Monday, May 12, 2014

Courts Give Obama Administration 3rd Victory: Soot, Smog & Mercury

The Obama administration had its third big environmental legal victory in a month.

1) Soot: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against the National Association of Manufacturerson Friday stating that the EPA acted properly in 2012 when it further restricted allowable soot emissions. The 11-page decision rejected industry complaints and found that the EPA had acted reasonably and within its bounds when it adopted stricter nationwide standards for fine particulate matter. The soot emitted by power plants, diesel trucks, refineries and factories lodge deep in the lungs when inhaled and are linked to heart and lung disease, respiratory illnesses and premature deaths.  The EPA tightened annual limits on fine particle pollution from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter and set new requirements for dozens of major cities to install air quality monitors to test for the pollutants near busy roadways.

2) Smog: This follows the previous week’s big Supreme Court ruling that the EPA acted properly when it restricted the amount of smog-causing pollution that can drift from coal-fired power plants in Midwestern states to East Coast states.

3) Mercury: Nearly a month ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected industry’s legal challenges to EPA restrictions on the amount of mercury and other toxic pollution pumped out by coal power plants. (Grist, 5/12/2014)

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