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John Walke, Clean Air Director/ Senior Attorney, Washington, D.C.

John Walke

As a senior attorney and the Director of NRDC's Clean Air Program, I work on national legislation, litigation and Environmental Protection Agency rulemakings that will have the greatest impact on ensuring clean air for all Americans.  My work focuses on reducing smog, soot and toxic air pollution from power plants, factories, vehicles and other sources.  I frequently challenge EPA rulemakings in federal court for running afoul of the Clean Air Act and failing to protect the public.  I joined NRDC in 2000 from EPA's Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C., where I worked as a clean air attorney for over three years. Prior to that, I worked as an associate attorney at a private law firm in Washington.  I graduated from Harvard Law School in 1993, and graduated with a B.A. from Duke University in 1990.

Recent Posts

President Obama Should Do Better Than EPA Standard That Fails to Protect Americans From Harmful Smog Levels

Posted September 28, 2015 by John Walke

By this Thursday, President Obama has to decide whether to set safe health standards for smog pollution that will safeguard all Americans--or whether he will settle for a weaker, unprotective standard, one that will leave children, the elderly and asthmatics...continued

Polluters Spend Millions Lobbying the Government to Lie to You About Whether the Air is Safe to Breathe

Posted September 4, 2015 by John Walke

In my last two blog posts, I've explained falsehoods at the heart of an industry campaign opposing updated national health standards to limit smog air pollution. Now, stepping back from the falsehoods that make up that dirty air campaign, one...continued

Dirty Air Campaign Opposing Safe Air for Americans Founded on Falsehoods

Posted August 28, 2015 by John Walke

Lobbyists for polluting industry and their political allies are increasingly resorting to misrepresentation and fear mongering to oppose national health standards that deliver on the law's guarantee of safe air for all Americans. I follow yesterday's post by continuing to...continued

How the Dirty Air Campaign Opposing Safe Air for Americans Pushes Falsehoods About Job Losses

Posted August 27, 2015 by John Walke

Lobbyists for polluting industries and their political allies are ramping up attacks on safe air for all Americans, with an increasingly desperate campaign founded on falsehoods and misrepresentations. These opponents are urging EPA to retain a health standard for smog...continued

Industry Lobbyists' Latest Whoppers Fighting Safe Air For Americans

Posted June 5, 2015 by John Walke

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This week a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) testified at a Congressional hearing opposing safer health standards for ground-level ozone, or smog, pollution that EPA is expected to finalize this fall. At a House Science Committee hearing...continued

Republican Senators Push 3 Bills to Weaken Clean Air Health Protections

Posted June 3, 2015 by John Walke

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The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing today on three Republican bills bent on weakening basic Clean Air Act protections and making the air less safe to breathe. Each bill takes us backwards by forcing...continued

Big Oil Mounts Campaign to Fight Safe Air for Americans

Posted May 14, 2015 by John Walke

Lobbyists for oil companies have launched a costly advertising campaign opposing safe health standards to protect Americans from smog pollution. The American Petroleum Institute, whose members include ExxonMobil, BP and Shell Oil, is lobbying EPA and Congress furiously to block...continued

Industry Opponents of Safer Air Knows It's Coming; They Just Want to Deny You That Right

Posted April 28, 2015 by John Walke

The National Association of Manufacturers recently made a significant admission about EPA's proposal to deliver safer health standards for smog pollution to Americans. NAM went on record agreeing that safer air can be achieved within the levels proposed by EPA...continued

Who You Gonna Believe About Smog's Health Hazards, the Oil Lobby or Doctors & Scientists?

Posted January 29, 2015 by John Walke

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An oil industry lobbying group just released a paper that inadvertently reveals the bankruptcy of Big Oil's attacks on the health basis for more protective national standards for smog pollution. The 8-page paper contends that legions of doctors and scientists...continued

Waste Coal Burners, Pennsylvania Senators Attack Clean Air Health Protections

Posted January 21, 2015 by John Walke

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United States Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) have introduced an irresponsible amendment to the Senate’s Keystone XL bill that would exempt power plants burning “waste coal” from important clean air safeguards. These attacks represent an end run...continued

New Congress Prepares to Take Away Your Right to Clean, Safe Air

Posted January 12, 2015 by John Walke

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The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on legislation that would take away Americans' longstanding right to clean, safe air based on health and medical science. The legislation is called the Regulatory Accountability...continued

An Extreme Congressional Attack on Americans' Right to Breathe Healthy Air

Posted September 18, 2014 by John Walke

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Some conservative members of the Senate and House of Representatives introduced legislation this week bent on abolishing the 44-year-old health foundation for the Clean Air Act and eliminating Americans’ right to breathe safe air. Senator John Thune (R-SD) co-sponsored the...continued

Is Your State Government Trying to Expose Your Family to More Arsenic, Lead & Mercury Pollution?

Posted July 15, 2014 by John Walke

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Twenty-one states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to terminate health safeguards that protect Americans from toxic air pollution spewed by electric power plants burning coal and oil. Attorneys general from these conservative states want to overturn a lower court...continued

EPA Proposes to Limit Cancer-Causing Toxic Air Pollution From Petroleum Refineries

Posted May 16, 2014 by John Walke

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Yesterday, EPA proposed new standards to limit toxic air pollution from petroleum refineries. EPA’s proposal is good news for millions of Americans, since about 90 million Americans live within 30 miles of a refinery, and many live near more than...continued

GOP Bill Attacks EPA Science, Health Standards, With Unapologetic Double Standard For Industry

Posted February 11, 2014 by John Walke

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The Environment Subcommittee of the House Science Committee held a hearing this morning to consider a bill by the Republican majority entitled the "Secret Science Reform Act of 2014." I submitted this letter on behalf of NRDC strongly opposing the...continued


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