US tightens standards for soot pollution (Update)

Dec 14, 2012 by Matthew Daly
In this April 17, 2012 file photo, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson gestures during an interview with The Associated Press at EPA Headquarters in Washington. In its first major regulation since the election, the Obama administration will impose a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce the new standard on Friday, meeting a court deadline in a lawsuit by 11 states and public health groups. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

(AP)—The Obama administration on Friday imposed a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution in its first major regulation since the Nov. 6 election.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standard will save thousands of lives each year and reduce the burden of illness in communities across the country, as people "benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air."

As a mother of two sons who have battled asthma, Jackson said she was pleased that "more mothers like me will be able to rest a little easier knowing their children, and their children's children, will have cleaner air to breathe for decades to come."

Announcement of the new standard met a court deadline in a lawsuit by 11 states and public health groups. The new annual standard is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, down from the current 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

The new soot standard has been highly anticipated by environmental and business groups, who have battled over the extent to which it would protect public health or cause job losses. The EPA said its analysis shows the rule will have a net benefit ranging from about $3.6 billion to $9 billion a year.

A study by the American Lung Association and other groups said the new standard will save an estimated 15,000 lives a year compared to the current standard—many in urban areas where exposures to emissions from older, dirty diesel engines and coal-fired power plants are greatest.

Soot, or fine particulate matter, is made up of microscopic particles released from smokestacks, diesel trucks, wood-burning stoves and other sources and contributes to haze. Breathing in soot can cause lung and heart problems, contributing to heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks.

Environmental groups and public health advocates welcomed the new standard, saying it will protect millions of Americans at risk for soot-related asthma attacks, lung cancer, heart disease and premature death.

Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, said a new standard will force industries to clean up what he called a "lethal pollutant." Reducing soot pollution "will prevent heart attacks and asthma attacks and will keep children out of the emergency room and hospitals," Edelman said in a statement. "It will save lives."

This April 28, 2009 file photo shows smog covering downtown Los Angeles. In its first major regulation since the election, the Obama administration will impose a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to announce the new standard on Friday, meeting a court deadline in a lawsuit by 11 states and public health groups. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

But congressional Republicans and industry officials called the new standard overly strict and said it could hurt economic growth and cause job losses in areas where pollution levels are determined to be too high. Conservative critics said they feared the rule was the beginning of a "regulatory cliff" that includes a forthcoming EPA rule on ozone, or smog, as well as pending greenhouse gas regulations for refineries and rules curbing mercury emissions at power plants.

Ross Eisenberg, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said the new soot rule is "yet another costly, overly burdensome" regulation that is "out of sync" with President Barack Obama's executive order last year to streamline federal regulations.

The soot rule will "place many promising new projects—and the jobs they create—into permit limbo," Eisenberg said.

A letter signed by one Democratic and five Republican senators said the EPA rule would "impose significant new economic burdens on many communities, hurting workers and their families just as they are struggling to overcome difficult economic times."

The letter cited EPA data showing that air quality in the United States is at its highest level in 30 years—a sign that the current standard is working, the senators said.

A letter signed by 56 House Democrats said the new standards will mean fewer hospital trips for millions of people and billions of dollars saved.

"Morally and fiscally, this is a no-brainer," said the letter, initiated by Rep. Charles Rangel, a Democrat. He and other supporters said the new standards were particularly important in urban areas such as New York and Los Angeles, where soot and smog and can make breathing difficult.

The letter cited a report issued last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that racial minorities are more likely to live in areas where air pollution fails to meet national standards.

Jackson and other administration officials said the new rule was based on a rigorous scientific review. Only 66 of more than 3,000 U.S. counties would fail to meet the proposed standard, which takes effect early next year.

The EPA said it would start designating counties that fail to meet the new soot standards as soon as December 2014, but would give states up to five years to meet the revised standard.

All but seven counties in the United States—all in California—are projected to meet the new standard by 2020 with no additional actions needed beyond compliance with existing and pending rules set by the EPA, EPA officials said. Jackson and other officials said they will work with states and counties to ensure they can meet the new standards without penalties.

The Obama administration had sought to delay the new soot standards until after the November election, but a federal judge ordered officials to act sooner, and the administration released a proposed rule in June.

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User comments : 14

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MR166
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 14, 2012
Hold on to your hats people. This is just one of many many new regulations on the horizon that will insure that the US will never recover from it's downward business/jobs spiral. Don't worry, it is just all part of the master plan to make the US a 3rd world nation.
VendicarD
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 14, 2012
MR166 is right. America must accept Third World water and air quality, Third World workplace health and safety standards, Third World health care, and Third World wages if it is to compete successfully against formerly American companies who have offshored their manufacturing to Third World nations.

