EPA Proposes Stricter New Standards for Soot Pollution

By:  Brian Koenig
06/18/2012
       
EPA Proposes Stricter New Standards for Soot Pollution

Adding to the Obama administration’s mounting heap of regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Friday new air quality standards to curb the purportedly fatal repercussions of soot emissions. In reducing the emission of such particles, which environmentalists say are one of the most hazardous air pollutants, oil refiners and large manufacturers will be forced to invest in costly pollution-reduction upgrades.

Adding to the Obama administration’s mounting heap of regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Friday new air quality standards to curb the purportedly fatal repercussions of soot emissions. In reducing the emission of such particles, which environmentalists say are one of the most hazardous air pollutants, oil refiners and large manufacturers will be forced to invest in costly pollution-reduction upgrades.

Measuring one-thirteenth the width of a strand of human hair, these fine particles are generally diffused through activities such as wood-burning and vehicle emissions, which can allegedly cause heart and respiratory problems when entering the bloodstream. Environmental groups and other proponents of the regulation — which is set to be finalized by December 14 — say the effort would produce countless benefits for both the economy and general public health.

The regulation would institute a maximum allowable cap for soot emissions in between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current annual requirement is 15 micrograms per cubic meter. The revised standards would curb the range of fine-particle emissions by about 17 percent, according to Paul Billings, a vice president of the American Lung Association, who was briefed on the new standard.

“It’s going to be a big step forward,” asserted Frank O’Donnell, president of the advocacy group Clean Air Watch. “This could help frame the national effort to clean this up for at least a decade.”

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Photo: industrial smoke from chimney on sky via Shutterstock

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