Clean Air Victory

by Frank O'Donnell,

Last week, an appeals court took the Bush administration to task for ignoring environmental laws.


Major clean air victory

Last year, you helped us win a critical victory when we blocked President Bush's Dirty Skies bill before it reached the Senate floor for a vote.

Now, I've got more good news to report on the clean air front. NRDC has turned back the Bush Administration's most aggressive attempt to dismantle the Clean Air Act for the sake of America's biggest polluters.

Four years ago, the Administration issued new rules that would have allowed 20,000 aging power plants, oil refineries and other big polluters to evade pollution controls required by law. These proposed changes, shaped directly by industry lobbyists, were little more than a payback to Big Oil and Big Coal for their lavish campaign contributions.

This devastating reversal of the Clean Air Act would have given ExxonMobil and other industry giants a free pass to clog our air with hundreds of thousands more tons of harmful pollution. And it could have led to a dramatic increase in asthma and heart attacks, hospitalizations and premature deaths. The most vulnerable -- children, seniors and those already struggling to breathe in our cities -- would have suffered the most.

In response, we mobilized thousands of our online activists to protest this unprecedented attack on our clean air safeguards. When the Bush Administration moved ahead anyway, NRDC raced to court and argued that the new rules would cause permanent injury to millions of Americans. In December 2003, the court took the unusual step of blocking the new rules from taking effect until the full case could be heard.

Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that slams the door on the Administration's attempt to sabotage the Clean Air Act. The court rebuked the Bush plan for threatening the health of millions and undermining a law that was meant to limit pollution, not increase it!

This victory proves once again that the courts are often our last line of defense against the Bush Administration's worst attacks. Thank you so much for helping to defend America's clean air law.


Frances Beinecke
President Natural Resources Defense Council


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