Fall 2017 News Briefs
Working to reduce air pollution and protect health
Despite decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, Americans across the country continue to breathe unhealthy air, according to the latest report from Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “Our Health At Risk” finds that urgent action is needed to address air pollution problems affecting our communities.
Fortunately, the solutions are within our grasp. Environment Massachusetts is working to commit more and more cities, businesses, universities and our state to 100 percent renewable energy; and to defend the tailpipe emissions standards that were implemented nationwide in 2009.
And in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, our national network is urging elected officials to double the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s best regional clean air and climate protection program. In June, 18 mayors joined 546 health professionals, businesses, academics and community leaders calling for a stronger Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
You’re standing up to save the bees
Millions of bees are dying off, with alarming consequences for our environment and our food supply. That’s why, with your support, Environment Massachusetts is going all out to ban the pesticides that are harming bees and other pollinators. After all, it’s bees, not pesticides, that make our farms and food possible.
This year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would conduct a risk assessment of four types of neonicotinoids, a widely used class of bee-killing pesticides, and opened a 60-day public comment period. Our members leapt at the opportunity to save our pollinators, and by the end of July, Environment Massachusetts and our coalition partners delivered more than 164,000 comments urging the EPA to declare a moratorium on bee-killing pesticides.
We also held bee-friendly BBQ and picnic events over the summer to highlight the many foods we enjoy that depend on bees for pollination—everything from strawberries and watermelons to the alfalfa grown to feed dairy cows.
Your support is bringing polluters to justice
Over the past 25 years, Environment Massachusetts and our partners have found dozens of cases where companies have dumped illegal amounts of pollution into our air, rivers, bays and harbors.
In April, our sister group, Environment Texas, secured a $19.95 million penalty against ExxonMobil after filing an environmental “citizen suit” against the oil giant for violating the Clean Air Act on more than 16,000 days at its Baytown, Texas, petrochemical complex. A federal judge found that Exxon had profited to the tune of $14 million by delaying pollution control measures, and released more than 10 million pounds of illegal emissions into the air, including carcinogens and other toxic air pollutants.
Our lawsuits have resulted in more than $250 million in court-ordered penalties and pollution reduction actions. And with the Trump administration giving a free pass to polluting industries, we’re launching an Environmental Enforcement Initiative to hold polluters accountable. With support from our members, we’ll continue taking illegal polluters to task when they break the law.