Discussion Topic: Updates on AQ from US EPA (16 messages)
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posted on 24 Feb 2011

Dear AQ CoP members,

I think many will benefit from news updates on US EPA relating to AQ policies, standards and related news.

I will post within this topic, updates from time to time. Our first one is
on EPA Establishes Clean Air Act Standards for Boilers and Incinerators

If you have any questions or comments, we will try to contact active CAI-Asia friends from US EPA so they can respond.

- May

February 23, 2011

EPA Establishes Clean Air Act Standards for Boilers and Incinerators

Sensible standards provide significant public health benefits while cutting costs from initial proposal by nearly 50 percent

WASHINGTON – In response to federal court orders requiring the issuance of final standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing final Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators that achieve significant public health protections through reductions in toxic air emissions, including mercury and soot, but cut the cost of implementation by about 50 percent from an earlier proposal issued last year.

Mercury, soot, lead and other harmful pollutants released by boilers and incinerators can lead to developmental disabilities in children, as well as cancer, heart disease, aggravated asthma and premature death in Americans. These standards will avoid between 2,600-6,600 premature
deaths, prevent 4,100 heart attacks and avert 42,000 asthma attacks per year in 2014.

In response to a September 2009 court order, EPA issued the proposed rules in April 2010, prompting significant public input. The proposed rules followed a period that began in 2007, when a federal court vacated a set of industry specific standards proposed during the Bush Administration. Based on the public input received following the April 2010 proposal, EPA made extensive revisions, and in December 2010 requested additional time for review to ensure the public’s input was fully addressed. The court granted EPA 30 days, resulting in today’s announcement.

Based on input from key stakeholders including the public, industry and the public health communities, today’s announcement represents a dramatic cut in the cost of implementation, while maintaining maximum public health benefits. As a result, EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to cut these pollutants, the public will see between $10 to $24 in health benefits, including fewer premature deaths.

The agency received more than 4,800 comments from businesses and communities across the country in response to the proposed rules. Public input included a significant amount of information that industry had not provided prior to the proposal. Based on this feedback, and in keeping with President Obama’s executive order on regulatory review, EPA revised the draft standards based on the requested input to provide additional flexibility and cost effective techniques – achieving significant pollution reduction and important health benefits, while lowering the cost of pollution control installation and maintenance by about 50 percent, or $1.8 billion.

"The Clean Air Act standards we are issuing today are based on the best available science and have benefitted from significant public input," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “As a result, they put in place important public health safeguards to cut harmful toxic air emissions that affect children’s development, aggravate asthma and cause heart attacks at costs
substantially lower than we had estimated under our original proposal."
Because the final standards significantly differ from the proposals, EPA believes further public review is required. Therefore, EPA will reconsider the final standards under a Clean Air Act process that allows
the agency to seek additional public review and comment to ensure full transparency. EPA’s reconsideration will cover the emissions standards for large and small boilers and for solid waste incinerators. EPA will release additional details on the reconsideration process in the near
future to ensure the public, industry and stakeholders have an opportunity to participate.

About 200,000 boilers are located at small and large sources of air toxic emissions across the country. The final standards require many types of boilers to follow practical, cost-effective work practice standards to reduce emissions. To ensure smooth implementation, EPA is working with the departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) to provide the diverse set of facilities impacted by the standards with technical assistance that will help boilers burn cleaner and more efficiently. DOE will work with large coal and oil-burning sources to help them identify clean energy strategies that will reduce harmful emissions and make boilers run more efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, USDA will reach out to small sources to help owners and operators understand the standards and their cost and energy saving features.

The types of boilers and incinerators covered by these updated standards include:

· Boilers at large sources of air toxics emissions: There are about 13,800 boilers located at large sources of air pollutants, including refineries, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities. These standards will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, organic air toxics and dioxins at some of the largest pollution sources. EPA estimates that the costs of implementation have been reduced by $1.5 billion from the proposed standard. Health benefits to children and the public associated with reduced exposure to fine particles and ozone from these large source boilers are estimated to be $22 billion to $54 billion in 2014.

· Boilers located at small sources of air toxics emissions: There are about 187,000 boilers located at small sources of air pollutants, including universities, hospitals, hotels and commercial buildings that may be covered by these standards. Due to the small amount of emissions these sources are responsible for, EPA has limited the impact of the final rule making on small entities. The original standards for these have been dramatically refined and updated to ensure maximum flexibility for these sources, including for some sources, revising the requirement from maximum achievable control technology to generally available control technology. The cost reduction from the proposed standard to the final is estimated to be $209 million.

