Posted on June 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservative majority ruling puts thousands of lives at risk
Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The EPA will have to go back to the drawing board if it wants to regulate toxic mercury emissions from factories and power plants, as the U.S. Supreme Court today voided the agency’s 2012 regulations that were set to take effect this year.
In a divided five-four ruling, the court sided with heavy industry and fossil-fuel burning power plants, saying that the EPA should have considered the costs of the regulations as part of its initial evaluation. The EPA had argued that those costs would be evaluated at the next step of the regulatory process.
Mercury is a global pollutant that has been detected in California’s coastal fogs. In a national assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey found unhealthy mercury levels in 25 percent of all U.S. Streams. And near Hawaii, scientists say mercury concentrations in yellowfin tuna have been increasing 3.8 percent a year. Researchers have even documented signs of environmental stress in Alaskan sled dogs who primarily eat mercury tainted fish. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, EPA mercury standards, mercury pollution, Supreme Court of the United States | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New pollution controls will cut emissions at the Four Corners power plant.
Settlement includes requirements for regional public health and environmental mitigation projects
FRISCO — One of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country will be required to upgrade pollution controls, cutting thousands of tons of harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The $160 million cleanup at the Four Corners Power Plant, located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico, comes under a court-ordered Clean Air Act settlement between the EPA and several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies.
The total combined emission reductions secured from the settlement will exceed 2 million tons each year, once all the required pollution controls are installed and implemented. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, coal, Environment, Four Corners air quality, Four Corners Power Plant, Navajo Nation, Nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A snapshot of ozone conditions in early June 2015.
Scientists say more monitoring will be crucial for regulators
FRISCO — Proposed new standards for harmful ozone pollution could present a big challenge for air quality managers at the state and local level. More monitoring is needed to help tell apart local sources from ozone that’s generated elsewhere, Boulder-based scientists wrote last week in Science.
Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering the primary ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 or 65 ppb, based on ozone’s known effects on children, the elderly, and people who have lung diseases such as asthma. A decision by the EPA Administrator is expected in October 2015. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, EPA, ozone, public health | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new study raises more questions about public health risks in oil and gas development zones.
Findings confirm health risks to people living near oil and gas wells
FRISCO — Careful air sampling near active natural gas wells in Carroll County, Ohio showed the widespread presence of toxic air pollution at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.
The study reinforces the need for more extensive air quality monitoring in fracking zones around the country, where exposure to the poisonous emissions are likely to lead to increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, fracking, Ohio, oil and gas, PAHs, pollution, public health | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Western U.S. counties violating current and proposed ozone air quality standards. Map courtesy Jeremy Nichols/ClimateWest blog.
La Niña weather pattern found to contribute to spikes in western ozone levels
FRISCO — Spring ozone formation in parts of the western U.S. appear to be linked with the hemispheric La Niña weather pattern, when the path of the jet stream forces high altitude ozone down to ground level.
After discovering the link, a team of researchers say their findings may help forecast harmful ozone episodes well in advance, which could have implications for attaining the national ozone standard. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, La Niña | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, climate, Environment, La Niña, ozone | 1 Comment »