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[urb-eco] Air Quality Trends: What EPA Didn't Tell You

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  • J.H. Crawford
    This came from the Urb-Eco list & I thought the Carfree list should see it as well: From: Michael Meuser Subject: [urb-eco] Air
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2001
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      This came from the Urb-Eco list & I thought the Carfree list
      should see it as well:

      From: "Michael Meuser" <meuser@...>
      Subject: [urb-eco] Air Quality Trends: What EPA Didn't Tell You

      Source: http://www.mapcruzin.com/news/rtk101901a.htm

      (Recall that it was the National Governor's Ass'n that pressured
      Carol Browner into shelving the Cumulative Exposure Project)

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      OCTOBER 19, 2001 12:26 PM
      CONTACT: Clean Air Trust
      Frank O'Donnell 202-785-9625

      Air Quality Trends: What EPA Didn't Tell You

      WASHINGTON - October 19 - Memo To Reporters Covering The
      Environment

      We were intrigued at the news release issued late yesterday by
      the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding air quality
      trends in the nation (see http://www.epa.gov and note news
      releases for Oct. 18). So we read the actual report and related
      background material. Here are a few things the EPA didn't tell you:

      -- In the release, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman hailed a
      recent National Governors Association (NGA) policy as a
      "remarkable step forward" toward addressing pollution from electric
      power plants. This is unfortunate and misleading propaganda. In
      fact, during its recent annual meeting, NGA adopted a policy
      similar to that of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI): it urged
      changes in EPA's "new source review" program to promote "fuel
      diversity," which is code language for increased coal burning. NGA
      also mimicked EEI rhetoric by calling for "regulatory certainty" and
      a "flexible, market-based program." Again, like EEI, the governors
      opposed any mandatory reductions of the heat-trapping gas carbon
      dioxide. It's no wonder, by the way, that NGA came up with such a
      blatantly pro-industry approach. The policy was developed behind
      closed doors without input from the general public.

      -- Despite progress in reducing pollution, EPA's press release
      neglected to mention that more than 121 million people were still
      living in areas that violated basic public health standards in 2000. In
      a footnote to its report, EPA noted that "this number may increase"
      as new monitors go up to track fine particulate soot. These
      sobering statistics dramatically underscore the continuing need for
      enforceable programs to protect air quality at the state and local
      level. Unfortunately, EPA's Whitman has said that she, like
      industry, would like to scuttle many of those programs, including
      new source review.

      -- EPA's release failed to note that smog-and-soot-forming nitrogen
      oxides emissions actually increased by three percent during the
      past decade. This is mainly due to increased emissions from
      diesel trucks and buses and from so-called "nonroad" diesel
      engines, including construction equipment. The pollution increase
      underscores the need to press ahead with efforts to clean up diesel
      trucks and highway diesel fuel (the oil industry is suing to block
      EPA's cleanup plan) as well as for EPA to initiate a bold new
      initiative to clean up nonroad diesel engines and diesel fuel.

      -- EPA's release failed to note the shocking fact that during the
      past decade, smog levels rose in 29 of our national parks, including
      "significant upward trends" in the Great Smoky Mountains, the
      Everglades, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Canyonlands, among
      others. The fine print of EPA's report also suggests that visibility is
      becoming worse at western national parks. These statistics
      underscore the need to move forward with tough "regional haze"
      rules, which Whitman has said she would like to eliminate, as well
      as to maintain new source review requirements.

      -- EPA failed to note that a recent National Academy of Sciences
      report found that mercury exposure may cause neurological
      problems in 60,000 children born in the U.S. each year. Or that 40
      states have issued fish consumption warnings because of mercury.
      Or that electric power plants are the biggest source of mercury.
      EPA has discussed eliminating upcoming EPA "toxic" air pollutant
      rules on mercury in favor of a system that would allow utilities to
      buy and sell toxic mercury "credits."

      -- EPA's release also failed to note that greenhouse gas emissions
      in the U.S. rose 11 percent between 1990 and 1998. Electric utility
      emissions went up even more. Obviously, the "voluntary" reduction
      efforts touted in EPA's press release aren't doing the job.

      ###

      +++++++++++++++++++++
      Michael R. Meuser,
      meuser@...



      -- ### --

      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      postmaster@... Carfree.com
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