· Solid waste incinerators: There are 88 solid waste incinerators that burn waste at a commercial or an industrial facility, including cement manufacturing facilities. These standards, which facilities will need to meet by 2016 at the latest, will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, lead, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution. The cost reduction from the proposed standard to the final is estimated to be $12 million.

In separate but related actions, EPA is finalizing emission standards for sewage sludge incinerators. While there are more than 200 sewage sludge incinerators across the country, EPA expects that over 150 are already in compliance. These standards will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, lead, cadmium, and hydrogen chloride from the remaining 50 that may need to leverage existing technologies to meet the new standards.

EPA has also identified which non-hazardous secondary materials are considered solid waste when burned in combustion units. This distinction determines which Clean Air Act standard is applied when the material is burned. The non-hazardous secondary materials that can be burned as
non-waste fuel include scrap tires managed under established tire collection programs. This step simplifies the rules and provides additional clarity and direction for facilities. To determine that
materials are non-hazardous secondary materials when burned under today’s rule, materials must not have been discarded and must be legitimately used as a fuel.

The agency recognizes that secondary materials are widely used today as raw materials, as products, and as fuels in industrial processes. EPA believes that the final rule helps set protective emissions standards under the Clean Air Act.

The emissions standards for sewage sludge incinerators and the definition of solid waste are not part of today’s reconsideration.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion

Note: If a link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a browser.

posted on 24 Feb 2011
1645 days ago

Dear AQ and Co-benefits CoP members,

This may be an old one but very relevant on linking carbon with air pollution.



US EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson - Opening Statement Before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power

EPA Press Office

February 9, 2011

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Opening Statement Before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power

As prepared for delivery – Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify about Chairman Upton’s draft bill to eliminate portions of the Clean Air Act, the landmark law that all American children and adults rely on to protect them from harmful air pollution.

The bill appears to be part of a broader effort in this Congress to delay, weaken, or eliminate Clean Air Act protections of the American public. I respectfully ask the members of this Committee to keep in mind that EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act saves millions of American children and adults from the debilitating and expensive illnesses that occur when smokestacks and tailpipes release unrestricted amounts of harmful pollution into the air we breathe.

Last year alone, EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act saved more than 160,000 American lives; avoided more than 100,000 hospital visits; prevented millions of cases of respiratory illness, including bronchitis and asthma; enhanced American productivity by preventing millions of lost workdays; and kept American kids healthy and in school.

EPA’s implementation of the Act also has contributed to dynamic growth in the U.S. environmental technologies industry and its workforce. In 2008, that industry generated nearly 300 billion dollars in revenues and 44 billion dollars in exports.

Yesterday, the University of Massachusetts and Ceres released an analysis finding that two of the updated Clean Air Act standards EPA is preparing to establish for mercury, soot, smog, and other harmful air pollutants from power plants will create nearly 1.5 million jobs over the next five years.

As you know, Mr. Chairman, the Supreme Court concluded in 2007 that the Clean Air Act’s definition of air pollutant includes greenhouse gas emissions. The Court rejected the EPA Administrator’s refusal to determine whether that pollution endangers Americans’ health and welfare.

Based on the best peer-reviewed science, EPA found in 2009 that manmade greenhouse gas emissions do threaten the health and welfare of the American people.

EPA is not alone in reaching that conclusion. The National Academy of Sciences has stated that there is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that the climate is changing and that the changes are caused in large part by human activities. Eighteen of America’s leading scientific societies have written that multiple lines of evidence show humans are changing the climate, that contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science, and that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and the environment.

Chairman Upton’s bill would, in its own words, repeal that scientific finding. Politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question-- that would become part of this Committee’s legacy.

Last April, EPA and the Department of Transportation completed harmonized standards under the Clean Air Act and the Energy Independence and Security Act to decrease the oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of Model Year 2012 through 2016 cars and light trucks sold in the U.S.

Chairman Upton’s bill would block President Obama’s plan to follow up with Clean Air Act standards for cars and light trucks of Model Years 2017 through 2025. Removing the Clean Air Act from the equation would forfeit pollution reductions and oil savings on a massive scale, increasing America’s debilitating oil dependence.

EPA and many of its state partners have now begun implementing safeguards under the Clean Air Act to address carbon pollution from the largest facilities when they are built or expanded. A collection of eleven electric power companies called EPA’s action a reasonable approach focusing on improving the energy efficiency of new power plants and large industrial facilities.

And EPA has announced a schedule to establish uniform Clean Air Act performance standards for limiting carbon pollution at America’s power plants and oil refineries. Those standards will be developed with extensive stakeholder input, including from industry. They will reflect careful consideration of costs and will incorporate compliance flexibility.

Chairman Upton’s bill would block that reasonable approach. The Small Business Majority and the Main Street Alliance have pointed out that such blocking action would have negative implications for many businesses, large and small, that have enacted new practices to reduce their carbon footprint as part of their business models. They also write that it would hamper the growth of the clean energy sector of the U.S. economy, a sector that a majority of small business owners view as essential to their ability to compete.

Chairman Upton’s bill would have additional negative impacts that its drafters might not have intended. For example, it would prohibit EPA from taking further actions to implement the Renewable Fuels Program, which promotes the domestic production of advanced bio-fuels.

I hope this information has been helpful to the Committee, and I look forward to your questions.

posted on 28 Feb 2011
1641 days ago

Enesta Jones (News Media Only)

February 25, 2011

EPA to Hold Public Hearing on Air Quality Standards for Carbon Monoxide

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing Feb. 28 on the agency’s proposal to retain the nation’s air quality standards for carbon monoxide (CO) and to take steps to gather additional data through more focused monitoring. The science shows that the current standards will protect people, especially those susceptible to health problems associated with breathing CO from the outdoor air. CO can cause harmful health effects by reducing oxygen delivery to the body’s organs (such as the heart and brain) and tissues. At extremely high levels, CO can cause death.

WHAT: Public hearing on proposed carbon monoxide standards

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST

WHERE: EPA’s Potomac Yard Conference Center
First Floor Conference Center South (S-1204-06)
2777 Crystal Dr.
Arlington, Va.

The public may register in person on the day of the hearing. EPA also will accept written comments on the proposed standards until April 12, 2011.

More information and instructions for submitting written comments: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/carbonmonoxide

posted on 28 Feb 2011
1641 days ago

Enesta Jones (News Media Only)

February 25, 2011

EPA to Hold Public Hearing on Air Quality Standards for Carbon Monoxide

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing Feb. 28 on the agency’s proposal to retain the nation’s air quality standards for carbon monoxide (CO) and to take steps to gather additional data through more focused monitoring. The science shows that the current standards will protect people, especially those susceptible to health problems associated with breathing CO from the outdoor air. CO can cause harmful health effects by reducing oxygen delivery to the body’s organs (such as the heart and brain) and tissues. At extremely high levels, CO can cause death.

WHAT: Public hearing on proposed carbon monoxide standards

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST

WHERE: EPA’s Potomac Yard Conference Center
First Floor Conference Center South (S-1204-06)
2777 Crystal Dr.
Arlington, Va.

The public may register in person on the day of the hearing. EPA also will accept written comments on the proposed standards until April 12, 2011.

More information and instructions for submitting written comments: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/carbonmonoxide

posted on 02 Mar 2011
1639 days ago

EPA Report Underscores Clean Air Act’s Successful Public Health Protections

Landmark law saved 160,000 lives in 2010 alone

WASHINGTON – A report released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the benefits of reducing fine particle and ground level ozone pollution under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments will reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020 while saving 230,000 people from early death in that year alone. The report studied the effects of the Clean Air Act updates on the economy, public health and the environment between 1990 and 2020.

The EPA report received extensive review and input from the Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis, an independent panel of distinguished economists, scientists and public health experts established by Congress in 1991.

“The Clean Air Act’s decades-long track record of success has helped millions of Americans live healthier, safer and more productive lives,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson."This report outlines the extraordinary health and economic benefits of one of our nation's most transformative environmental laws and demonstrates the power of bipartisan approaches to protecting the health of the American people from pollution in our environment."

“The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020” shows that the benefits of avoiding early death, preventing heart attacks and asthma attacks, and reducing the number of sick days for employees far exceed costs of implementing clean air protections. These benefits lead to a more productive workforce, and enable consumers and businesses to spend less on health care -- all of which help strengthen the economy.

In 2010 alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than:
 160,000 cases of premature mortality
 130,000 heart attacks
 13 million lost work days
 1.7 million asthma attacks

In 2020, the study projects benefits will be even greater, preventing more than:
 230,000 cases of premature mortality
 200,000 heart attacks
 17 million lost work days
 2.4 million asthma attacks

This report estimates only the benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments built on the significant progress made in improving the nation’s air quality through the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its 1977 amendments. The overall benefits of the Clean Air Act exceed the benefits estimated in this report, with millions of lives saved since 1970.

The report is the third in a series of EPA studies required under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that estimate the benefits and costs of the act. The reports are intended to provide Congress and the public
with comprehensive, up-to-date, peer-reviewed information on the Clean Air Act’s social benefits and costs, including improvements in human health, welfare, and ecological resources, as well as the impact of the act’s provisions on the U.S. economy.

More information and a copy of the summary report: http://www.epa.gov/air/sect812/prospective2.html

posted on 04 Mar 2011
1637 days ago

Sharing with you a news release from EPA relating to Clean Air Act Law enforcement.
Polluting the air is a serious crime! EPA even has an online database of Fugitives - http://www.epa.gov/fugitives


Stacy Kika

March 3, 2011

Former EPA Fugitive Sentenced for Violating Clean Air Act

WASHINGTON — Joseph DeMatteo of Clark County, Nev. has been sentenced to serve five months home detention, followed by a term of three years probation, for criminally violating the Clean Air Act. He was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the court. DeMatteo, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fugitive, was one of 10 Nevada-certified emissions testers indicted on Jan. 6, 2010 by a federal grand jury on one felony count for falsifying vehicle emissions test reports in Las Vegas between Nov. 2007 and May 2009. It is a crime to knowingly alter or conceal any record or other document required to be maintained by the Clean Air Act.

“Today’s sentence demonstrates that individuals who knowingly violate our nation’s environmental laws and then flee the court’s jurisdiction will be caught and brought to justice,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Abusing emissions testing responsibilities puts communities’ air quality at risk. With information provided through the EPA fugitive’s list, we were able to work with the public and other law enforcement agencies to capture and complete the sentencing of a defendant who attempted to circumvent the law.”

Although the other nine defendants were promptly located and charged, DeMatteo failed to surrender to federal law enforcement authorities. Shortly after the indictments were released, DeMatteo was placed on the EPA fugitive list. DeMatteo was arrested in Las Vegas on Jun. 8, 2010 by special agents after EPA received a tip on his whereabouts. On Oct. 14, 2010, DeMatteo pleaded guilty to making a material false statement in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The other defendants indicted are Eduardo Franco, Alexander Worster, Wadji Waked, Adolfo Contreras, David Nelson, William McCown, Gary Smith, Peter Escudero, and Louis Demeo. DeMatteo will be the sixth defendant sentenced.

The defendants engaged in a practice known as “clean scanning” vehicles. The identification number of a vehicle that cannot pass the emissions test—or is not even present for testing—is entered into the computer system, but a different car that can pass the emissions test is actually tested. The data is then recorded on the vehicle inspection report so that the initial car fraudulently "passed" the test. The cost of getting the fraudulent report was anywhere from $10 to $100 more than the usual emissions testing fee.

Las Vegas is required to perform emissions testing because currently it violates ozone and carbon monoxide standards. Ozone is linked to a number of serious health problems, including causing asthma attacks and increasing the risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Carbon monoxide can cause harmful health effects by reducing oxygen delivery to the body’s organs.

The case was investigated by EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles Compliance Enforcement Division. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada and the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section.

Launched in December 2008, EPA’s fugitive website contains information about individuals who have failed to turn themselves in after being indicted and charged with or convicted of violating environmental laws. To date, information from citizens or law enforcement organizations have assisted in the arrest or capture of five fugitives and the surrender of two others. Of those, five were sentenced, one was found not guilty, and one is scheduled for sentencing later this month.

Because some fugitives may be armed and dangerous, the public should not try to apprehend any of the individuals. The website contains a form that can be used to report information related to a fugitive’s identity and/or current location. EPA reviews all reports submitted.

Citizens may also report the information to their local police or, if outside the United States, to the nearest U.S. Embassy.

More information on EPA’s fugitive website: http://www.epa.gov/fugitives

posted on 09 Mar 2011
1632 days ago

Is there any country in Asia who has this kind of database?

Cathy Milbourn

March 8, 2011

EPA Updates Database on Health and Environmental Impacts of Electricity Generation

User friendly web tool allows Americans to search for power providers by zip code

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updated its database that helps Americans understand the health and environmental impacts of electricity generation. EPA’s Emissions and Generation Integrated Resource Database (eGRID) and Power Profiler now include data from 2007, an update from 2005.

eGRID is a comprehensive database of emissions from almost all electric power generated in the United States. The data are widely used to show the impacts of electricity generation as well as the benefits from reduced electricity demand. eGRID contains emissions information for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) which contribute to unhealthy air quality and acid rain in many parts of the country. eGRID also contains emissions information for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Power Profiler is a user friendly online application that uses eGRID data to show air emissions information and the type of electricity generation, such as coal or nuclear, in various regions of the country. By simply entering a zip code and selecting a utility, users can learn more about where their electricity comes from and what impact it has on air quality and the environment.

