Posts Tagged: Clean Air Act

Getting the lead out in Pilsen

Illinois environmental investigators found alarming levels of lead near an elementary school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne, prompting state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to conduct a joint investigation intended to determine the lead’s source. The fact that U.S. EPA is even devoting resources to the lead problem near Perez Elementary School is a relative triumph for environmentalists and the Pilsen community — a low-to-middle income neighborhood that is more than 90 percent Mexican. Recent history and the current federal government budget battle show how fragile political support is for complex pollution investigations, even those where the affected party is school children. (more…)

Monday wakeup call: preventing EPA from doing its job

There’s a problem when legislators criticize a government agency for overreaching and then overreach in response.  That seems to be the response by some members of Congress to an EPA that is, basically, doing its job.  As a New York Times editorial over the weekend makes clear, the law of the land — the Clean Air Act — is EPA’s job to uphold.  But now some members of the House of Representatives and U.S. senators are trying to chip away at EPA’s ability to regulate not just CO2, but also substances like mercury, soot, and other substances that hurt both humans and wildlife.

If you don’t like the Clean Air Act, then legislate it away — but don’t selectively stop the federal agency charged with carrying it out from doing its job.

History shows that regulatory delays have a way of becoming permanent.

Auto manufacturers seek relief from California mileage standards

There’s another battle brewing between the nation’s automakers and regulators over California’s longstanding practice of enacting stricter emissions standards.  As James Witkin reports for The New York Times, carmakers are again griping that the EPA is allowing California to develop and enact stricter emissions standards for cars and trucks. (more…)

EPA brings coal plants into the 20th century

Michigan City, Indiana coal plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will finally regulate coal-fired power plants in Northwest Indiana responsible for hundreds of deaths and illnesses in the Chicago metropolitan region. EPA has reached an agreement with Northern Indiana Public Service Company, reports Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune, to close down a Gary, Indiana power plant and install pollution controls at three other nearby coal plants. (more…)

States may take lead in first steps toward regulating GHGs

The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Power reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued guidelines that state governments will determine what constitutes an acceptable level of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like coal-fired power plants. (more…)

Let’s find out why Chicago air stinks

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has called for a federal investigation of air pollution from Chicago area Metra trains and other pollution sources, following a Chicago Tribune investigation. WLS radio reports that Durbin wrote letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration with the request that they review particulate matter in the atmosphere around Metra trains and train stations. (more…)

EPA may push for cleaner air in California’s smog corridor

The US Environmental Protection Agency put California’s own proactive regulators on notice Monday, warning that Washington might reject as insufficient the state’s compliance plans for reducing the amount of soot in the air in the Los Angeles basin and the San Joaquin Valley, reports Margot Roosevelt of the Los Angeles Times.  Roosevelt writes: (more…)

Scrubbing away coal plant pollution

Chicago area environmental groups are picking up on a report this week from the non-profit Clean Air Task Force that pollution from coal-fired power plants is responsible each year for about 350 premature deaths in the Chicago region and 13,000 premature deaths nationally. Environmental advocates point out that many of these deaths could be prevented if the Environmental Protection Agency intensified enforcement of existing Clean Air Act rules. (more…)

Clearing the air in the Illinois

Paul Merrion of Crain’s Chicago Business reports that new EPA clean air regulations should not greatly change the plans of coal-fired power plants in Illinois.  The Bush administration EPA had previously issued issued guidelines to curb smog and soot derived from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emitted from coal plants. But like many Bush EPA regulations, the rules were thrown out by a federal court. The new Obama administration rules will force Illinois coal plants to install pollution control equipment. However, these plants already planned to install such equipment because new Illinois EPA regulations mandate a statewide cap on nitrogen oxide emissions. (more…)

Better Than Nothing: EPA Does What It Can To Avert Catastrophic Climate Change

A cap-and-trade bill will probably not happen this year.  However, 2010 should go down as the first year that the U.S. makes laws to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. While the Senate has dithered on cap-and-trade, the Environmental Protection Agency has moved forward plans to police the emissions that come out of car tailpipes and – eventually – from the factories and power plants that emit the vast majority of greenhouse gas pollutants. The regulations will mark the first time ever that the U.S. government has substantively responded to climate change. They will be, arguably, the most significant regulatory action that EPA has taken since passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

But the regulations can’t come close to the impact of Congress passing cap-and-trade legislation. Unlike cap-and-trade, it is unclear what effect EPA regulations will have on industry, the energy economy and the overall level of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Also, any regulation is expected to prompt lawsuits. EPA action might be a historic first step. But it’s still not clear if and when second and third steps might follow. (more…)