American Lung Association Public Policy Position on Energy

ALAEnergyPublicPolicyPosition

The American Lung Association’s official Public Policy Position statement on Energy is helpful to consult for an informed opinion on energy issues as they relate to the ALA’s mandate to support clean air protection, public health and environmental justice.  Here are some highlights from the American Lung Association’s June 23, 2012 official position statement on Energy:

Policy Principle on Energy 

Our overarching principles call for the implementation of effective air quality programs and standards, transitioning to a clean energy future, with a commitment to promote environmental justice.

Transitioning to a Clean Energy Future

The American Lung Association supports state and federal policies that will drive the deployment of the cleanest and most fuel-efficient energy resources and technologies. Such policies should promote the use of non-combustion renewable energy, low carbon fuels (measured on a lifecycle basis), expanded transmission and smart grid technologies, alternative forms of transportation, and energy storage.

Focusing on Environmental Justice
The American Lung Association supports the protection of all people from the harm of air pollution, especially those who suffer disproportionate exposure from local sources of emissions.
Coal-based Electricity
The American Lung Association supports the phase out of conventional coal-fired power plants as the nation transitions to a clean energy future.
Non-Combustion Renewable Electricity
The American Lung Association supports policies and incentives that will encourage the development and deployment of clean, renewable energy resources that are not combustion-based, including, but not limited to, wind, solar and geothermal.
Biomass Combustion for Electricity

The American Lung Association does not support biomass combustion for electricity production, a category that includes wood, wood products, agricultural residues or forest wastes, and potentially highly toxic feedstocks, such as construction and demolition waste.

Electricity from Waste

The American Lung Association does not support incineration of municipal solid waste or other waste for electricity production.

Residential and Commercial Fuel Combustion
The American Lung Association supports programs and policies to encourage a transition from coal, oil, and biomass use in the residential and commercial sectors to cleaner alternatives.  The American Lung Association supports the expanded use of natural gas, and propane where natural gas is not available, for heating residential and commercial buildings, as a less polluting alternative to oil and other fossil fuels.
Residential Wood and Other Biomass Combustion

The American Lung Association recognizes that pollution from the combustion of wood and other biomass sources poses a significant threat to human health, and supports measures to transition away from using these products for heat productionThe American Lung Association calls for effective enforcement of existing laws and regulations governing the combustion of wood and other biomass sources, as well as the expanded regulation of air pollution emissions from these sources. In particular, the American Lung Association calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to significantly strengthen its woodstove certification standards.

The American Lung Association encourages individuals to avoid burning wood in homes where less polluting alternatives are available, and supports programs to replace residential woodstove with cleaner heating options, particularly for low-income persons.

The American Lung Association strongly opposes the combustion of wood and other biomass sources at schools and institutions with vulnerable populations.  The American Lung Association strongly opposes the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers for heating and other purposes, and supports measures to greatly reduce emissions from or eliminate outdoor wood-fired boilers. The American Lung Association recommends continuing research on the health effects of burning wood and other biomass sources, and the technologies to reduce the emissions associated with the combustion of these fuels.

BC residential wood smoke

Toxic “EPA certified” wood stove emissions frequently permeate the Vancouver Island community pictured in this photo by Bill Lewin, who works tirelessly to help raise awareness regarding the vital need for clean, smoke-free air in neighbourhoods.

Possibilities for clean renewable energy solutions are presented in the article, “Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid” University of Delaware, Renewable News http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2013/dec/renewable-energy-121012.html

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