More information about eGRID: http://www.epa.gov/egrid

More information about Power Profiler: http://www.epa.gov/powerprofiler

posted on 01 Apr 2011
1609 days ago

Cathy Milbourn (News Media Only)

March 30, 2011

EPA Streamlines Regulations for Car and Truck Fuel Conversion Systems

New options encourage innovation, maintain air quality protections

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated rules making it easier for manufacturers to sell fuel conversion systems. The conversion systems allow vehicles to run on alternative fuels, which may appeal to consumers concerned about energy security, fuel costs, or emissions.

These changes reflect the EPA’s interest in encouraging innovation and spurring conversions that optimize clean air and clean energy technologies. It is also in keeping with the president’s January 18, 2011, executive order, which directs agencies to identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public.

The revised procedures will vary based on the age of the vehicle or engine being converted. EPA has found that the procedures for older vehicles and engines can be streamlined, while maintaining environmental safeguards. As opposed to a one-size fits all approach, EPA’s process is now based on whether a vehicle or engine is new, intermediate age, or outside its expected useful life.

Conversion systems alter an existing vehicle or engine to enable it to run on a different type of fuel. An example of this type of conversion includes switching a car designed for gasoline to run on compressed natural gas. While properly engineered conversion systems can reduce or at least not increase emissions, poorly designed systems can lead to much more pollution.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/fuels/altfuels/altfuels.htm

posted on 20 Apr 2011
1590 days ago

Enesta Jones

EPA Proposes First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants

Mercury and air toxics standards represent one of strongest health protections from air pollution since passage of Clean Air Act

WASHINGTON – In response to a court deadline, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The new power plant mercury and air toxics standards – which eliminate 20 years of uncertainty across industry – would require many power plants to install widely available, proven pollution control technologies to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases, while preventing as many as 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks a year. The new proposed standards would also provide particular health benefits for children, preventing 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 11,000 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year. The proposed standards would also avert more than 12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions and 850,000 fewer days of work missed due to illness.

This rule will provide employment for thousands, by supporting 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

“Today’s announcement is 20 years in the making, and is a significant milestone in the Clean Air Act’s already unprecedented record of ensuring our children are protected from the damaging effects of toxic air pollution,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “With the help of existing technologies, we will be able to take reasonable steps that will provide dramatic protections to our children and loved ones, preventing premature deaths, heart attacks, and asthma attacks.”

Toxic air pollutants like mercury from coal- and oil-fired power plants have been shown to cause neurological damage, including lower IQ, in children exposed in the womb and during early development. The standards also address emissions of other toxic metals linked with cancer such as arsenic, chromium and nickel. Mercury and many of the other toxic pollutants also damage the environment and pollute our nation’s lakes, streams, and fish. In addition, cutting these toxic pollutants also reduces fine particle pollution, which causes premature death, heart disease, workdays lost to illness and asthma.

"The American Lung Association applauds the release of this sensible public health measure. When it becomes final, the cleanup rule that the EPA is putting forward today will save lives, protect the health of millions of Americans and finally bring about an action that is 20 years overdue. This must happen,” said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association.

Power plants are the largest remaining source of several toxic air pollutants – responsible for half of mercury and more than half of acid gas emissions in the United States. In the power sector alone, coal-fired power plants are responsible for 99 percent of mercury emissions. Currently, more than half of all coal-fired power plants already deploy the widely available pollution control technologies that allow them to meet these important standards. Once final, these standards will ensure the remaining coal-fired plants, roughly 44 percent, take similar steps to decrease dangerous pollutants.

The updated standards will provide a first-ever level playing field for all power plants across the country, ensure that they play by the same rules, and provide more certainty to business. The proposed rule provides up to 4 years for facilities to meet the standards and, once fully implemented, will prevent 91 percent of mercury in coal from being released into the air.

More than 20 years ago, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments mandated that EPA require control of toxic air pollutants including mercury. Since then, EPA has taken action to reduce mercury emissions from many high-emitting sources; however, there is still no national standard for mercury emissions from power plants. Today’s announcement is long awaited, coming 11 years after EPA announced it would set such limits for power plants, and following a February 2008 court decision that struck down the previous administration's mercury rule. In October 2009, EPA entered into a consent decree that required a proposal to be signed by March 16, 2011, and a final rule to be completed by November 2011.

The proposed mercury and air toxics standards are in keeping with President Obama’s executive order on regulatory reform. They are based on the latest data and provide industry significant flexibility in implementation through a phased-in approach and use of already existing technologies.

The proposed standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public and American businesses will see up to $13 in health and economic benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $140 billion annually.

Also in keeping with the president’s executive order, the proposed standard puts a premium on important input and feedback from stakeholders to inform any final standard. The public comment period, which will last 60 days after appearing in the Federal Register, will allow stakeholders including the public, industry and public health communities, to provide important input and feedback, ensuring that any final standard maximizes public health benefits while minimizing costs.

