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Politics EPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot air quality standards

01:21  11 june  2021
01:21  11 june  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Overnight Energy: EPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot standards | Interior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less | EPA reverses Trump guidance it said weakened 'forever chemicals' regulations

  Overnight Energy: EPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot standards | Interior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less | EPA reverses Trump guidance it said weakened 'forever chemicals' regulations HAPPY THURSDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack. Today we've got a policy-heavy newsletter looking at the EPA reconsidering air quality standards, as well as making moves on PFAS, and Interior's proposed eliminationToday we've got a policy-heavy newsletter looking at the EPA reconsidering air quality standards, as well as making moves on PFAS, and Interior's proposed elimination of a Trump rule expected to make companies pay less to drill on public land.

Had the EPA tightened the air - quality standards , he said on a call with Wheeler, “it could have been a huge blow to the coal industry.” Instead, he said, the decision shows that “evidence-based regulations can protect the environment and still leave room for industries to thrive.” In the case of the national soot standards , critics are already gearing up to challenge them in court. Most areas of the country have met the annual standards , with the exception of portions of Southern and Central California and parts of Pennsylvania and Idaho — though Elena Craft, the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior

EPA might try to toughen hazardous air pollutant standards for coal-fired power plants in the course of revisiting one of the Trump administration's most incendiary environmental moves, according to the agency 's acting air chief. Goffman also indicated that his office is close to acting on a petition to reconsider another contested Trump administration decision on national soot standards and is pursuing a "comprehensive strategy" to give communities more information about their exposure to air pollutants that cause cancer and other serious health problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday that it will reconsider air quality standards for soot that the Trump administration declined to tighten.

a close up of a bottle: The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters is seen in Washington, D.C., on June 3 © Greg Nash The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters is seen in Washington, D.C., on June 3

A statement from the agency said that it would take a second look at the standards for the pollution, also known as particulate matter, because "available scientific evidence and technical information indicate that the current standards may not be adequate to protect public health and welfare."

The EPA said that it anticipates proposing a new rule next summer and promulgating a final rule in spring 2023.

Rebuilding EPA through its climate programs

  Rebuilding EPA through its climate programs President Biden’s EPA budget request for fiscal 2022 takes a huge step toward meeting the challenges associated with protecting the nation's air, land and water.The administration has requested a $2 billion increase in EPA's budget, with 90 percent of the proposed increase - $1.8 billion - going to climate work, which EPA astutely defines expansively. The budget also directs half of the benefits of new climate spending to flow to disadvantaged low-income and indigenous communities, as well as communities of color, all of which have long bore the heaviest burdens from environmental pollution.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced Tuesday that the agency would maintain the current standards for fine particulate matter, otherwise known as soot , the country’s most widespread deadly pollutant. The current standards limit annual concentrations to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air and daily concentrations to 35 per cubic meter. These fine particles enter the lungs and bloodstream, causing inflammation that can lead to asthma, heart attacks and other illnesses.

The agency is required to review the National Ambient Air Quality Standards regulation, which sets limits on the concentrations of pollutants like soot from coal-fired power plants and vehicle tailpipes every five years, and has tended to tighten them regularly after scientific review. EPA scientists had recommended cutting the standard to 8 millionths of a gram. The decision is one of several at the EPA that the outgoing Republican Trump administration is rushing to finalize ahead of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, including one setting new limits on ozone, another limiting the

"The most vulnerable among us are most at risk from exposure to particulate matter, and that's why it's so important we take a hard look at these standards that haven't been updated in nine years," Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

Exposure to a smaller form of particulate matter called fine particulate matter has been linked to health risks including heart attacks, asthma attacks, and premature death.

The EPA in December finalized a decision to retain standards set by the Obama administration in 2012 for both fine and coarse forms of particulate matter.

Administrator Andrew Wheeler at the time defended the standard as "protective of public health."

But, a policy assessment from agency staff last year found that long-term exposure to the current maximum standard for fine particulate matter could result in thousands more people being put at risk than if the standard were tightened.

It said that scientific evidence and air quality analyses "can reasonably be viewed as calling into question the adequacy of the public health protection afforded by the combination of the current ... standards" for fine particulate matter.

"A conclusion that the current ... standards do provide adequate public health protection would place little weight on the broad body of epidemiologic evidence reporting generally positive and statistically significant health effect associations," it continued.

Enacting tough federal cybersecurity standards an uphill battle, experts say .
The spate of recent ransomware attacks on federal contractors and operators of critical infrastructure, culminating in the attack on Colonial Pipeline in May, has built momentum for new federal laws and regulations to require disclosure of breaches as well as mandatory cybersecurity standards. But writing such laws and regulations in a timely manner and ensuring […] The post Enacting tough federal cybersecurity standards an uphill battle, experts say appeared first on Roll Call.

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