of progressive advocacy.  Adrian is a native Texan from the City of Houston. He has served as the Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston since 2013. He first worked with Air Alliance Houston as a legal fellow in 2010, then as a Community Outreach Coordinator in 2012. In that time, Public Citizen has worked closely with Air Alliance Houston through the Healthy Port Communities Coalition (HPCC), a coalition of nonprofits and community groups which advocates policies to improve public health and safety while encouraging economic growth.

So be assured that Adrian and the Texas staff of Public Citizen are committed to carrying on the battle for justice, for democracy, for air clean and  energy and for clean politics. We can and will protect our children and the generations to come. For this, we can still use your help.  You can make a tax deductible donation to the Texas office of Public Citizen to help us continue his vital work on climate, transportation, civil justice, consumer protection, ethics, campaign finance reform and more

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No Idling Sign photo from SetonBexar County has joined the other 44 communities in the state of Texas limiting idling by heavy vehicles. The primary reasoning for the ordinance to try to avoid ground level ozone levels that warrant non-attainment status for the county by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from vehicles combine with volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the air to create ground level ozone, which can cause or worsen respiratory diseases, such as asthma.

Non-attainment status refers to “any area that does not meet (or that contributes to ambient air quality in a nearby area that does not meet) the national primary or secondary ambient air quality standard for the pollutant.” The county’s decision to limit emissions via prohibiting idling is logical because the decision limits emissions from those passing through the county rather than limiting emissions by its residents. Non-attainment status is established by the Clean Air Act and has multiple consequences that act as incentive to reduce ozone levels that affect the health of a county’s citizens. Consequences include loss of federal highway funding and EPA oversight over air pollution permits. While this measure is not expected to keep Bexar County in compliance once the new ground level ozone standard goes into effect, it will help.

Trucks idling -Idling limits for heavy vehicles are also important because most of them are diesel fueled and produce particulate mater that is harmful to health. The very small particles in diesel exhaust are composed of elemental carbon, which absorbs other compounds and caries them deep into your lungs. Diesel particulate matter is linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and is potential human carcinogen.

The Bexar County decision follows after Houston, the state’s largest city, approved a similar ordinance that limits vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds to five minutes of idling. Heavy vehicles include semi-trailer trucks and school buses. Idling school buses are of particular concern because children are especially vulnerable to the impacts from diesel exhaust.  The Bexar County court order allows buses to idle for up to 30 minutes though. The order also includes many other exemptions and should be revisited in the future to better protect public health.

Idling limitations are protected by the Locally Enforced Vehicle Idling Limitations Rule, established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The rule limits the idling of heavy vehicles of jurisdictions that have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the TECQ for the local enforcement of idling restrictions. The Locally Enforced Vehicle Idling Limitations Rule was established in 2005 and with the addition of Bexar County, 45 communities have adopted idling limitations. The city of San Antonio is also set approve a similar measure later this month.

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In a new study released by George Thurston of New York University’s Langone Medical Center that surveyed more than 500,000 Americans, shows that as air pollution levels rise in the areas where they live, rates of death rise, specially deaths from heart disease.

Diesel Particle

An example of particulate matter is a diesel particle, which have carbon at their core with toxics and carcinogenic substances attached to their surfaces.

Even with new, stricter standards on emissions, their data adds to a growing body of evidence that particulate matter is really harmful to health, increasing overall mortality, mostly deaths from cardiovascular disease, as well as deaths from respiratory disease in nonsmokers.  Specifically the study looked at air pollutants called particulates, in this case tiny particles 2.5 micrometers or less (sometimes referred to as PM 2.5). These particles can settle into the lungs, pass from there into the blood stream, and are not coughed up. They also often contain dangerous heavy metals such as mercury or arsenic.

The team used a survey run by the National Institutes of Health and AARP, looking at more than 500,000 volunteers aged 50 to 71 in six states and two large cities, Atlanta and Detroit. They used Environmental Protection Agency data that breaks down exposure to air pollution by county or city.

Every extra 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air raised the risk of heart death between 2000 and 2009 by 10 percent, they report in the government journal Environmental Health Perspectives. And that increase in air pollution raised the overall risk of death over the decade by 3 percent.

People who are poorer and less educated often live in more polluted areas and also have higher death rates, so the researchers accounted for that, along with age, race, marital status, smoking, weight and alcohol use. The effects held even when those other factors were considered.

This study should be of particular interest to those living in areas that are in non or near non-attainment for Federal air quality standards.

While Houston is currently in attainment for PM 2.5 standards , this new study would indicate that that is no guarantee that Houston residents are not at risk for increased health impacts.

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(Reuters) – Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists at Harvard School of Public Health reported on Thursday.

The greater the exposure to fine particulates emitted by fires, vehicles, and industrial smokestacks the greater the risk, found the study, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Earlier research also found an autism-pollution connection, including a 2010 study that found the risk of autism doubled if a mother, during her third trimester, lived near a freeway, a proxy for exposure to particulates. But this is the first to examine the link across the United States, and “provides additional support” to a possible link, said Heather Volk of the University of Southern California Children’s Hospital, who led earlier studies.

U.S. diagnoses of autism soared to one in 68 children in 2010 (the most recent data) from one in 150 in 2000, government scientists reported in March. Experts are divided on how much of the increase reflects greater awareness and how much truly greater incidence.

Although the disorder has a strong genetic basis, the increasing incidence has spurred scientists to investigate environmental causes, too, since genes do not change quickly enough to explain the rise.

The Harvard study included children of the 116,430 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, which began in 1989. The researchers collected data on where the women lived while pregnant and levels of particulate pollution. They then compared the prenatal histories of 245 children with autism spectrum disorder to 1,522 normally-developing children, all born from 1990 to 2002.

There was no association between autism and fine particulate pollution before or early in pregnancy, or after the child was born. But high levels of exposure during the third trimester doubled the risk of autism.

Evidence that a mother-to-be’s exposure to air pollution affects her child’s risk of autism “is becoming quite strong,” said Harvard epidemiologist Marc Weisskopf, who led the study, suggesting a way to reduce the risk.

It is not clear how tiny particles might cause autism, but they are covered with myriad contaminants and penetrate cells, which can disrupt brain development.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency, citing the link to asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, tightened air quality standards for fine particulate pollution. States have until 2020 to meet the new standards.
(Reporting by Sharon Begley; editing by Andrew Hay)

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KXL Climate ChangeWith the release of the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, there has been a lot of buzz about the project. The report concluded that Keystone XL could create carbon pollution equivalent to nearly six million cars, or eight coal-fired power plants. Last Week the State Department began accepting comments from the public, and with only a few weeks (until Mar 07, 2014 11:59 PM ET) left the need for citizens to weigh in has never been more urgent. Now is the time to tell Secretary of State John Kerry that this dirty pipeline is not in our national interest.

This is our final opportunity to officially weigh in on the decision. Submit a comment right now to tell the Obama Administration that the “game over for the climate” Keystone XL pipeline is NOT in our national interest.

Here are some facts to consider including in your comment to Secretary Kerry and the State Department:

  • The evidence is clear that Keystone XL could increase production levels of tar sands oil in Alberta, and therefore significantly add to carbon emissions. The massive investment would lock us into dependence on this dirty fuel for decades, exacerbating carbon pollution just when we need to go in the other direction.
  • Beyond the effects on our climate, this dangerous pipeline would also put the water supply of millions of Americans at risk, including the precious Ogallala Aquifer, Platte and Niobrara rivers, and hundreds of individual families’ wells. After a year in which many communities were harmed by spills from existing pipelines, we cannot allow any more of the dirtiest, most toxic oil on earth to spill into our lands and waterways.
  • The jobs numbers touted by industry are exaggerated. Oil industry lobbyist and pro-pipeline politicians claim that the Keystone XL would create 20,000 to half a million jobs, but these jobs numbers are grossly exaggerated. Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will only create about 3,900 jobs over a two year period, and after that the project would only provide jobs for 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.
  • The Keystone XL is an export pipeline. According to presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America. Proceeds from these exports are earned tax-free. Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline’s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers’ tanks. Therefore, not reducing gas prices for Americans.

This is our last chance to voice concerns to the State Department before the public comment period ends on March 7. We need to get our message across to Secretary Kerry, because what he says could be one of the biggest determining factors in President Obama’s decision.

Submit your comment: Keystone XL is NOT in our national interest.

In addition to submitting your comment electronically, comments may also be mailed directly to:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Energy Resources, Room 4843
Attn: Keystone XL Public Comments
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

#NoKXL

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Texas Capitol - north viewWith the regular session behind us and energy and environmental issues not likely to find a place in the special session, it’s a good time to look at what we accomplished.

Our wins came in two forms – bills that passed that will actually improve policy in Texas and bills that didn’t pass that would have taken policy in the wrong direction.

We made progress by helping to get bills passed that:

  • Expand funding for the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) by about 40%;
  • Create a program within TERP to replace old diesel tractor trailer trucks used in and around ports and rail yards (these are some of the most polluting vehicles on the road);
  • Establish new incentives within TERP for purchasing plug-in electric cars; and
  • Assign authority to the Railroad Commission (RRC) to regulate small oil and gas lines (these lines, known as gathering lines, are prone to leaks); and
  • Allows commercial and industrial building owners to obtain low-cost, long-term private sector financing for water conservation and energy-efficiency improvements, including on-site renewable energy, such as solar.

We successfully helped to stop or improve bad legislation that would have:

  • Eliminated hearings on permits for new pollution sources (the contested case hearing process is crucial to limiting pollution increases);
  • Eliminated additional inspections for facilities with repeated pollution violations;
  • Weakened protections against utilities that violate market rules and safety guidelines;
  • Eliminated property tax breaks for wind farms, while continuing the policy for other industries;
  • Granted home owners associations (HOAs) authority to unreasonably restrict homeowners ability to install solar panels on their roofs; and
  • Permitted Austin City Council to turn control of Austin Energy over to an unelected board without a vote by the citizens of Austin.

We did lose ground on the issue of radioactive waste disposal.  Despite our considerable efforts, a bill passed that will allow more highly radioactive waste to be disposed of in the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) facility in west Texas.  Campaign contributions certainly played an important roll in getting the bill passed.

We were also disappointed by Governor Perry’s veto of the Ethics Commission sunset bill, which included several improvements, including a requirement that railroad commissioners resign before running for another office, as they are prone to do.  Read Carol’s post about this bill and the issue.

With the legislation over and Perry’s veto pen out of ink, we now shift our attention to organizing and advocating for a transition from polluting energy sources that send money out of our state to clean energy sources that can grow our economy.

We’re working to:

  • Promote solar energy at electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities;
  • Speed up the retirement of old, inefficient, polluting coal-fired power plants in east Texas;
  • Protect our climate and our port communities throughout the Gulf states from health hazards from new and expanded coal export facilities;
  • Fight permitting of the Keystone XL and other tar sands pipelines in Texas;
  • Ensure full implementation of improvements made to TERP; and
  • Develop an environmental platform for the 2014 election cycle.

Our power comes from people like you getting involved – even in small ways, like writing an email or making a call.  If you want to help us work for a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable future, email me at [email protected] And one of the best things you can do is to get your friends involved too.

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Fine particles in the air (particularly those smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) cause a multitude of health problems, ranging from difficulty kid with asthma inhalerbreathing and asthma to heart attacks and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.  The question has been whether or not cleaning the air any further makes a difference.  This type of air pollution has decreased substantially since 1980, but only smaller gains have been made since 2000.

A new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health shows that even the modest gains made in reducing particulate matter between 2000 and 2007 are adding years to people’s lives.  Life expectancies were shown to increase .35 years in 545 US counties.

Not everyone is equally impacted, so some demographics are reaping larger benefits through cleaner air.  The young, the old and those who exercise outdoors are most likely to be negatively impacted by fine particles in the air.

In Texas, our port communities endure especially high concentrations of particulate matter.  Public Citizen is working to force the Port of Houston clean up.  Replacing or retrofitting the old, highly polluting trucks that haul goods from the port to nearby warehouses would do a lot to improve the health of surrounding communities.  The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) provides funds for just this purpose.  Those investments are saving lives, but are often underutilized by truck owners.

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Perry Appointees Smitherman, Nelson, Anderson protect consumers from energy efficiency

There is a disturbing trend emerging in Texas. A once successful consumer-oriented program is floundering because of a deficit of perspective behind the dais at the PUC.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas proposed adopting an update to the state’s energy efficiency program that would cap the amount of money utilities could spend on programs that reduce the energy bills for homes and businesses.

Under the rule, utility expenditures on energy efficiency would be limited to one tenth of one cent per kilowatt-hour. That’s $0.001, which would amount to around a dollar a month for the average home. It’s worth pointing out that there are no cost caps for other energy resources, just the cheapest one.

This bears repeating: the PUC does not want utilities to spend more money to fund programs that make Texas homes more energy efficient and reduce their utility bills.

During today’s hearing, it was abundantly clear that Governor Perry’s appointees to the commission have folded to industry pressure and adopted the bizarre world view that energy efficiency costs consumers too much money. As evidence, in addition to only considering utility industry estimates on the cost of future efficiency resources, they frequently alluded to a report released this week by the conservative and industry-friendly Texas Public Policy Foundation which made unsubstantiated claims that the consumer benefits of energy efficiency programs could not only be less than currently estimated, but actually negative (page 3). (A more detailed critique of their report is coming).

At a workshop earlier this month, the commissioners only allowed industry representatives to present information. No consumer advocates, environmental groups, no academics were allowed to present and even the comments by ACEEE seem to have been ignored.

It’s now time for the Legislature to be the grownups in the room (more…)

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Great news from the Edmunds.com Green Car Blog:

Southern California Port Pollution Drops Dramatically Under Clean-Truck Program

port-of-los-angeles.jpgA clean-trucks program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California has shown quick progress, with an 80 percent decline in diesel emissions expected by the end of 2010 — a year ahead of schedule.

“This is the most successful effort to clean a port in the world,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I mean, think about it. Nobody thought it was possible to retrofit 5,000 trucks in a year, and we’re at 5,500 and growing.”

So far, the program has reduced diesel truck emissions at the Los Angeles port (pictured) by 70 percent compared with 2007 levels, Villaraigosa said. Long Beach has seen similar results, according to Mayor Bob Foster.

The program is part of a larger effort to reduce diesel emissions at the port complex, one of the major sources of pollution in Southern California. Increased rates of cancer, asthma and other serious health ailments for area residents have been attributed to port pollution.

Villaraigosa and Foster unveiled the promising figures during a briefing at the Port of Long Beach on Thursday, when U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced $26.5 million in federal grants for clean-air programs throughout Southern California.

This is really great news for our port cities, whose dirty air is tied at least partially to the pollution from the ports.  Diesel emissions also contain black carbon particles, which can have a much greater effect on the climate than CO2, methane, or any of the other greenhouse gases.  Also, as a particulate, it can get lodged in your lungs and cause all sorts of respiratory ailments.  Cutting black carbon should be a major goal, and one which the Ports of LA and Long Beach seem to be tackling very well.

Farbeit from me to advocate that Texas ever in any way should try to be like California, (*smirk*) but this shows that specific programs designed to tackle specific problems can be very effective.

LA and Long Beach Together– Now You Know You’re In Trouble…”

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Do you like clean air?

Do you like clean air for KIDS?