As part of the public comment process, EPA will also hold public hearings on this proposed rule. Additional details on these events will be announced at a future date.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/powerplanttoxics/

posted on 23 May 2011
1557 days ago

Dale Kemery (News Media Only)

Enesta Jones (News Media Only)

May 2, 2010

EPA Proposes Stronger Air Toxics Emissions Standards for Secondary Lead Smelters

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stronger air toxics standards for secondary lead smelters, improving air quality and protecting people’s health in communities where the smelters are located. The proposed standards would cut lead and arsenic emissions and would, for the first time, require these facilities to control emissions of dioxins. Exposure to toxic air pollutants can cause cancer and other serious health issues. Even at low levels, exposure to lead can impair a child’s IQ, learning capabilities and memory.

Secondary lead smelters use furnaces to remove and recycle lead from scrap material, mostly from automobile batteries, keeping a significant amount of lead from polluting our environment. These facilities have already made significant emissions reductions due to the current standards that were issued in 1997 as well as other state and industry actions. The new proposal would result in an additional 63 percent reduction in lead and arsenic emissions. These reductions will also help areas meet the new, more protective air quality standards for lead the agency issued in 2008.
EPA’s proposal would give these facilities the option to choose the most practical and cost-effective emissions control technology or techniques to reduce their emissions, which are readily available and already being used by many of the facilities.

There are currently fewer than 20 secondary smelters located throughout the United States and its territories that would be covered by this proposal. Some of these facilities have taken additional steps beyond what is required by the existing standard to further control and significantly reduce their emissions.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to perform two types of reviews after air toxics standards have been issued. The first determines if additional reductions from regulated facilities are needed to protect public health and the environment and the second determines if any new, cost-effective emissions control approaches, practices or processes have been developed since the standards were issued. Both reviews showed that updates to the standards for secondary lead smelters needed to be made.

Lead emitted into the air can be inhaled or can be ingested after it settles in the environment. Ingestion is the main route of human exposure. Children are the most susceptible to lead poisoning because they are more likely to ingest lead, and their bodies are developing rapidly. There is no known safe level of lead in the human body.

EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The agency is under court order to issue a final rule for these sources in December 2011.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/ttncaaa1/t3fs.html

posted on 24 May 2011
1556 days ago

Thank you for sending this document and please make me informed continuously.

posted on 16 Aug 2011
1472 days ago

August 15, 2011

Air News Release (HQ): EPA Affirms National Air Quality Standards for Carbon Monoxide Are Protective of Public Health

Air monitoring updates will put more focus on urban communities located near roadways

WASHINGTON – After a careful review of the science, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is affirming the current national air quality standards for carbon monoxide (CO). The science shows that the current standards protect public health, including those who are most susceptible, and the environment. Since 1980, levels of CO in the air have fallen by 80 percent, mostly as a result of motor vehicle emissions controls.

CO is a colorless, odorless gas emitted from combustion processes. Nationally, and particularly in urban areas, the majority of CO emissions come from motor vehicles. CO can cause harmful health effects by reducing oxygen delivery to the body’s organs (like the heart and brain) and tissues.

To ensure people are protected from unhealthy concentrations of CO and to develop better information about CO and its health impacts, EPA is revising the air monitoring requirements. The changes will require a more focused monitoring network with CO monitors placed near roads in 52 urban areas with populations of 1 million or more.

Monitors in areas with populations of 2.5 million or more are required to be operational by January 1, 2015 and monitors required in areas with populations of 1 million or more are required to be operational by January 1, 2017. These new monitoring sites will give EPA important data about CO levels that may be affecting public health in neighborhoods located near busy roadways. The data will also be used to determine compliance with the current standards and to help inform future reviews of the standard.

The current health standards are 9 parts per million (ppm) measured over 8 hours, and 35 ppm measured over 1 hour. CO levels at monitors across the country are quite low and are well within the standards, showing that federal, state and local efforts to reduce CO pollution have been successful and are providing important public health protections to all Americans.

The rule is consistent with the advice and recommendations from the agency’s independent science advisors, the Clean Air Act Scientific Advisory Committee.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/carbonmonoxide

posted on 20 Oct 2011
1407 days ago

October 19, 2011

EPA Releases Air Quality Model to Study Harmful Air Pollution

Model will help scientists protect public health

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new version of its Community Multi-scale Air Quality model (CMAQ) that uses up-to-the minute meteorology and air chemistry data to determine how weather conditions affect pollution, and how pollution can affect and change weather. Version 5.0 of CMAQ allows scientists to analyze air quality at smaller, finer-resolution settings for individual towns and cities, and model air quality for the entire northern hemisphere. Currently, scientists use CMAQ to estimate air quality levels at the regional and national scales.

“The ability to apply the CMAQ model to larger scales will allow scientists to better understand the ways that air pollution moves around the globe, and provide much-needed information for decision makers in protecting public health,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The model represents collaborative work among scientists in the fields of engineering, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, atmospheric science, and meteorology.”

Air quality has a direct impact on people’s health. EPA research has shown that air contaminated with common pollutants like ozone, acidic gases, and toxic components of particulate matter can aggravate asthma symptoms and put stress on cardiovascular systems. CMAQ 5.0 allows scientists to study air pollution at the local level and much larger scales. Version 5.0 has the capability to use data from other air quality models. This gives the system more flexibility to address new and increasingly complex air pollution issues, and incorporate input from a worldwide community of CMAQ users.

Earlier versions of CMAQ have been used for more than a decade by EPA and states for air quality management. CMAQ uses meteorology and emissions data to evaluate air pollution trends and distribution. The system models multiple air pollutants, which include ozone, particulate matter, and air toxics to help air quality regulators determine the best air quality management scenarios for their communities, regions, and states. Also, the National Weather Service uses CMAQ to produce daily U.S. forecasts for ozone air quality.

More information on CMAQ: http://www.epa.gov/AMD/CMAQ

posted on 07 Jun 2012
1176 days ago

June 6, 2012

EPA and Partners Announce “My Air, My Health Challenge”

Inventors will compete to develop personal air pollution and health sensors

WASHINGTON - To help researchers, communities, and doctors better understand the connection between air quality and a person’s health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced a nationwide challenge called My Air, My Health (MAMH). The MAMH challenge offers awards for the invention of personal, portable sensors that measures air pollution and a person’s physiological response to pollution.

“This challenge provides an opportunity to tap into the ingenuity of Americans to build technology to improve health. In the future, these types of personalized devices will enable people to make better informed choices about their own health and their environment,” said Glenn Paulson, EPA Science Advisor.

Men, women, children — we’re all different, and our bodies react in different ways to pollution and other harmful toxins in our environment,” said Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS Director. “We believe pairing health researchers with technology innovators will help us get the tools we need for a more complete picture of what people are breathing and how it might affect their health.”

Responders to the challenge will propose designs for sensors that can be easily worn or carried, and take into account a known or plausible link between airborne pollutants and health measurements (such as, heart rate and breathing) in certain individuals or communities. The proposals should also address how to make the collected health and environmental data available to researchers, public health institutions, and other interested parties.

Four finalists will each receive $15,000 and will be invited to develop their proposals into working prototypes to demonstrate how their systems can be integrated for practical use by health and environmental agencies, and by individual citizens. One of the four finalists will then be awarded $100,000 for the most effective solution for integrating physiological and air quality data that is usable and meaningful to long-term health outcomes. The awards will further scientific research on air quality and public health.

The MAMH Challenge announcement was made at HHS’s Health Data Initiative Forum by EPA Science Advisor Glenn Paulson, Ph.D and NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. Interested parties can learn more about the challenge during a webinar on June 19 at 4:00 p.m.

More information on the challenge: http://challenge.gov/HHS/372-my-air-my-health-challenge

More information on the Health Data Initiative Forum: http://www.HDIforum.org

posted on 15 Jun 2012
1168 days ago

June 15, 2012

EPA Proposes Clean Air Standards for Harmful Soot Pollution

99 percent of U.S. counties projected to meet proposed standards without any additional actions

WASHINGTON – In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot (known as PM2.5). These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children. A federal court ruling required EPA to update the standard based on best available science. Today’s proposal, which meets that requirement, builds on smart steps already taken by the EPA to slash dangerous pollution in communities across the country. Thanks to these steps, 99 percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet the proposed standard without any additional action.

EPA’s proposal would strengthen the annual health standard for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5) to a level within a range of 13 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. The current annual standard is 15 micrograms per cubic meter. The proposed changes, which are consistent with the advice from the agency’s independent science advisors, are based on an extensive body of scientific evidence that includes thousands of studies – including many large studies which show negative health impacts at lower levels than previously understood. By proposing a range, the agency will collect input from the public as well as a number of stakeholders, including industry and public health groups, to help determine the most appropriate final standard to protect public health. It is important to note that the proposal has zero effect on the existing daily standard for fine particles or the existing daily standard for coarse particles (PM10), both of which would remain unchanged.

Thanks to recent Clean Air Act rules that have and will dramatically cut pollution, 99 percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet the proposed standards without undertaking any further actions to reduce emissions.

