LOS ANGELES: Downtown highrise buildings are shown cloaked in dirty air shortly after sunrise September 11, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. Although air quality in Los Angeles has improved in recent decades, smog levels remain among the nation’s worst. Numerous wildfires in the region have also contributed to Los Angeles’ air pollution problem. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The current administration wants to degrade the protections that keep our water and air clean and our population healthy.
Maybe they think we won’t remember how important these safeguards are, even as we watch the continuing nightmare in Flint, MI, and our own state’s rating as having the “highest ozone levels” and “worst smog levels” in the country.
So let’s do a quick historical tour of two of our nation’s greatest environmental protection acts. Each one is rooted in tragedies that cost human lives.
Update: (thehill) EPA’s Scott Pruitt is expected this week to declare that 54.5 mpg standard by 2025 is too strict for the nation’s auto fleet and lower the target, possibly eliminating California’s waiver. CA is committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030, a goal that would be in jeopardy if it cannot hold cars to a high fuel standard.
The Clean Water Act
(alleghenyfront) “June 22, 1969—the day the Cuyahoga River caught fire. In a way, this was nothing new: The river had burned at least a dozen times before, costing millions, and even killing five people.” “It was a river catching fire. I think the rest of the country looked at it and was just—that’s it. That’s over the top. Something has to be done.” – Elaine Marsh, environmental activist
What was done was the passage of the “Clean Water Act“.
The Clean Air Act
October 27th, 1948, a smoky lethal smog killed 20 people in a small Pennsylvania mill town called Donora. This environmental disaster provided proof that air pollution could actually kill people.Embed from Getty Images
‘The Donora Smog of 1948 began on October 27th and lasted until October 31rst, when rain cleared the combined smoke, fog and pollution that had become trapped over the town. In those four days 800 animals died, 7,000 people were sickened and 20 people were killed mostly by asthma related difficults, all caused by the trapped air pollution. The incident is considered one of the worst air pollution disasters in U.S. history.’
Donora maintains a small storefront museum to mark the beginning of a long trail to the “Clean Air Act“, which was enacted in 1970.
In 1990, it was revised with bipartisan support to include curbs on four major threats to our health and environment: acid rain, urban air pollution, toxic air emissions, and stratospheric ozone depletion. The amendments also established a national operating permits program to make the law more workable, and strengthened enforcement to help ensure better compliance with the Act.
Californians need to stand up and empower our legislators to say ‘YES’ on SB 49.
SB 49 — the Preserve California bill – will uphold the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act throughout the state, protect California’s threatened and endangered species, rivers, and drinking water from being sacrificed by the federal government to corporate profits, and save our families and communities from dangerous ozone exposure that threatens our health.
Minimal Script: I am calling from [zip code] to ask State Senator [___] to vote “YES” on SB 49, the “Preserve California” Act.
State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson: (SD-19): SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 http://sd19.senate.ca.gov/send-e-mail
Not your person?: findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.