Seems like the rest of the state does, too.  According to TCEQ, a program to retrofit school buses around the state has been able to retrofit 2300 buses statewide. Even more amazing was the demand for the program exceeding its allotment by 40%, meaning for every 3 school buses we wanted to fix, we could only fix 2.   However, that means that for tens of thousands of kids, they are now riding in much better buses, and those school districts who gut put on the waiting list just have to wait for more money from the Legislature to get their buses clean, too.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKwjyXjvb6k]

A demonstration of how much pollution is prevented on a school bus

Local ISDs, schools, parents, and kids love this program because of how much it reduces toxic air pollution from our buses, and does so without taking money out of the classroom.  Local businesses and residents should love it because it is making their communities cleaner.  This is a win for air quality, a win for school districts, and most importantly, a win for children’s health.

More video, a press release, and gory details after the break: (more…)

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Abandon All Hope…

…ye who enter the Turk plant.Turk Site

Last Thursday in Hope, Arkansas there were two meetings. One was widely attended, the other was not… mostly because hardly anyone had heard of it.

They hadn’t heard of it because it snuck in under the wire, with barely (if at all) the proper notices and alerts. It was a quorum court meeting, and on the agenda was a motion to approve a bond issuance “not to exceed” $185,000,000. Aside from one dissenting voice of sanity, the motion was passed.

It was passed without allowing anyone to comment, and upon only one reading.

Hempstead County and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation are now investors in the Turk Coal Plant, meaning residents and taxpayers are now on the hook for nearly 200 million dollars.

Why do they need this public backing? Coal’s dirty little secret is that it is on the way out, and everybody knows this. Power plants are constructed with a budget to pay off the cost of the plant over 20 or 30 years. Coal will soon become so economically unviable that these plants will be forced to close, leaving taxpayers and bondholders to pick up the check. How incredibly irresponsible.

Meanwhile, across town at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, I and a few hundred other people were cramming ourselves into the library to listen and submit comments to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). They were holding a public hearing regarding mercury and other HAPs that the Turk plant will be emitting.

Employees from the plant were there, wearing florescent yellow t-shirts that said “Support Turk” on them. I wonder how many of those “employees” were contractors: temporary workers who don’t even live in Hempstead County, or possibly even Arkansas. Adding evidence to my suspicions was a documentary film maker present at the hearing who had filmed most of them leaving the plant earlier that day.

There was one local employee of SWEPCO who did give comments, and spoke at length about how much they all needed the plant because he had six kids and he needed his job with SWEPCO to take care of them.

He got the loudest applause of anyone the entire evening.

This same, poor, hard-working employee so concerned with supporting his kids has no concern for the destruction coal is wrecking on the futures of those same children. And not just the future of their health, but their economy too. Carbon legislation is going to happen during the next president’s term, and it will make coal so expensive that many coal plants will have to be shut down. Why, then, are we building new coal plants?

(Read the Entire Original Post on Coal Block)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This reminded me a lot of a BBC special I saw about Chinese coal plants and how the people knew the coal was making them sick but felt they needed the jobs.  Watch it below.  ~~Citizen Andy

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/MoBv9FC7WAM]

(BBC report on a coal plant in China)

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When I think of cliché images from grade school, I think of two things—apples and big, yellow school buses. Apples aside, school buses are a typical part of the grade school experience. Unfortunately, school buses are also some of the oldest and most polluting vehicles on the roads today.

School buses emit toxic soot, which can lead to asthma, bronchitis, headaches—and over time—cancer, heart disease and premature death for those exposed to diesel pollution. Children are among those most at risk of the hazards of diesel exhaust. While thousands of kids ride school buses every day in the state of Texas, nearly 90% of Texas’ 37,000 school buses emit unhealthy toxins into the bus cabin. In fact, these air toxins are up to four times higher inside the bus cabin than pollution levels outside the school bus.

Luckily, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) received $8.8 million from the EPA to provide grants to Texas’ school districts. These districts can use this money to purchase anti-pollution equipment, such as particulate filters, to reduce the level of toxic emissions released from the buses.

Check out this video where the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) tests the tail pipes of a retrofitted bus with a conventional bus. The retrofitted bus has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) which reduces diesel soot by as much as 90%.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKwjyXjvb6k]

-Cyndi Goodson, Intern

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