Meanwhile, because reductions in fine particle pollution have direct health benefits including decreased mortality rates, fewer incidents of heart attacks, strokes, and childhood asthma, these standards have major economic benefits with comparatively low costs. Depending on the final level of the standard, estimated benefits will range from $88 million a year, with estimated costs of implementation as low as $2.9 million, to $5.9 billion in annual benefits with a cost of $69 million – a return ranging from $30 to $86 for every dollar invested in pollution control. While EPA cannot consider costs in selecting a standard under the Clean Air Act, those costs are estimated as part of the careful analysis undertaken for all significant regulations, as required by Executive Order 13563 issued by President Obama in January 2011.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review its standards for particle pollution every five years to determine whether the standards should be revised. The law requires the agency to ensure the standards are “requisite to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety” and “requisite to protect the public welfare.” A federal court ordered EPA sign the proposed particle pollution standards by June 14, 2012, because the agency did not meet its five-year legal deadline for reviewing the standards.

EPA will accept public comment for 63 days after the proposed standards are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold two public hearings; one in Sacramento, CA. and one in Philadelphia, PA. Details on the hearings will be announced shortly. EPA will issue the final standards by December 14, 2012.

Map showing counties in attainment in 2020: http://epa.gov/pm/2012/map.pdf

More information: http://www.epa.gov/pm

posted on 03 May 2013
846 days ago

March 29, 2013

EPA Will Propose Achievable Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standard, Slashing Air Pollution and Providing Extensive Health Benefits

WASHINGTON – Based on extensive input from auto manufactures, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive. These cleaner fuels and cars standards are an important component of the administration’s national program for clean cars and trucks, which also include historic fuel efficiency standards that are saving new vehicle owners at the gas pump today. Once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children.

Following a proven systems approach that addresses vehicles and fuels as an integrated system, today’s proposal will enable the greatest pollution reductions at the lowest cost. The proposal will slash emissions of a range of harmful pollutants that can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses, including reducing smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, establish a 70 percent tighter particulate matter standard, and reduce fuel vapor emissions to near zero. The proposal will also reduce vehicle emissions of toxic air pollutants, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, by up to 40 percent.

The proposal supports efforts by states to reduce harmful levels of smog and soot and eases their ability to attain and maintain science-based national ambient air quality standards to protect public health, while also providing flexibilities for small businesses, including hardship provisions and additional lead time for compliance.

“The Obama Administration has taken a series of steps to reinvigorate the auto industry and ensure that the cars of tomorrow are cleaner, more efficient and saving drivers money at the pump and these common-sense cleaner fuels and cars standards are another example of how we can protect the environment and public health in an affordable and practical way,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Today’s proposed standards – which will save thousands of lives and protect the most vulnerable -- are the next step in our work to protect public health and will provide the automotive industry with the certainty they need to offer the same car models in all 50 states.

By 2030, EPA estimates that the proposed cleaner fuels and cars program will annually prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, 3,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency room visits, and 1.8 million lost school days, work days and days when activities would be restricted due to air pollution. Total health-related benefits in 2030 will be between $8 and $23 billion annually. The program would also reduce exposure to pollution near roads. More than 50 million people live, work, or go to school in close proximity to high-traffic roadways, and the average American spends more than one hour traveling along roads each day.

Throughout the development of the proposal, EPA met with representatives from the automotive and oil and gas industry as well as environmental, consumer advocacy and public health organizations. Based on initial feedback from these groups and a thorough rulemaking process, EPA’s proposal is estimated to provide up to seven dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards. The proposed sulfur standards will cost refineries less than a penny per gallon of gasoline on average once the standards are fully in place. The proposed vehicle standards will have an average cost of about $130 per vehicle in 2025. The proposal also includes flexibilities for small businesses, including hardship provisions and additional lead time for compliance.

The proposed standards will reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent – down to 10 parts per million (ppm) in 2017. Reducing sulfur in gasoline enables vehicle emission control technologies to perform more efficiently. This means that vehicles built prior to the proposed standards will run cleaner on the new low-sulfur gas, providing significant and immediate benefits by reducing emissions from every gas-powered vehicle on the road.

The proposed standards will work together with California’s clean cars and fuels program to create a harmonized nationwide vehicle emissions program that enables automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. The proposal is designed to be implemented over the same timeframe as the next phase of EPA’s national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks beginning in model year 2017. Together, the federal and California standards will maximize reductions in GHGs, air pollutants and air toxics from cars and light trucks while providing automakers regulatory certainty and streamlining compliance.

Once published in the Federal Register, the proposal will be available for public comment and EPA will hold public hearings to receive further public input.

Information on EPA’s notice of proposed rulemaking: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tier3.htm