Clean Air Council programs
The Council is Philadelphia’s oldest environmental non-profit. Founded before the EPA, before Earth Day, and before the modern Clean Air Act, we have been fighting for everyone’s right to breathe clean air since 1967. We work on the issues most relevant to the region, so our programs are always changing. Learn more about our core focuses below, and consider joining the other 9,000 members in the region by donating today.
We believe that everyone has the right to breathe clean air and live in a healthy environment. We also believe that this right will be violated as long as people choose to use dirty energy, whether it’s from illegally burning wood in a backyard or a company fracking next to an elementary school. Until the day comes that we move beyond this kind of pollution, the Council will use public education, community advocacy, and (when necessary) legal force to keep the air clean.
Clean Energy is the future. Costs are plummeting, it’s abundant, and it’s far better than what we have now. Clean energy will replace dirty energy, the critical question is how soon. A quick transition could dramatically limit the harms of climate change, while a gradual change wouldn’t. That’s why the Council is working hard to make sure that wind, solar, and other renewables can flourish in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
For the first time since 1979, America’s transportation sector emits more CO₂ than power plants. Over half of Philadelphia’s air pollution comes from motor vehicles. The Council has won major victories on this issue, including convincing SEPTA to buy hybrid buses and forcing Pennsylvania to implement an emissions inspection program. Today, the Council’s transportation team works on everything from pedestrian advocacy to installing bike racks and organizing carpools.
The programs here don’t easily fit into any of the other categories of work, but that doesn’t diminish their importance. The Council’s public health work has seen major victories recently, from our environmental justice work to shut down Peninsula Compost in Wilmington to our assistance in implementing smoke-free policies at Public Housing Authorities across Pennsylvania. There’s too much to list in this short space, so visit the public health page now and see it all for yourself!
Pollution regulations are one of the most important tools available to fight climate change. The Council is currently fighting for strong regulations of CO2 and methane at both the state and national level. These pollutants make up over 90% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, and Pennsylvania is responsible for a full 1% of the world’s greenhouse gasses. This gives Pennsylvania a greater obligation to make meaningful cuts to it emissions through strong regulations.
Reducing waste is the most cost-effective way to protect the environment. Despite this, we still see waste and inefficiency at every level of society. From little things like store clerks automatically giving out bags to larger, structural issues like Pennsylvania refusing to update its building codes, waste and inefficiency are present throughout our society. The Council is working to improve issues like these, as well as maintain the region’s progress on recycling.
Over the years, Clean Air Council’s legal team has had the opportunity to represent the organization in a variety of interesting and consequential court cases. The Council’s legal practice ranges from appeals of air permits to pipeline and zoning challenges to state constitutional claims. Click the link to see a sample of ongoing actions being litigated by our team. If you would like more information on a particular case, click the docket link and if applicable enter the case number.