DEADLINE: May 15, 2017

Existing EPA regulations are under review! Regulations.gov is now accepting public comments regarding the federal effort to review and rescind EPA regulations affecting climate change, specifically carbon dioxide, methane, and coal ash.


To comment on this effort to rescind, repeal, or replace current EPA regulations, follow these steps:

Tell EPA to Protect Our Environmental Health

In February, President Trump signed an Executive Order calling for each federal agency to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force that would recommend which existing regulations could be repealed, replaced or changed.  EPA has made great progress in health protections in recent years, and these regulations need to be sustained to build upon these gains.  EPA cannot reverse course now.  It is critical that the EPA hears from physicians on the need to keep environmental protections in place so that everyone can be healthy and safe.  Comments are due May 15, 2017. The Consortium is submitting comments to the agency, but it is essential that EPA hears from as many physicians as possible. Please consider writing to EPA to share the important role EPA  regulations play in protecting public health.

To submit comments to EPA and share your perspective on how patient health is protected through these regulations, please click here. To help guide your response, please feel free to use this information or the model language.

Also, please note…To be effective the comments need to clearly indicate the name of the individual who is commenting or the group. They also need to specifically identify the regulation. For example, ozone or lead under NAAQS rather than a general comment such as “Protect clean air.”

  • The Clean Power Plan:
    The Clean Power Plan limited carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. These carbon emissions generate approximately one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas pollution – a leading contributor to climate change. The Clean Power Plan meant progress toward cleaner air and a safer environment. Without this rule, the emissions causing our climate to change will continue to grow placing our health at greater risk.
  • Maintaining the regulations on methane release. The 2015 methane regulation established limits on emissions of methane and other volatile organic compounds from new or revised natural gas drilling operations. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with high impact on the atmosphere. It is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in absorbing heat and keeping it in the atmosphere.  Recent evidence reinforces the concern that it is also a direct threat to health.
  • Revising the regulations on dumping of coal ash. The final EPA coal ash regulation was published in theFederal Register in 2015.  It stated that, beginning in 2018, power plants would have had to begin showing that they were using the most up-to-date technology to remove heavy metals — including lead, arsenic, mercury and other pollutants — from their wastewater.  Until the update, federal standards to curb toxic dumping by coal-fired power plants had not been updated in several decades and states had left the problem largely unregulated. But the EPA is now reconsidering the rule.  It has now advised states that it is working on a plan to give them more flexibility in complying with this rule.  This is likely to weaken the coal regulations at the federal level by allowing states to dictate the terms of compliance.
  • Implementation of reforms to the Toxic Substance Control Act. The previous law was ineffectual and prevented the EPA from advancing regulations to protect the public from chemical exposures. The revised law, passed with bipartisan support gives the EPA important new tools to set safety standards for chemicals we encounter every day. These tools – and the regulations that the EPA has advanced so far under the new law – must be protected and utilized.

Model Language:

The Executive Order on environmental policy issued by the White House on March 28, 2017 starts a process of rescinding, revising, and reviewing regulatory decisions and authorities of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—specifically those that were intended to tackle climate change.  These policy changes initiate reviews of the Clean Power Plan and the regulations on methane and other volatile organic compounds.  Eliminating these policies would be a mistake.  In 2007, the US Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act. This led to the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding that the current and projected concentrations of six greenhouse gases in the atmosphere including carbon dioxide and methane threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.  These gases are causing the atmosphere of the planet to become warmer and as a result are causing extreme weather, wildfires, rising oceans, and dangerous heat waves.  These conditions are in turn affecting human health and well-being.  Deteriorating air quality, spread of infectious diseases, intensifying allergic conditions, and physical injuries are the resulting.  Displacement and social disruption are affecting mental health as well.

Removing restrictions on these greenhouse gases will undermine efforts to protect Americans and people around the world from the negative health impacts associated with climate change.

The EPA coal ash regulation is intended to make sure that power plants use the most up-to-date technology to remove poisonous heavy metals — including lead, arsenic, mercury and other pollutants — from their wastewater.  Until the update, federal standards to curb toxic dumping by coal-fired power plants had not been updated in several decades and states had left the problem largely unregulated. This rule is vital for public health and should not be reconsidered or weakened.  Leaving states flexibility in complying with this rule is likely to weaken compliance and expose the public to dangerous metals.

The Toxic Substance Control Act, the 40-year-old law intended to protect the public health from unsafe chemical exposures was revised last year. The previous law was ineffectual and prevented the EPA from advancing regulations to protect the public from chemical exposures. The revised law was passed with bipartisan support and gives the EPA important new tools to set safety standards for chemicals. These tools – and the regulations that the EPA has advanced so far under the new law – must be protected and utilized.

The above regulations should be strengthened not undermined.

1) Go to: Regulations.gov

2) Put in the Docket Number: EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190-0001 as you see below

 

3) Go to “Comment Now” and enter your comments.