February 2008


Time Out: We Have a New Record Holder!

EPA Chief Has Received More Driving Change Petitions Than Anyone In Government, Business, Or Organized Crime (Or Any Combination Thereof)

This Time, He Wants to Drop Requirements That Factory Farms Report Their Emissions of Toxic Gas

Oooh..."Reporting"...Sounds Dangerous

Congratulations to Administrator Johnson. (You Haven't Been Doing Steroids, Have You?)

Last month, EPA vetoed the attempt of California and other states to regulate pollution generated by automobiles--in this case, greenhouse gases.

This month, EPA is trying to drop requirements that factory farms report their emissions of toxic gas, despite findings by the agency's own scientists that the gases pose a health threat. (Makes you look forward to next month, doesn't it?)

Farms have been required to report large emissions of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia from animal manure since the 1980s. The EPA doesn't even set limits for the emissions. All they require is that farms disclose emissions over certain levels. Local public health officials say that knowing who was reporting large releases of the gases would be invaluable if people in the area start getting sick from emissions.

The EPA first proposed dropping the farm emissions reporting requirement after communities sued several large farms for damages and stricter controls of emissions. Apparently protecting business interests from lawsuits trumps protecting US citizens from toxic gasses.

What's most troubling is that, once again, EPA Chief Stephen L. Johnson is ignoring the recommendations of the career EPA scientists on his staff. One agency scientist, Roy L. Smith, called the ammonia reporting requirements "appropriately protective, though not overprotective," of public health. In tests of the air near factory farms, he found that ammonia concentrations slightly over the reportable levels caused respiratory irritation and that the minimum reportable emissions of hydrogen sulfide "could cause acute respiratory irritation and effects to the central nervous system."

We urge our readers to Drive Change by contacting EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and letting him know that protecting citizens from toxic gasses is more important than protecting factory farms from lawsuits.

EPA Chief Stephen L. Johnson Continues to Block States' Decision to Set Higher Emissions Standards...And To Refuse to Tell Congress Why

As we've been reporting since 2002, California has been trying to strengthen regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from light trucks and passenger vehicles. The proposed limits would have phased in gradually, resulting in a 30% cut in new vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. Sixteen other states joined California and adopted the same standards.

After five years of stalling, EPA Administrator Stephan L. Johnson has finally deigned to respond to the states' waiver request with a "NO" in December of 2007.

Since then, all hell has broken loose. The states and several environmental groups are suing the EPA, and Congress has subpoenaed the agency demanding documents showing why they denied the waiver request. Complete Story

Better World Club signed up as a supporter, we think you should too. Click here to learn more about Earth Hour 2008.

Haiku Activism!

The true spirit of Bushido calls for a balance between the art of war and just plain old art. Once you've contacted Stephen L. Johnson about factory farm emissions, why not show your sensitive, artistic side by sending him a haiku? It's the honorable thing to do.

there's nothing quite like
the sweet, sweet taste of lead paint
Johnson, have a bite!

- Sean K.
Santa Fe, NM

Click here to read more BWC member haikus.

Alaskan Fishermen Demand "Punitive" Damages for Valdez Spill From Blameless ExxonMobil

What About All the Oil ExxonMobil Lost in that Spill? Haven't They Suffered Enough?

The US Supreme Court Wednesday heard a case that should finally decide whether or not the 33,000 Alaskan residents affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill would receive the punitive damages that were awarded to them.

The famous spill dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, fouling 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline and leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals.

Executives at Exxon were obviously devastated by the catastrophe, but that didn't stop local ne'er-do-wells from turning this unfortunate accident to their own advantage: they demanded punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Talk about kicking a guy when he's down! Just because it was an Exxon supertanker full of Exxon fuel that happened to be captained by an Exxon employee (a known alcoholic) doesn't mean it was Exxon's fault. Complete Story

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidates and the Environment


Water Injection:

The Answer to Reducing Auto Emissions?

by EcoSpace Conscious Community

A very simple and very safe older technology that has been almost completely forgotten, so cheap and easy that it's truly amazing it has been so neglected over the years: Water Injection is a simple system to remove carbon (and coke) from both gasoline and diesel engines; while increasing fuel mileage.

Any gasoline or diesel engine can be made cleaner and less polluting with this system, yet the world seems to have forgotten about it's existence. In a time when we desperately need to lower our fuel consumption and clean our emissions, now is the time to bring back this old system. (In the sixties many, if not most, big rigs had water injection.) Complete Story

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

Pop Quiz: Is the story "Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler" about a.) A young man who ponders whether that cheeseburger-flavored Slurpee at 7/11 was such a good idea after all, b.) An adult film star who wonders if she could have chosen a better stage name, or c.) The notion that Americans may have to cut way back on their meat consumption.

Inventor Adam Fuller discusses his vertical tower of wind power.

Well, apparently we're screwed no matter what we do:
Clearing land for biofuels aids global warming.

Ever wonder how many pounds of CO2 different modes of travel emit per passenger mile? We haven't either. However, if you change your mind, you can check out emissions by transportation type here.

If you would like to contribute your opinion to Driving Change's Giving Directions please email it to us at


Maximum BobBob Lutz of GM Calls Global Warming a "Crock of S--T"

Then Adds: "I'm A Skeptic, Not A Denier."

Boy, That's Really Skeptical.

Bob Lutz, GM's Vice Chairman of Global Product Development, is not exactly what you'd call a shy type of guy. Not one to self-censor, Bob has put his foot in his mouth so many times he's running out of feet - but definitely not running out of mouth.

His latest outburst came during a closed-door session with reporters when he asserted that global warming is a "total crock of s--t." Then he added: "I'm a skeptic, not a denier."

We've reported on Bob's antics several times over the years, starting with his short-sighted contention in 2005 that "Right now the drive for more and more power in cars is way larger than the drive for more and more hybrids". With visionaries like this leading the US' largest automaker, is it any wonder they're losing market share to Toyota?

Bob redeemed himself somewhat with his championing of the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, but this latest bout of anti-environmental blather should be generating all kinds of red flags within GM.

Millions of American consumers are concerned about the national security consequences, economic consequences, and yes, environmental consequences of our addiction to oil. When it comes time to buy a new car, are they going to buy from a company that promotes fuel economy and environmental responsibility, or from the folks who think global warming is a crock of you-know-what?

Bob Thinks a Partner of the Better World Club - The Union of Concerned Scientists - Is Also Full of S--T. Check It Out:


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