Air Quality Standards Coalition
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Air Quality Standards Coalition (AQSC) was an coalition of various industry groups that operated between late 1999 and approximately 2003. The coalition was chaired by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
Writing in The New Republic, Hanna Rosin noted that veteran Washington mover and shaker C. Boyden Gray was co-chairman of the Air Quality Standards Coalition which she described as comprising "a group of oil, steel, trucking, agricultural and auto companies" that had been created to oppose new air quality regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Gray was their natural leader," she wrote. "The EPA came up with its new formula after a study showed that, during the thirteen months that the Geneva Steel plant in Provo, Utah, shut down in 1986 and 1987, the number of preschool children hospitalized for asthma dropped by two-thirds. Gray, it just so happens, is a lobbyist for Geneva Steel. The coalition has at least 500 members, companies such as Texaco, Teneco, Philip Morris, Chevron and Monsanto, and is coordinated by the National Association of Manufacturers."
The coalition Rosin wrote:
- "operates on the purest form of money-buys-access logic. PACs associated with the coalition gave $11.9 million to senators between 1991 and 1996. The group has been trying to woo the National Governors' Association since its newly chosen chairman, Ohio Governor George Voinovich, came out against the proposed EPA ruling. When that failed, it tried legal bribes. "The NAM has to pony up more cash for the NGA," reads the notes of one attendant at a November 1 meeting.
- "The coalition also uses standard tobacco-industry squelch tactics. In the notes of an October 6 meeting, one of the members, the American Iron and Steel Institute (aisi), commissioned a study in Pittsburgh on the cost of complying with the regulations. In December, preliminary results came back showing the costs were zero. "So let's deep-six them," said one member of the coalition, in a transcript of the meeting. "Won't see the light of day." Bruce Steiner of aisi admits that the institute canceled the study because "it only gives a partial view."
In October 1999, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, stated on its website that "Previously, the Air Quality Standards Coalition (AQSC) dealt primarily with the repeal of EPA's final rule on particulate matter and ozone. The new focus is on EPA's proposed rule regarding regional haze, which deals with many of the same issues. The coalition is chaired by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and a broad cross-section of the business community is involved."
A biographical note of attorney Richard D. Clayton from the Salt Lake City based firm Holland & Hart described his "public policy experience" as having "included leading two national multi-industry coalitions-the Air Quality Standards Coalition as public policy experience has included leading two national multi-industry coalitions-the Air Quality Standards Coalition" in the role as Chairman and as Vice Chairman of the Alliance for Reasonable Regulation (Vice Chairman).
As noted above, C. Boyden Gray was the other co-chairman.
Articles and Resources
- Hanna Rosin, "Shades of Gray", The New Republic, April 14, 1997.
- National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, "2003 NRMCA Coalition Activity", October 2, 1999, accessed March 2008. (This is a page archived in the Internet Archive. The last version of this page that was indexed was from December 20, 2003 which was titled "2003 NRMCA Coalition Activity" which seems to indicater that the coalition continued at least until that year.)
- "PEOPLE : Attorneys/Professionals Profile: Richard D. Clayton", August 28 2003. (This page is archived in the Internet archive).