You Suckers were lied to by Republicans when they told you that market deregulation would create American Jobs.

You Suckers were lied to by Libertarians who told you that market deregulation would be boom times for the American economy.

Suck deep the Randite/Libertarian phallus of your new freedom...

Enjoy it. Savoir it.. You Earned it... Every bit of it....
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (12) Dec 14, 2012
"You Suckers were lied to by Libertarians who told you that market deregulation would be boom times for the American economy."

They were right. They just didn't tell you that the boom would be the slamming of the door as they kicked your unemployed @$$ out the door so they could outsource your job.
kochevnik
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 14, 2012
Hold on to your hats people. This is just one of many many new regulations on the horizon that will insure that the US will never recover from it's downward business/jobs spiral. Don't worry, it is just all part of the master plan to make the US a 3rd world nation.
That LA smog skyline is typical of a 3rd world nation, you retard
alfie_null
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2012
Anything that perturbs the status quo presents opportunities for entrepreneurs to build new businesses. Which happens to be where job growth is, largely.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (9) Dec 15, 2012
"Jackson and other administration officials said the new rule was based on a rigorous scientific review."
Where is this review published?

MR166
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 15, 2012
This will just be used as an excuse to close the remaining coal fired plants and destroy industry. They will claim that we can do this because natural gas is so clean and cheap. After they dismantle all of the coal infrastructure they will claim that fracking is dangerous and stop that also. Goodby cheap gas. Prepare to pay 2 or 3 times more of electricity than you do now.

It looks like your 22 year old children will never be able to afford to leave home despite their art and literature degrees.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 15, 2012
""As you know, Members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee have repeatedly requested release of the scientific data that EPA uses to justify alleged benefits of this rule (as well as the majority of EPA's Clean Air Act benefit claims for non- PM2.5 rules)," reads the letter.

Read more: http://dailycalle...F8ExqToW
Waaalt
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 15, 2012
A lot of the pollution in the US is already coming from outside the US; in particular China because it is a massive polluter, and Mexico because it is so close by.

What we should have is an environmental tariff to ensure that if the rest of the world wants to out compete us in our own markets, it won't be because they were screwing the environment. If a company wanted to leave the US, it wouldn't be because they get to exploit the environment and public health etc more somewhere else.

Our markets are still supremely important to the world. We could clean up the world quite a lot with such a tariff.

And yet such a tariff is illegal because of the World Trade Organization specifically forbidding it. It goes against the globalist agenda.

A single container ship puts out more air pollutants than MILLIONS of cars. We should NOT be shipping cheap junk all over the globe.

It's time to rip up the WTO.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2012
"As you know, Members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee have repeatedly requested release of the scientific data..." - RyggTard

Here is a nice video showing Republican Paul Brown, member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee saying''

"Evolution, Embryology, and Evolution are straight from the pit of hell".

The Republican congressman then goes on to say that the earth is only 7,000 years old, and that he is a scientist, both of which are also lies.

http://www.guardi...on-video
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2012
"Where is this review published?" - RyggTard

EPW=Research Publications

Howhot
3 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2012
Obama administration on Friday imposed a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot...

Wow, this is a big deal. a 20 percent soot reduction. Wow, Regan reduced soot how much? Bushs 1 and 2 reduced soot how much?

Soot is nasty stuff. The less the better. This is awesome government regulation! Yeah!

MR166
1 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2012
It is hard to overstate the problems facing the US economy!!!

The government is spending 1 TRILLION a year more than it takes in a year and still there is no real gain in incomes. Imports are 1 TRILLION more than exports.

Thus,,, we are living TWO TRILLION dollars a year beyond our means.

How long can we continue to do this before we become Zimbabwe?

Since the 70s corporations have been characterized as evil polluters and exploiters of the working class. They have just moved operations to places where they are more welcomed.

Anybody that thinks that the progressive movement has their best interests at heart had better wake up and smell the roses since the Progressive/Socialists/Communists just want to make you 100% dependent on government subsidies so that you are too dependent to object to their usurping of your freedoms!

MR166
1 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2012
Sorry the grammar error,

Anybody that thinks that the progressive movement has their best interests at heart had better wake up and smell the roses. The Progressive/Socialists/Communists just want to make you 100% dependent on government subsidies so that you are too dependent to object to their usurping of your freedoms!

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp